Dialogue with your Body: Walking and Dreaming

Are we the dragon, the rider, or both?

Are we the dragon, the rider, or both?


I suppose everybody is at some point following up on a dialogue with one’s Self.

If you do this long enough you probably know that we are ultimately always in dialogue with our Selves:

It’s not just a dialogue with one person; it’s a dialogue with a million simulation subjects, simulations of Reality which you’re running in your head.

Your brain is the hardware and you’re running a procedure for doing I-don’t-know-what.

Consider walking around: You’re not aware of every muscle that has to move.

We cannot even name (let alone control) all the muscles in our legs that have to move together as we’re walking around.

Even if you’re a doctor you’d be pretty challenged to name them, second-by-second as the situation changes: Now it could be some muscle in the tip of the toe, but later it could be another in the heel.

How are you walking? Which part of your body is the first to touch the floor?

That’s what our Bodies do all the time and we think we (should be able to) control it perfectly.

We (usually) don’t wonder how this happens.

No bouncing against walls…

Also, no stepping on branches, stones or rocks…

Even surfaces, carved and polished for us. A warm place to go to bed to.

Our experiences are very different, but one common experience is that of

everybody feeling at some point that it is safe to sleep.

Now, once we sleep, we have no control, because we dream.

I don’t know if you are aware of the latest developments in dream theory, by which I mean neurobiology (*) and trying to explain what’s going on in our brains using MRI to identify activation of certain brain areas.

One crucial aspect of dreaming is that you lose executive control, which is a fancy name for

the feeling that you-the-puppet-master pull some strings and your body follows your instructions.

You lose the (feeling that you have the) power to control everything.

You know how in every dream you never quite get the movements right?

  • Even when you do feel like you’re manoeuvring yourself (=your body), everything is very strange.
  • Even if you can fly (let’s say) and you’re not crashing, it feels very awkward and temporary to dream yourself like this.

Perhaps you flap your arms to keep flying, or perhaps you jump in a certain manner that defies gravity, but either way

you have some procedure for flying and you’re just following it, without wondering:

Is this even possible?

There is no stopping from second to second because you feel like there’s no time to pause as every moment is fraught with peril:

  • Oh, no, I’m falling [FLAP HARDER, JUMP HIGHER].
  • Whew, that was close.
  • Oh, no, not again [FLAP HARDER, JUMP HIGHER].
  • Repeated ad infinitum.

What would your experience be if this were possible when you’re awake? Well, usually it’s not, so we don’t run a procedure for it.

Nowadays, we have airplane pilots and drivers of extremely-fast cars. Do they become one with the machines they’re controlling?

You become identified with the thing you use to move around in.

What foot-prints do we leave on the path on which we’re walking aimlessly [=plugged in our smart devices] as we cannot go back and re-trace our footsteps?

Whatever path we choose has to be matched against Reality and this is where the zen (禅 Meditation) part comes in:

What’s the Reality around you? And that’s where you have to be quiet…

* As a side note worth pondering, “neurobiology” is rendered in Japanese as

  • “the Study of Gods-Passing-through Living-Things” (神経生物学),

so bear in mind that

  • neurones (shin-kei 神経) are the paths through which Gods (kami 神) Pass (heru 経る); “gods” in plural because we’re not talking about the creator of Adam and Eve.

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