Cross-eyed

My favorite point of the view is the too-close, the cross-eyed, where the frame of your own body alters the thing you’re looking at; the uncommon times when you can see yourself in relation to something else.

Under the covers, on a rainy morning, with an arm folded below your chin and the breathable semidarkness of the sheets above, a slice of the world peeks in, looking into this intimate space. The light is gray and beautiful, the sounds just soft enough to notice through the window. If you care to, in a beautiful moment of relaxation, you can shut it all back out.

When the blades of grass at the park become their own entities, as you fall to the ground in surrender, the camera behind your eyes zooms in. Each blade is serrated, vicious, but this is part of the discomfort you accept when you decide that getting dirty doesn’t matter. Usually we have boundaries: this is my body, and this is the rest of the world. But breaking this prideful distinction is liberating. Forget about it.

Perception is selective. You see your body, sprawled out and twisted in an irreplicable position, one in a trillion. There is the torsion in your spine, and the lumps and irritations flaring up from the grass’s touch on bare skin. Are these sensations objects in and of themselves? Where does the grass end and your arm begin? The boundary is subjective. I love these foregrounded moments, because they offer a chance to pull your awareness, your boundaries, much closer in than normal. Tangled limbs, inner sensations, and the things you’re accustomed to looking past or through, may be “mine” or “other.” The rims of your glasses or the frames of your eyebrows fall into either category. You are suddenly aware of the presence of your nose, a sheering rock face whose image reverses like a reflection depending on which eye you look through. The tether of your spiral column reaches through your neck, connected to the anchors of your shoulder muscles. Your head is suddenly foreign; a telephone pole, a suspension bridge, a radio tower.

We imprison ourselves in our bodies, thinking to exert influence only on the things we come into physical contact with, but really we are as free as we want to be. We choose the scope of our own boundaries, selecting the point where “internal” becomes “external” with a metaphysical slide rule. Our inner eye, our awareness—our mechanism for experiencing the world, all we really have—ranges far beyond the physical limits we impose upon ourselves.

We posit the existence of God, a being whose scale is truly limitless. He can dwell on the level of the stars and galaxies, or dive down to the microscopic and fraternize among the atoms. Instead of experiencing these things with the imagination, as we must do, He is, presumably, actually there. . . but we are a lot closer than we give ourselves credit for.

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