We select from the total input that goes to our senses only a very small fraction. And this causes us to believe that we are separate beings, isolated by the boundary of the epidermis from the rest of the world.
One learns that a human being is not an organism in an environment, but is an organism-environment—that is to say, a unified field of behavior. If you describe, carefully, the behavior of any organism, you cannot do so without at the same time describing the behavior of the environment. And by that you know that you’ve got a new entity of study.
If a mystic is one who is sensibly—or even sensuously—aware of his inseparability, as an individual, from the total existing universe, he’s simply a person who has become sensible—aware through his senses—of the way ecologists see the world. So when I’m in academic circles I don’t talk about mystical experience, I talk about ecological awareness. Same thing.
Existence, the physical universe, is basically playful. There is no necessity for it whatsoever. It isn’t going anywhere; that is to say, it doesn’t have some destination that it ought to arrive at.
Look at the people who live to retire and put those savings away. And then, when they’re 65, they don’t have any energy left, they’re more or less impotent, and they go and rot in an old people’s—“Senior Citizens”—community. Because we’ve simply cheated ourselves the whole way down the line. We thought of life by analogy with a journey, with a pilgrimage, which had a serious purpose at the end and the thing was to get to that end. Success—or whatever it is, or maybe heaven—after you’re dead. But we missed the point the whole way along. It was a musical thing and you were supposed to sing, or to dance, while the music was being played.