Today I left my cell phone at home. I lost myself and it was amazing.
I lost myself in new spaces of familiar places. When we are somewhere totally new, and without tools for orientation, it can be easy to lose ourselves. And when we do lose ourselves, we become exposed, naked and bare-skinned to the present moment, feeling every detail. Without awareness of, or attention on, our self, we lose the separation created by distinct perimeters. The boundaries between us and the present experience disintegrate. We become the experience.
I left my cell phone at home and lost myself in a totally new day, in the same old city. Without my phone I was also without constant access to elsewhere. I was without the experience of being in two places at one time. Body at the corner coffee shop, but my self hitchhiking the virtual world, yesterday, or tomorrow, miles away. I was lost because instead of here+there, I was just here. Each moment is always unique but to experience its uniqueness you have to be 100% here. It had been so long.
"Not to find one's way in a city may well be uninteresting and banal. It requires ignorance - nothing more," says the 20th century philosopher Walter Benjamin. "But to lose yourself in a city-as one loses oneself in a forest-that calls for quite a different schooling," The schooling is a most important curriculum for all humans. Its lesson in releasing our tight grip around self consciousness teaches us what it means to actually be so very little aware of your self's existence that there is no separation because when we are totally engaged we are in the now, and in the now there is only present moment experience.
"To lose yourself: a voluptuous surrender, lost in your arms, lost to the world, utterly immersed in what is present so that its surroundings fade away," describes Rebecca Solnit in A Field Guide to Getting Lost. "To be lost is to be fully present, and to be fully present is to be capable of being in uncertainty and mystery. And one does not get lost but loses oneself with the implication that it is a conscious choice, a chosen surrender, a psychic state achievable through geography."