Stuck Where We Are

selective color photography of blood moon

Anything we don’t understand about our life we can consider a mystery of nature. We are 100% natural organisms that follow physical laws as is everything else in the universe, just a variation on the theme, a different arrangement of molecules, as biologist Jerry Coyne once put it. So, our behavior abides by laws of nature that may not make sense to our conditioned mind. Our judgments are so strong and feel so accurate we cannot imagine there could be reasons for the ways we act that don’t align with our values, beliefs and deepest common sense.

When I feel irresponsible about my actions I turn to my own physical reality for an explanation. I touch my head and neck to remind myself that they are permanently attached, that my skull is undeniably connected to my spine which is always unequivocally bound to the rest of my body. This means the “self” I perceive to live in my head cannot leave to attend to my concerns, act elsewhere or take the rest of me with it—it must stay with the body it is part of. (It’s worth investigating how our fight or flight condition persists in our muscles and thoughts giving us the impression there is a free self in our head that is independent of the whole organism.) Furthermore, because of gravity, my body, as a whole, is stuck to the surface it is on. This means “I” am stuck in this place, aka, this situation.

I appreciate the double entendre as we generally deem that phrase to relay something negative. “I am stuck in this situation” or “I am stuck in this behavior” really means my head is stuck to the rest of my body which is stuck to this piece of furniture, floor, etc. Would we wish it to be otherwise—our body parts floating around separately from each other and the ground? Thank goodness for the humor!

The twist in language helps me feel better about whatever predicament I’m emotionally struggling with that otherwise turns into self-blame, self-degradation or intolerance for something I am doing (as I’m sure it’s wrong, bad or stupid and there is some other way I should be managing my life). This is never true. It is as untrue as the belief that our moon should be orbiting Jupiter. Physical bodies must be where they are at all times regardless of how unscrupulous that may seem to our confused and doubting minds.

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