Naturally in Place

By being alive, we are naturally in a place. We are in a particular place. There is nothing to do to be in that place. In fact, we don’t have a choice than to be in that place (once we are there). By place, I mean a physical space. As we are subject to gravity, we are always on some surface. We can identify the surface we are on (couch) to know where we are. “I am on the yellow couch in the living room of Apt. 3 at 48 Simpson Street, Scarborough, New Hampshire,” for example. As it is physically impossible to be alive without being on some surface (unless floating in water or outer space), this placement is mandatory, and a guarantee.

We can then note that being in a place requires no effort, maneuvering or negotiating. It is a given (like when we are born). This placement can also be understood as our activity because our relationship to the surface we are on indicates an action, “I am sitting on the couch.” The action is inherent in the placement. As we get our placement for free just by being alive, we get our actions for free as well.

This is an extremely liberating awareness. Placement equals action; they are one and the same. We can additionally notice that all other physical activities our body is engaged in while on its surface (driving, talking, eating, etc.), are included in the placement. All that is needed to make any of these events occur is our existence. By existing, we are naturally in action.

We can just look down at our body to see what it is doing and acknowledge that we never need to personally do anything more to make our activities happen. We can truly be free of effort in this vein. The only effort we endure is our muscular tension that superficially overlays our basic existence (placement). Notice that when you come out of tension (anywhere and everywhere), your body is still engaged in its activity. This is a result of its natural relationship to the surface it is on, and whatever other bodily movements happen to be occurring (writing, reading, walking, talking, typing, etc.). It feels like there is something to “do,” but there isn’t. All doing (other than existing) is simply the feeling of tension. Since we are used to taking our tension seriously, acknowledging this freedom may seem awkward and counterintuitive. Freedom is an unusual concept for us.

The physical facts make sense though. If we are alive, then we are on a surface, and that relationship is our natural placement and action. In seeing our other bodily movements, we can ask ourself if our tension is “causing” them to occur. Or, are we just in the activities? Though our brain continually makes decisions for us, there is no “I” that is in charge of the brain. We are moved around all day long in the same way our circulation, respiration and digestion operate on our behalf. We rarely, if ever, believe that we are causing these functions to occur.

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