The Immersive Experience.

Hi Friends, I have been gone for a while.  Had some internal and external vacation time, but I’m back from the recent travels.  On the most obvious level I always try to make my travels an immersive experience.

When I was young and traveling, we called it ‘Grooving’ with the locals.”  We would try to find, and experience, the most authentic aspects of a place’s culture customs, and cuisine.  Hey, a trinity all starting with “C”.  I like it!

The concept of the “immersive” experience is very prevalent these days.  The wide-angle and ultra-portability of the GoPro camera is designed to put the viewer more “in the experience”, and not as separated as the traditional “spectator” point of view.  And, of course, the ultimate goal of “virtual reality” is to put the person squarely in the computer-generated events they are indulging in.

This will allow unhealthy out of shape guys to kill zombies, kick Chuck Norris’s ass, and get all the hot girls.  All this while crumbs of nacho flavored Doritos chips litter their shirts and couches.  I can’t speak to the fantasy exploits of women here.  But I can say “The Matrix” anyone?

Having observed and interacted with my child as she has grown up has been an incredible learning experience.  I would like to think that an equal exchange of lessons and information have passed between us, but time will tell.  We took a “test your mental age” quiz online.  I ended up 18 years old, and she 32.  I’m not proud of that, but it is what it is, and may imply that I will be learning more from her, than she from me.  Although it may appear that I have digressed, this is going somewhere.

We like to flatter ourselves with our prowess at being able to adjust to foreign cultures we visit.  We like to show our compassion and empathy.  To not be the ‘Ugly American” or “offensive” tourist.  We pride ourselves on our ability to “immerse” ourselves in the experience.  And we do pull it off occasionally, and for brief moments.

But the problem is we can’t really…because we grew up.  Our perception became more isolated as our ego matured and created its boundaries.   

I have heard, more than once, from various swamis and spiritual teachers, that the aim of spiritual enlightenment should manifest a more “childlike” frame of mind in the practitioner.  A first impression of this concept may seem unrealistic to most people.  After all, how could we function as adults with a childlike awareness?

First, let’s establish some things.  In a more perfect existence, where we could function in total trust, with all our fellow humans exhibiting only the highest standards of ethical behavior, benevolence, compassion, and empathy, we would not need boundaries.  (Where is that friggin planet?  Sign me up!)  But that is obviously not where we are, and no one is suggesting that we not understand and avoid danger.  But a closer look will get at what we are talking about.

As I have explained before, the word “yoga” comes from the Sanskrit root “yug” which means to “yoke, connect, unite”. The union is between soul and spirit.  If spirit permeates all of creation, who could be more connected than an unborn baby?  Immersed in the creation of a body with all the programmed miracles involved in the process of a making a brand-new body.  And who was there along for the ride?  You and me, and everyone else walking around in a body.

So, when I am talking about being immersed, I’m not talking merely being “submerged” in.  I’m talking about being completely saturated by, and engrossed and connected to the surrounding environment.  The “connected” state of ‘yoga”.

We come into this world very comfortable in our immersed state of mind.  You can perceive it in the little child.  As they exist in their helpless state they are neutral and passive in what they see.  That is, of course, until something makes them physically uncomfortable. But that is a physical sensation, and not a perception, or attitude toward what they see.

They sustain this state of mind for quite some time.  They move through the day connected to the experience of the moment and move on to the experience of the next moment.  They aren’t distracted by things that remind them of something in the past.  They aren’t worried about future events.

And, like it or not, that is the healthiest way to go through life.  Taking care of the moment, and not being affected by the non-productive, damaging, mental activity of worrying or being distracted by past events, or unknown future possibilities.  

This is what the yogis mean by being “childlike”.  I have said before how I’ve always reminded my daughter to “remember what it felt like to be a little kid.” So, lately I’ve been trying to heed my own advice.

In Eastern spiritual practices meditation is usually the road to finding this state of mind.  Meditation is so beneficial on so many levels, and lately I’ve used it to try to get, sort of, directly back to that childlike state of mind.

I sit and try to take myself back to a scene I can remember as a little kid.  The younger the better. Then I try to tune into the state of mind that I had in that moment.  It can be done.  It is all there in your memory.

Once I can connect to that feeling I just want to experience that frame of mind.  From there it is like “muscle memory”.  The goal, for me, is to get so familiar with that feeling, that I can conjure it when I need it.  Like during times of stress, hurt, or frustration.

We are so programmed in our culture to look for remedies outside of ourselves, usually, in a paid for consumable product.  Whether it be therapy, exercise, pills, drugs, food, etc. it is, really all the same.  Seeking relief from our suffering from “something”. Of course, this approach rarely gives lasting relief, since it usually only relieves symptoms, or offers intellectual answers to an emotional issue.

So, if you are into it, give it a try.  Also, when you are around little kids, try to tune in to their vibe.  I know, to some people, this will sound like a bunch of shit, and that is fine.  I’m not going to argue for fine and subtle points in the context of a coarse and crude reality.  But here is the deal.  The more you dis, disbelieve, and devalue the true abilities and power you possess to manage your life, the more you limit those abilities. Remember; “Argue for your limitations, and sure enough, they’re yours.”

We were never meant to be launched into this game, without the tools to self-maintain and repair ourselves.  We were not meant to have to “buy” a service or products to heal us or make us complete.  We are all just sold on the self-limiting, collective consciousness into which we have been born, bred, and bamboozled.

OK, so that is the third trinity in this post with the same first letter!  I’m gonna quit while I’m ahead.

Much peace, love, and blessings,