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Reality as Spectating

Yesterday, as I was meditating (read: trying to meditate), I spotted a very bad little habit that I've come into. So subtle it is, that I do not even know how long I've practiced it. I think it may be causing a great deal of unhappiness, and I am eager to rid myself of it.

This discovery took place as I was trying to rid my thoughts of the heat of the room. I was sitting on the floor with a little desk fan at my back. In order to cool off, I tried to imagine that I was sitting atop a mountain in China, a gentle breeze at my back. I pictured myself sitting there, only the top of the hill peeking over the clouds, and me in my meditative position on top of the hill. I imagined that the billowy clouds were moving gently, rapidly, all around.

And then I thought, Why is it that whenever I try to imagine myself in a situation, I experience the imagination as though outside myself?

I thought some more. Every thought of potential future situations follow this pattern. I view the scene as though from a camera lens, or from the point of view of an attentive friend who came along to keep me company. Thinking about future jobs (a topic that has been on my mind a lot recently), peace corps service, making new friends -- all of these I imagine from a perspective outside myself.

What does this mean? And is this normal?

This is perhaps a characteristic of a person who is more concerned about what a certain action, behavior, or attitude looks like and less concerned with what these things feel like.

There used to be a time when I wanted to climb mountains just for the experience of climbing mountains. I thought I have the same reasons for wanting to climb mountains today. But. Maybe I'm really just in love with the idea of climbing a mountain. That is, I love that if someone were to be viewing my life in a movie, that it would be an exciting part of the movie for them. Am I so concerned with the external aesthetic effect of my actions that I've choked and killed any semblance of pure desire?

And is this a result of watching too many movies? Reality is only experienced as a spectator. What a sad way to live. I certainly hope I'm wrong about this...

Anyway, I've decided to try to re-orient my thinking, to see things in the first person again. I hope that I can start to feel more immediately my own wants and desires, those things with which I fear I've become hopelessly out of touch. 
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