Touch 1

Thursday, 18. June 2009

Touch

Verbatim original draft rewritten 26.10.95 but started in 1989.

The subject of this book is just out of reach. We have all touched it and found it too vast, too difficult to grasp and impossible to capture while life goes on pressing us to react and plan.

We touch the world and it touches us. We touch it physically, we touch it mentally, we certainly have an energetic symbiosis with it.

Nobody with consciousness has failed to notice the shifting moods of life incoming and projected out; everyone has asked themselves what happiness is and how come you never hold onto it. We are aware that our hold on life affects the life we end up leading and our language is full of words acknowledging this perception:

Some cling and some let themselves go; some get stuck in and some put everything in its place. Some want to hit targets and others prefer to relax, tune in and float downstream, Some are cool and others have the hots. Some feel the presence of God and others think science will explain every process.

It may be true, as some therapies assert, that groups of people are biased in their perception to either images, sounds or sensations, but the physicality implied by any of these is inescapable and for our purposes here every kind of sensibility is a flow of touch, between the self and everything else….

So, is touch a kind of frontier between ourselves and the world? Between the life we could lead and the life we let ourselves lead, between much wanted security and all that stuff coming in: sensation, information, communication, inclusion, exclusion, aggression, projection, prejudice, propaganda, odour, microbes and invisible rays from outer space! The nicer word for frontier is boundary and the nastier version is defence mechanism.

But all of these are just concepts and like all concepts just distinctions; in the real chain of description for any given moment of touch it would be difficult to draw any frontier. Each of us routinely knows who Me is, but many of us have experiences that show how the edge of me can change. Love is an example, the boundary for joy is certainly much further out than the walls we feel in depression. Contentment embraces a wider world than irritation does and anger narrows our world down to one single window of attack.

The world changes all the time in size and scope; the same world becomes friendlier or more hostile, lighter or darker, according to our moods. This is obvious now, but not when you are caught up in that mood. Only from a distance can we see where we really were, usually a distance in time at the very least. This book has distance as one of its purposes; it seeks to be a kind of meditation.

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