Machine Meditation

Breathe in.

Feel the slow building pressure in your lungs as oxygen rushes in.

Exhale. The oxygen has been cycled elsewhere already.

Inhale. The oxygen is pumped into red blood cells and by the bloodstream circulated through the body, where it is used to start a redox reaction. This generates some of your body’s heat. Out. Every second, you convert Air into Fire.

In. Another name for a thing that uses a combination of oxygen, initial energy, and chemical reactants to generate an exothermic reaction which can be converted into mechanical force? Engine. Out. Of course, you don’t suddenly start (just wake), cough smoke (just CO2), burn (just simmer), and there is no single part for the engine (because it is so tiny you can have trillions). You don’t have gears and axles (just muscles and tendons), you don’t drive wheels or pistons (just limbs).

But breathe, deeply, and feel the distinction burn away in every cell of your body. Think about the trillion spots where primitive biofuels burn as your substitute for gasoline, each tiny engine aggregating into a massive cycle, a whole of a trillion parts. Let it go and feel the exhaust trickle from your lips like smoke.

Do you consider cars beautiful, or ugly? Perhaps you like the way they gleam and thrum with motion and color, but still disdain the way they… breathe in… use up resources. Maybe you’re worried about the environment, or maybe you just don’t like your mileage.

It’s just a machine. Let it go. An object. No matter what your feelings are, it’s a tool. It’s just another thing to get you there. Maybe you don’t like the trade-off, so you don’t use it for one thing. Maybe you use it for another. Maybe it’s your livelihood. Maybe you could care less.

Breathe in. Reach in. Underneath the gross mechanical parts, there are finer pieces. Control systems, just beneath the user’s reach. You can’t meddle with the power steering, the cruise control, or energy-saving algorithms. Whoever made it didn’t trust you with the manual. Breathe out. You have to open it up.

We’re not going to do anything. Just look. Trace the path of an action from oxygen intake to controlling nerves to the small, delicate actuators in your finger. Try to open it up and feel the way. Close your eyes for a breath, in and out.

Breathe. It’s your machine. Feel the engine cycle. Feel the points of control.

Use it.