3-5 minutes. All life (as we know it) occurs between the mysterious and the mundane. Mysterious, because at a fundamental level we are unaware of the basic mechanisms that give rise to consciousness, awareness and the universe. Mundane, because we are all too aware of our physical reality and the slow, plodding way that connects us with our bodies and each other.
Mysterious, because we do not know where from the flash of insight, the brilliant intuition or the miraculous. Mundane, because we know so well that these bodies have a shelf life and while seemingly sturdy, are here for but the flash of an instant in cosmological terms.
Our reach, our boundaries, are often defined in and by language. But language has its limits. Language is not reality, but we try to describe life through language. Life is irrational and to reduce it to language is to create a simulacrum of reality; not reality. This is a central paradox of human existence; one which we have struggled with for millennia.
How do we access the mysterious when all of our visible tools are mundane? Through the ages we have answered with art, through music, in dance and a perpetual quest for what we call ‘the mystery of life’ through spirituality: including meditation, religious practice and dream-states.
My quest is wrapped in me, interwoven through the mundane activity of my physique. Always, left and right have been my awkward friends. My left side, mysterious and adept. My right side, mundane and somewhat awkward. How do they relate with each other, and why do they sometimes seem at odds??
My mother, at peace now, was wont to point out we both shared a ‘sinister’ quality—that of being left-handed. She told me how the word sinister came from the Latin word for left, in fact. This cultural prejudice was one she felt was worth pointing out, and indeed, it did often seem as though the other, right-handed, members of our family did think and sometimes act quite differently—more rationally, but with less understanding of ‘true’ reality. Now I see in my own self, how both of these sides are embodied. How both the mysterious and the mundane are in me; and how we must work together, no matter how awkwardly at first.
For me, this has long been a battle between the sides of my brain. The right side, controlling my left, the left side controlling my right. In my ‘right mind’ I am clever, clear and correct, if not always concise. And in my rational mind, I am logical, linear, neat, productive. But each side, from time to time, battles for control, often leaving me feeling like a war-torn battlefield in-between, and both myself and others fatigued, if not exhausted, by the strife.
What to do? I think it is time (high time) we took to embracing our duality without the need to appoint superiority of either polarity. Does not the earth spinning on its axis have both a north and a south pole? Could it possibly exist with only one? Maybe it’s time to re-examine our “sinister” side, as well as our “right”, and see if we cannot come to a more cooperative union.
What is in the distance between the mysterious and the mundane? Humanity.