Our imaginary position as the center

 

We live in a world of unreality and dreams. To give up our imaginary position as the center, to renounce it, not only intellectually but in the imaginative part of our soul, that means to awaken to what is real and eternal, to see the true light and hear the true silence. A transformation then takes place at the very roots of our sensibility, in our immediate reception of sense impressions.
– Simone WeilWaiting for God (1942)

The interesting thing about these type of pointers is how precise they are, especially in this quote from Simone Weil. What seems poetic points to something very specific. And we can find it in our own experience and explore its dynamics and mechanisms in very concrete and detailed ways.

We live in a world of unreality and dreams.

We take stories as true, and filter experience and act as if they are true. And this includes the basic stories of a me, as this human self with certain identities and roles, and a separate I as a doer and observer. Everything gets filtered through an overlay of images of a wider world, a me and an I, and how these relate to each other. All drama happens from these imaginations.

To give up our imaginary position as the center, to renounce it

When we take a story as true, there is automatically identification with this story and its viewpoint and roles, and this creates a sense of a center and periphery. A sense of a separate I located in or around this human self, and maybe especially in the head area (the perceptual center), with the rest of the world as periphery.

not only intellectually but in the imaginative part of our soul

One thing is to understand this intellecutally. Another is to see it directly, as it happens. And yet another, and this is the important one, is to really “get” it through and through, at the level where these images and identifications are created.

that means to awaken to what is real

When identification is released out of stories, and in particular the image of a separate I, what is real awakens to itself. What is already here awakens to itself, not filtered through an imagined center of a separate I. This is what is real, what everyone and everything is, and what is untouched by imaginations.

and eternal

It is also eternal, in the sense that it is what time and space happens within and as. It is the timeless now everything happens within and as. Including the overlaid – and helpful – imaginations of time and space.

to see the true light

What we are is this awakeness that is already here. This ordinary awakeness. And all content of experience is this awakeness too, it is the play of awakeness. And all of this has a luminosity to it. When what we are notices itself, everything has a shine to it, it is a clear luminosity.

and hear the true silence

When we no longer take the imagined doer and observer as what we are, we find what we are as the ground of everything. And here, there is true silence. A silence that all activity happens within and as.

A transformation then takes place at the very roots of our sensibility, in our immediate reception of sense impressions.

When our mental overlay is recognized as an imagined overlay, there is a transformation at the root of experience. There is pure perception, an imagined – and helpful – overlay of boundaries and labels, and each is recognized as what they are.

So how to explore this? How can we get a direct insight into what is going on here, allowing a shift to happen at the imaginative level?

One way is through investigating the sense fields. How does something appear in each sense field? What happens when I take the imaginary overlay as real? What happens when it is recognized as an imagined overlay, as it happens? What do I take as what I am? How does that appear in each sense field? Is it content of experience, as any other content of experience? A story may say it is different from other content of experience, but is it really different? Is it what I really am?

When this is explored with sincerity and curiosity, over and over, from different angles and using slightly different pointers, there is the possibility of noticing this as it happens in daily life, and a release of identification out of it.

Here is a longer excerpt:

We live in a world of unreality and dreams. To give up our imaginary position as the center, to renounce it, not only intellectually but in the imaginative part of our soul, that means to awaken to what is real and eternal, to see the true light and hear the true silence. A transformation then takes place at the very roots of our sensibility, in our immediate reception of sense impressions. It is a transformation analogous to that which takes place in the dusk of evening on a road, where we suddenly discern as a tree what we had at first seen as a stooping man; or where we suddenly recognize as a rustling of leaves what we thought at first was whispering voices. We see the same colors; we hear the same sounds, but not in the same way.
– Simone Weil, Waiting for God (1942)

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