The “Tube”

This is an excerpt from my first book:

I like to tune into what I call the Tube, which is a personal timeline of our step by step life process.  As we use the clock as a reference point for tracking our daily activities, I find it a useful tool for monitoring our moment to moment behavior.  Just like we can look down to see what our body is doing, we can look at the clock to capture the understanding that all of our actions are coordinated with each stroke of measured time.  I find this to be very grounding as it shows us we can never be doing anything other than what we find ourself doing in each tick of time.

In each second we can see that our body is engaged in one specific activity, which designates a limitation that differs from the way our mind believes we can operate.  I appreciate this limitation, in each second, because it sets my mind straight when it is telling me I have options of behavior to choose from.  The Tube consists of all of the seconds from one’s birth until one’s death, which establishes that there is only, ever, for each of us, the simplicity of a straight line collection of actions, or in effect, one long continual action.

As the Tube marks our continual physical activity from conception to death, I enjoy referring back to the physicality of fertilization, that is, the beginning of “us,” clinically known as the zygote.  The zygote is the first manifestation of the union of the sperm and the egg, two cells merging and becoming a single-celled organism.  When we view a photograph of a zygote, we see that our composition is of a pure cellular structure, which inclines us toward the opinion that our early physical activity is driven by some force other than our personal will.  The zygote quickly evolves into a cluster of cells resembling a “soap bubble-like ball,” and then into a blastocyst, which eventually takes on a shape of something we recognize as fetal.21   I like to remind myself that our early cellular behavior is no different than our later activity as it is all just physical movement, and all part of the developmental timeline we call our life.

The Tube is an absolute, physical reality that is not penetrable or alterable by ideas of the mind.  It is an involuntary engine that displays its actions reliably and unstoppably.  The straight line quality of the Tube progressively reveals all of the outcomes to the small stories in our life, as it is the body moving in real time that is these stories.  As there is only a given quantity of seconds in each life (for example, if we live for 80 years then we live for 2,524,608,000 seconds), there is a contained series of actions per life as well.

Because the only access we have to our physical self is the present moment, and as soon as we witness our momentary behavior it is already too late to change it, we are essentially locked into this Tube, for better or worse.  Though some might find this reality frustrating, it eliminates the pressure of ever having to answer the age-old question, “What should I do?” outside of noticing what we are already doing.  To restate and punctuate, the response to that question can always be, “Watch what I do.”  As all moments in time possess the same quality of presence, each time we look at the clock, and then look down at our body we can see what we are doing for that given moment and conclude that there is nothing more to know or do.


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