The I of our experience originating with the I in things

The I-like substance is visible in things which have life, according to the degree of living structure which exists. I do not make it happen by being there. It is not subjective. It is there. Thus the I is not something imagined, but an actual thing, in matter itself.

First, I experienced that place as something in itself truly wonderful, itself so harmonious, so ordinary, I could see that a great thing had happened there. But while I was standing there, something like that also happened in me. Because of being there, the best there is in me came to the surface, inside me. The ultimate worthwhile occurred in me, drawn out by the presence of that place, almost as if it rose up in me to meet the same thing from that place.

The feeling that arose in me… you will not object, I think, if I call it a feeling of I. It was a precious feeling of my own self that I experienced while standing there. The same life that was mobilized in the place, was then mobilized in me.

But I want, now, to say something much more strange. I believe this existence of the life in me, the feeling of I that arose in me when I was in that place in Berkeley is not, was not, secondary in the phenomenon, but primary. I do not think that the “life” first occurred in the place and then repeated as an I-like feeling in me. It is rather as if the life which occurred in that place was already, of its very own nature I-like — in the thing, and independently of me. What seemed like life, the life which then caused an I-like reaction in me, was rather — I now believe — the submerged I-like presence in the place itself, which was arising, as if from the sea, touched, revealed, and then — because it was arising there — it also communicated with the I-like thing in me.

In other words, the very I-phenomenon which occurred in me, also existed first, I think, in the place, before I had anything to do with it or came on the scene. That is what I experienced as its life.

And I believe the same thing happens every time we experience living structure in a thing. It also arises in the dewdrop or in the little patch of azure blue paint. It occurs, in lesser degree perhaps, in each brick that is correctly placed, in the wall of a building, in each window that is correctly, beautifully made.

(Pages 65-66)

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