Each day we wake up. Leaving a state of peace and restoration. A state of being which is believed to be perhaps the first and only state of life. You see sleep is the original state. The woken state, it’s believed, came after much evolution, as a necessity for survival. As simple life evolved to seek out energy to consume, an alert state of being was naturally selected to prevent against attack, or to improve the odds of finding nourishment, however it’s probably too early to say which came first.
But the state of being awake has it costs. It is the destructive state, where more energy is used than produced, where contact is made with dangerous elements. Stress, UV, extreme temperatures of warm and cold, poisons, and predators. All pose great risk to us when we wake up and begin to move about. So then, it can be believed that the act of waking up is one of the most courageous activities made by living creatures, as little as it may seem. It is not to be underestimated or belittled. And it’s no wonder it’s not enjoyed by most. As we open our eyes, allowing the sleepy state to wash off our minds, and choose to become vertical, to go find food, water, and contact, we are making a daily ritual that has been practiced for at least the last for the last 5 hundred million years.
As people become more divided by technology – less willing or comfortable to make direct contact, the smile is given even more power. The unspoken action of goodwill, good intention, does not come so easily to many. And when two strangers meet, if only for a moment, it is the smile that extends intention, feeling, the initial moment of faith building. Even if that moment is fleeting and assumed to be gone just as fast as it came. This exchange builds warmth in the most distant and unlikely connections.
The thinking goes that our ancestors millions of years ago evolved to have an ability to think about the past and future which made it possible for us to predict dangerous situations, or remember past events which harmed our people. And that today this gift is mostly a curse as it leaves us constantly shifting our thoughts from the past to the future. And this doesn’t leave much time to think about the present. We lose our focus in this teetering of then and when, never now. Which definitely is true, finding a centered state of mind is something the vast majority of humans leave for the monks, nuns, surfers, and brain surgeons, well at least some of them. It only lasts for short moments after intense preparation, and only during the moment of execution. The rest of the time we’re all just a bunch of fog heads really. Too deep in the ideas of what may happen, what did happen, and we are only able to wipe our asses, to chew our food without biting off our tongue, to make proper sentences, (I still can’t do this) because we memorize things, we learn actions, expected responses in conversation, and we do the expected with some muscle memory and the comfort of knowing that after a moment of focusing on the now, we can get back to thinking into some other place and time.
Imagine what the world would be like if we could see a little screen above our heads, constantly flickering the images, words, scenes, and sounds that are passing through their mind as they go on about their lives semi-consciously about us. Some of us would go to jail, others would lose our jobs, certainly many awkward moments would occur – “excuse me sir maybe you should come back a little later when your thoughts have passed… And then there would be beauty. Thoughts of childhood, loved ones, wishes & hopes, the lighter more approachable side of people that would bring us closer, have a more sensitive touch with each other, and find more common bonds. It’s a world I would enjoy for a day, though perhaps too intense to be in for long periods of time, lest we all just learn to zone out each others thoughts, and to clear our minds of anything too personal until we believe ourselves to be alone.