Ive never really tried too hard to understand my place in the existential universe much. I had my theories though - For a while, it was mostly in consideration of how vast existence is that my own happiness was not even a blip of importance. I spent many many (too too many) years contemplating this and forgoing my own happiness to create someone elses illusion, with the eventual conclusion that this was untenable. There were a few years there where i then sought the philosophy that perhaps the opposite were true, and that instead i was the universe, meaning that my importance was whole. These years i spent being very selfish. At the time i thought i had been conceding a large portion of myself for someone else, but in the wholeness of time i have come to understand that it was selfishness that perpetuated something that was never really meant to be. Its funny how long your mind will hold onto something for lack of something else to put in its place.
I bring this up because, in a way, i was correct with both of these theories. There are reasons to support the fact that we are insignificant, and those to support the fact that we are indeed the most significant thing in existence. My current theory (which is based soley on a few glorious moments of clarity) is that we are simultaneously both of these things.
I feel that i should put some context here, and i am well aware that by doing so, i may do myself a disservice. However, it is an important link in the context of everything i am about to share. There are moments that happen in your life when you are bountifully aware that the goalposts you had set & assumed had been set in the correct place begin moving. For me, this realization has never been as glaringly obvious than while suspending on hooks for the first time. I can be impetuous at times, and the decision to suspend was as easy as breathing. It was something that made sense to me, which in context of my own mind is somewhat of a feat in of itself. From the moment i had considered hooks, I had a singular vision of what i wanted to do, and it even gnawed at me as i stood for the first time watching.
I would be lying if i said the thought of my first hooks made me nervous. I had thought that i would be, but it was more a curious excitement if anything. For all intents & purposes, i went to the warehouse that day knowing very little about it, and purposely so. I find it best to build an impression of something first hand instead of it slurring out of someone elses mouth. While i had seen a handful of pictures, i had no concept of the technical aspects, and standing & watching for the first time, i had three very clear thoughts. Of all the pictures i had seen, every individual had a smile on their face. Not a tentative thoughtful smile, but the kind of smile that just exuded enormous warmth. Secondly, i remember watching Wes' toes as they slipped from the ground in that first moment... It was not like watching someone jump. It wasnt like anything id seen. It was... I guess the closest word i can use is freedom. As humans, we are somewhat thwarted by gravity, but at this moment, this was of the least consequence. Of course, his feet were unsure about leaving the ground. Thats where they had always been. You can see that quandary for a moment where the brain is trying to preserve its goalposts in their place. But as soon as that last toe was off the ground, there was a calmness & clarity that i had never quite seen before. The third thought i had was "i need that."
By the time it was my turn, there had been a couple of people go up. They had swung on back hooks, but my head was still certain that my hooks belonged in my chest. This was solidified in my mind as the first hook went through, and then my second. I cant tell you how many times i looked at them before i went up, nor how many times i have looked at the pictures since, but what i saw was perfect. Like they had been supposed to be there the whole time.
What seemed like a million minutes passed. Rigging was set and, having not seen a chest suspension before, i considered what would be the way to go up. I started at standing, but then switched to sitting back on my heels. Both sensations were completely apart from anything id ever done. Neither were particularly comfortable to begin with because, as Wes' feet had done, my feet were now convinced that they wanted to remain on the ground.
It is worth mentioning here that there is very little you can do to convince your brain that it should let you leave the ground. As much as you want to just do it, your brain needs to be coaxed into it a little because we are habitual creatures, and most of us are not in a habit of throwing hooks & leaping into the air. Not that i recall, but the video shows me lifting one foot completely off the ground, and the other foot tip toeing until it couldnt any longer.
I cant rightly describe the process my head followed from that point. I could feel my toes dangling & had my head back watching the ropes for a few seconds before someone grabbed my hand, and even that sensation was not what i had expected. At the time, it felt like i was feeling the mechanics in my hand, all the bones & such, from the inside out, but having thought on my experience retrospectively, it was far more than that.
In my life (as i cannot speak for yours) there have been, and quite commonly, times where i have needed to step away from my own thoughts & being, & detach quite completely in order to function within society's norm. I have a great deal of trouble with this, not only because i feel like when i do i am belying myself, but also because it is harder & harder to return myself home. When i go to work, for example, i see the same cattle run daily of static faces - the people who are white noise. The notion of becoming these hollow people is chilling. They look mindless & empty. But, this is what society wants. What it expects. It doesnt want individuals. It wants the docile drone, day in & day out. It doesnt want ruffled feathers. It wants order. I can tell you that for all my trying, i am chaos. I am lucky that where i work allows a certain amount of that, but again, they have certain expectations to meet, so there will always be a mask of some sort or another to meet those.
My point is, i can not remove these expectation, nor remove the putting on of masks in their entirety. More so than that, when you are exerting so much energy to keep up the illusion of "normality", you lose the ability to really be in and enjoy any moment. There is too much analyzing & consideration required to do so.
Now, when i tell you that what i was feeling was the mechanics in my hand i want you to understand something. I am well aware that my consciousness is attached to a physical presence. If i flex my hand now, i can feel it moving same as it ever was, but i assure you that, at that moment, they were attuned so completely that it wasnt even a thought. It just was. And so was everything else. Nothing exactly changed, but at the same time, everything had irrevocably changed.