I was once sitting in the car with my family, driving through a beautiful and sunny coastal California landscape. The creamy, abstract dome of cloud-shapes tread through the flawless blue sky. The harsh sparkle of ocean stared me down, and the far-off mountains stood fluid, like calligraphy in a mist. Pretty music played on the radio. The scene was so nice, the sounds so fitting, that I felt a smile blossom on my face. But as I stared passively out the window from my solitary seat in the back of the van, I contemplated how, despite my contentment, I was gaining nothing from my pretty surroundings. A question floated to the front of my mind: “What senses could you do without? To what extent could you let go?” In silent answer, I stared up at reverential clouds; how beautiful they were! I closed my eyes. I felt nothing. I focused in on the melodies streaming from the speakers on both my sides, then I plugged my ears. I felt nothing. I bit my tongue, preventing speech. In this void, my senses were trained onto myself. I saw what I was supposed to see. All that I heard was mine. I was a conscious tomb; severed. This was freedom and beauty. This was me.
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