He looked around. The landscape looked normal enough. The hills in the distance shrouded in the ever-present mist, the rice fields a sea of green in the hazy afternoon light. He took a few deep breaths, immersing himself in the peace and tranquility of the scene. The tension of the last few days drained away and left him with a feeling of exhaustion that didn’t just go to the bone but right through into the other side. His gaze lost focus as he followed the feeling of weariness to that place that he had been feeling just outside his field of perception for quite a while now. It seemed to be closer now. The exhaustion was apparently eroding the barriers his ego has thrown up between what he was used to thinking of as himself and that other place.
There was the fleeting sensation of a membrane resisting his probing mind, but then he was through. And then he was gone. Or rather, the distinction between ‘self’ and ‘non-self’ was gone. He was still there but now that included the rest of the universe. It only lasted a fraction of a second, but it also filled an eternity. Then his attention returned to the landscape, to what he had perceived to be the outside just a moment before. And gone were the rice fields, the dams, trees, water buffaloes and conical hats. Gone were the mountains in the distance. Instead there was a brilliant flow of life in a myriad different patterns. The previous vista was still there, barely perceived like framework overlaying reality as he could touch it now. He randomly picked out a single stem of rice in a field about halfway to the mountains. And immediately understood that it was no different from him.
Bringing back his attention to the body that currently housed his consciousness he suddenly felt the presence of all of history, and, further back, pre-history, and even further, cosmology. The stars, the nebulae, the void, where it all began. He knew he was as old as the universe. And at the same time he was just being born this moment with this breath. A movement by his feet caught his attention and before he could stop it he felt his tongue darting out and catch the fly that had landed somewhat suicidally on a bit of decaying leaf by his resting place.
Weird, was the last coherent thought he had as reality coalesced and hardened around him, this body seems to have the wrong shape. Reflexes as old as time made him run for cover as the human who had stood silently a few steps away suddenly jumped forward in a way that seemed at the same time strangely familiar and frighteningly strange.