There I lay, a naked I, abandoned by memory, lost to thought, devoid of affect, simply being in the here and now, experiencing without the most rudimentary understanding — though being nonetheless.
Empty yet aware. Awake and confused, unable to shake it off, I just stare at moving shapes with colors, sounds that mean nothing to me. Slowly, things begin coming back, falling into place.
Laughter. That was what I was hearing, and these were the amused and mildly worried faces of my friends. I had fallen asleep in the back of the car. It was difficult to explain to them what had happened just then. Tabula Rasa, that was how I felt: I was a blank slate, without any sense identity, virgin mind grasping for a clue.
That happened years ago, perhaps a year or two after I graduated high school, but I’ve had similar moments. Things I should remember — my name, age, address, phone number, the names of friends — it just fucking vanishes. Language, though I hear it, is stripped of meaning. It’s just fucking noise. Desperately I try to remember as the terror creeps and it’s like trying to hold onto water for dear life.
Memories come back, of course, selective blindness evaporates, shit returns to abnormal, but this sort of thing tends to breed some concern. If it’s not dissociation, I haven’t the foggiest clue what to call it.
I never recall it being so complete as that day in the back of the car, however, and no matter how brief, it makes me wonder — especially as I continue with my daily meditation routine. I have become fascinated with the notion of Witness consciousness, the core of awareness behind the mind — observing thoughts, emotions and sensations from a detached perspective.
Much as water in a lake — which would have served as our initial and natural mirror — our minds perhaps act not only as a medium to objective reality but a mirror for our true self. Just as you cannot see your physical face but require a reflective surface to see it indirectly through reflection, it makes sense that you would require the mind to see the inner self indirectly. So is my brain just a malfunctioning, meaty transceiver?
Or is it truly that the real me, my inner self, the witness, my “original face” is entirely devoid of any characterizing qualities?