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(if you should learn to do this will your toys of knowing, you will achieve a form of liberty more valuable than any other skill)

‘i doubt it’

This event took place in almost the exact same location as the somethingSilver experience. I had done some zazen that morning, and had been reading a few Zen texts rather at random of late. My practice was in one of its stronger phases at this point, but I was not thinking about Zen, or anything else at the moment when my little experience arose. I was going on some minor morning errand, probably to get some small food item or cash.

As I walked down toward the main section of my neighborhood, I began to feel funny in a subtle way. Funny as in lighthearted, humorous — but again, subtle.

I suddenly noticed something unusual — which was that I was doubting everything around me. Really deeply doubting it, and the experience was sustaining itself. I was enjoying an entirely novel position of consciousness, and I’d never tasted anything like it before. I fundamentally knew everything I was experiencing was some sort of projection, mine, or a combinatory one, and that the only realistic position was essentially doubt. The more I realized this was at once happening and unavoidable, the most powerful the experience became.

I remember seeing a bus roll by, and the silvery reflections on its windows seemed to be shouting how irreal they were, and literally everything around me was. I wasn’t hallucinating, and I would not have challenged physical reality with this perspective — but I realized that I was experiencing some sort of inward emergence — and so I tried to take a back seat for a little while and simply allow it to proceed. The entire event was of a short duration, perhaps a few minutes at most.

In retrospect, I felt at this moment that I had experienced an entirely new form of doubt — and it was essentially liberating. This seemed to resonate with the Zen stories I’d heard in which having great doubt was considered virtuous, or a signal of progress — and I was at this and nearly all stages of my practice consistently seeking such signals — some sign that the boring work of sitting in front of a wall each day was actually accomplishing something.

They tended to be few and far between at best — or at least — the larger more obvious moments were few.

I did not decide anything about this experience of doubt, but I relished the memory of liberty and playfulness that I felt in those few moments — entirely outside all my common ideas and habits of thought, utterly unexpectedly.

I do not think I was doubting reality, at all. I was, perhaps, doubting the human shell placed before the inward eyes — the human conceptual reality. Noticing there is a position outside this, which we can in fact occupy and explore, is crucial to cognitive activism.

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