As I let go of that attachment, I immersed myself in the study of the metaphysical, rather than the physical. I received instruction in meditation, spiritual energy healing, and clairvoyant readings, training my mind and imagination to perceive aspects of reality that transcended my physical surroundings. I studied ancient philosophy and new age spiritual literature. I developed my understanding and interpretation of the Divine, and the principles by which I discerned reality from unreality.
I learned a lot, and practiced a lot, but even my practice was largely internalized. Although I did my best to live by the principles I was studying and formulating, and express my ideals through my actions, the majority of my life was experienced through contemplation of abstractions, rather than through engagement with the world and people around me. This has continued to serve as the foundation from which I regard the world, but at that time, I had experienced so little. I'd never had a physically and romantically intimate relationship, and I'd suffered repeated, demoralizing failures in my attempts at formal education and employment. I had to experience love and loss, have my heart broken and my brain diagnosed, and learn more about myself and my strengths and weaknesses with regard to connecting to others, before I could even hope to truly put my theories into practice on a continual basis. And by most objective assessments, it would appear that I still haven't gotten to that point yet.
And yet, I've accumulated as much life experience as anyone else my age. I've just experienced it differently, accumulated it in a different space, from a different perspective, than my peers, but it's just as valid, and just as unique, as any of theirs. No fellow autistic, no fellow armchair physicist, no fellow spiritual seeker, no fellow thinker, reader, learner, lover, no fellow person in existence has seen or experienced quite the same world as I have, or as any other person has. All as it should be, and it could never have been otherwise. I have just as much right to my worldview, my perspective, my unique, evolving approach to life and love as anyone else does. My life experience is unusual, but it is still the experience of a life, even if it is a life mostly lived inside my own head.
We all perceive our existence differently. Over the course of the past few weeks, I've arrived at a deeper comprehension of the way I happen to do it. These boundless thoughts, conjectures and dreams that I float in and swim through are the medium of my life, the lens through which I interact with reality. These dancing, shifting visions and possibilities, only a very few of which could ever have the space to manifest in any externally visible way, are where I reside, and what I use to observe and to act. They are my limbs, my substance, my environment; my physical body and senses are merely a peripheral device through which I receive incidental input, and interact with others. This I've known for a while, but I now realize and appreciate that I truly Live in Theory; Theory is my home, and it is where I fundamentally belong. I could not attempt to do otherwise without being grossly untrue to myself, and the attempt would almost certainly fail.
But I believe I see a way, now, to continue to live in Theory as I'm meant to, while still participating meaningfully and successfully in the world. My experiences in the realm of Theory have been authentic, meaningful, and rewarding, but I can make them more so, and make my experiences in external reality just as much so ... at least in theory, I can. And I know a thing or two about that. That's where I live, after all.
I see a way now, feel a stance, an approach, a technique for navigating through these theories and dreams and possibilities, flitting between them, enjoying them, manipulating them, living them in satisfying ways, while shepherding favored ones toward the external dimensions of time and space, toward manifestation, but without attachment to results. After all, if my experience of Theory itself is more immediate and visceral than my experience of the external, why would I ever want to emotionally attach to and invest in the outcome of the things that happen out there beyond the reach of my primary domain of influence?
I can enjoy a dream whether or not it comes true. I can authentically experience a possibility without actualizing it out here with the rest of you. And I can do what I can to steer my external experience towards some of my favorites, although which ones become manifest isn't ultimately up to me. That ball is in the Universe's court, and I'm only one collaborator in the process. But I can make my external life an authentic expression of my internal life, a performance and exhibition of, and tribute to, the rich dreamscape that I primarily inhabit. I can bring more of my life out here, to show you all, while still living it richly, blissfully, and very satisfactorily. That is how I can be myself, and be in the world at the same time. That is how I can live my life, in practice, the way I was meant to ... in Theory.