The summer heat reminds me to breathe.
I think of things that don’t happen quickly.
Ocean waves. Rhythmic, like the planet’s heartbeat.
Standing at the edge of the ocean, I once tried to calibrate my breathing to the cresting surf. I felt my blood slow, or thought I did. Sometimes, I close my eyes and think about my body like a great machine, all its cogs working together and what that means. I think about the effect of something so simple as breathing. In and out. In and out. In.
And what that does to the flow of blood through my veins, to digestion, to thinking, to speech.
To the moving of fingers across keys and the communication between animal machines, with electronic machines.
The synergy of every living thing that breathes, that moves, that communicates in its specialized way.
Thoughts are body processes too, although we like to think our thoughts mean more than that. We like to separate ourselves from our bodies with our so-called intelligence and forget that we are animals, too.
I wonder: if I align myself more closely with who I am as a what, with what it means to be an animal machine among other animals, on this planet that is made up of the same proteins as I am, if I realize (if we all realize) that we’re all conglomerations of the same stuff at the root of it all and we’re only separated by our supposed capacity for thought, for spirit, will I allow that spirit to thrive in a more holistic way?
We make ourselves unhappy, pursuing false idols.
Today, I will remember to align my breath with the ocean waves, with the tides of the seasons, with the things of the world that don’t hear the clock tick, tick, ticking away every second of our micromanaged lives. I will think about the complexity of this machine I inhabit and the wonder it is, that it works without the thoughts we all consider so important.
That I am autonomous of myself and how freeing that is.
That I don’t have to remember to pace my breath at all. My body does it for me. If I let it.
If I let it.