Interior border crossings of the mind

Untitled. Franz Kline. (1910-1962)

by LJ Frank

The interior border crossings are murky. A perception and a thought of what might have occurred is woven like a sheet bend or weaver’s knot. The knot is problematic. The perception and reality are made from different rope.

The murkiness is also like glaucoma. Walking outside on a sunny day one finds the shimmering brightness mixed with showers of shadows causes distortion of what is real. The landscape merges – trees, buildings, and people form an abstract artwork. It’s as if one’s eyes were covered in a strange nuptial like veil. Blinking several times aids in assuaging the view. A salty tear helps in an offering of clarity. Yet, interestingly, sound and voices can be a disconcerting intrusion.

A deep Zen breath and a search for prescription sunglasses for seeing in the distance. The scene now is clearer except that it’s tinted through polarized lens like the politicized environment in which I live. Bias when based on ignorance becomes a form of blindness. Perception versus reality.

The interior borders of the mind are malleable and potentially specious. The map of the mind questions the wisdom of the journey even walking out the front door of a dwelling called home.

“To live on a day-to-day basis is insufficient; we need to transcend, transport, escape; we need meaning, understanding, and explanation; we need to see over-all patterns in our lives. We need hope, the sense of a future; the freedom to get beyond ourselves…in states of mind that allow us to rise above our immediate surroundings and see the beauty and value of the world we live in.” ~ Oliver Sacks

I get into my aging sports car and slide behind a steering wheel that’s flat on one side to ease entry. Small space. I drive to the local coffeeshop with its fancy labeled drinks consisting primarily of caffeine in various stylized forms but I plan to order only a green tea. I read that it was healthy for the mind’s agility, insight, and clarity. And my mind can always use agility within a behaviorally modified environment. Do environmental variables determine will? (Walden Two, B F Skinner). Does my physical heart and lungs evolve to adapt to the content of air and water pollution? What are my actual choices? What determines choice… my will?

Within the context of will, how does one adapt unless having the freedom to do so?  Is that freedom an illusion? Who am I willing to allow the psychological, social, legal, economic and political control over my brief existence on this planet of questionable stewardship?

The United States along with several other countries is deeply polarized and ethically challenged.  The true believers are not free, they are doped up with speech labeled free when actually it’s about control. Free speech to destroy free speech is a damaged democracy. It feeds into the bordered mind.

As I walk into the shop, I hear the sound of snare drums and a saxophone. Coffeeshop music.

I wait in the coffeeshop line. I occasionally find myself hurrying only to wait. Patience. Technologies quicken the human pace and frustration over the smallest and trivial of details.

I don’t have sufficient funds to bypass “waiting” or the resources used by the rich person’s velvet rope of life allowing people to be cordoned off from each other and those perceived to be less equal.   

Breathing. I breathe in the aroma encircling my nose. Deep breathing. The Zen breath. The yoga breath. My lungs and physical angst cherishes fresh smelling aromas, especially bakery goods.

I order a green tea sans water, sugar and ice. I sip my tea and take it with me. I look at my android calendar. I have a seven-hour drive ahead of me.

I start the engine and turn on the radio. The song playing is from 1966…it feels appropriate, for the moment…. the lyrics playing in part:

“And you read your Emily Dickenson

And I my Robert Frost

And we note our place with bookmarkers

That measure what we lost.

Like the poem poorly written

We are verses out of rhythm

Couplets out of rhyme,

In syncopated time

And the dangling conversation

And the superficial sighs

Are the borders of our lives.” *

*The Dangling Conversation, ~ Simon and Garfunkel

Hours come and go. The passing landscape outside my car’s windows flow by… and time, vision, and thought appear and recede in the distance, like the interior border crossings of the mind.

Listening to the wind from an open window I ponder my mindscape. To survive is instinctual. An instinct contains the architecture of thought embedded in our cells. It contains perception that merges with reality to determine a truth. If it doesn’t merge things can get separated, compartmentalized, and even polarized. To survive begins with an interior border crossing – thought, consciousness and conscience – attributes of our cells. But at what point does natural, become unnatural? At what point in our stewardship of the planet is the quality of survival for the many superseded by the quality of life for the few?  What form will the interior border crossings in our mind take tomorrow?