What did Satori feel like?

Here are a pair of analogies;

  1. It’s late at night, you’ve been playing a computer game for hours in the dark, suddenly the light comes on and you stand up and stretch and feel your body properly for the first time in hours. A moment ago you were in the game, now you’re in the real world.
  2. In the film ‘Men in black’, there’s a bit where a little alien was running this guys body from inside his head. This felt like I had been that little alien, but so focused on driving the body that I just believed I was the body. And then suddenly the lights in the brain-room came on and I saw that I was just driving and controlling this body.

The second analogy is more how it felt like, physically, however the first analogy is perhaps closer to the truth scientifically. One great advantage to being human is the ability to project our consciousness to the areas we focus in. If you have ever mastered a skill, you probably know the feeling of being utterly focused on something. For me it’s photography, and when I am working with photography, when I am super deeply into it, it feels like I am almost at one with the camera. Our brains are incredibly plastic, and research shows us that when we we use tools our brains adapt themselves to the tools at hand. We project our body into the tool.

There are a bunch of pop-science books written about this, a recent one that looks good is ‘Sparks of Genius’.

We do this projection all the time, think about being at the cinema, how long does it take you before you’re in the movie? And a jarring moment can take you out of that, you’re focused on the film, you’re in the film, and suddenly someone starts talking to you, it takes you out of the film. We’re a visual species, so games, films, TV shows are obvious examples but also books, music, etc.

So we ‘throw’ our consciousness into these places, and then we come back into our own body in the real world.

Why is that the last stop ‘back’? I think what happened to me is that I read something that made me jump one step further back, out of ‘being in’ my body and into… I don’t know, my meta-mind? I was suddenly outside of my consciousness, watching it from the outside.