My next thought experiment was no less powerful. I’ll try to describe it, but I fear that its conclusion won’t so easily be conveyed or grasped. I think of it as ‘returning to the centre’.
Others have also expressed that they sense themselves existing midway between and a little behind my eyes. The pineal gland is often cited as a candidate. When you take the time to relax and to tune out your mind, it’s possible to sink within until you feel you’re at the centre of the universe.
I can’t remember when I first found myself there, but I do remember what I thought. “Damn! Out of all the places I might be, out of all the times, out of all those billions of bodies, Here I Am.” Well I tell you, that notion quite amazed me. How infinitesimally small were the chances? To be right here, right now as me on this miniscule patch of real estate—the odds must be virtually zilch. It felt phenomenal, and the longer I considered the phenomenon, the less I could believe it.
Does that make sense to you? Can you relate to the feeling? I felt like a king or a god to be so . . . special! I must be special, yes, to be thus ‘singled out’. But it also felt paradoxical and even dangerous, because I knew that by no means did I have it all together.
You see, the I-at-the-centre frame of reference (I am he, as you are he, as you are me, and we are all together) can induce delusions of grandeur. And grandeur is not what is wanted here. It doesn’t feel appropriate, because tied to that feeling of being unique is the certainty of limitation. ‘I am centred at this point in my head’ implied simultaneously that ‘I am confined here’. I see things from this perspective and cannot do so from another. The trick, therefore, is to somehow reconcile the two items of awareness. One may be godlike, but one is merely . . . one. One bit out of many.
So, I’m not everything that I would like to be. It’s an idea to handle with kid gloves. It’s philosophical nitroglycerine, be ultra-careful not to spill a drop.
Once I knew this, I had to live with it. I had to live with myself. I remain centred at the centre of the universe no matter where I travel, no matter how quickly I run, spin or tumble, and no matter how many decades pass by. Are other people are in that position too? If they are, I’ve seen little sign of it. No slightly dazed look on blank faces. Well heck, maybe I am the only gorilla in the room. Maybe everyone else is just a figment of my imagination. But who wants to go there?