Children talk their coded language of play. Their voices rise to greet my attic presence. What they are saying, I know not, but their enthusiasm and excitement are infectious. They celebrate life in its presence and in its carefree nowness. Today has been a day spent alone in the attic of my own mind; in the quiet of my own heart and in the sanctuary of my own body. I am attempting to meet whatever or whoever is the I that I am.
|Italy, Christmas, 2011|
In the distance a dog barks, small birds chirp in the garden hedges below and cars fly along the adjacent motorway. The world is all too present even in this intimate silence. The self I would be I simply cannot pin down. It is forever a work in progress and yet "forever" seems to be an adverb denoting impossibility, if not illusion, for our little fragile lives are marked out with the patient, slow, inevitable ticking of the stark hands of the clock of dying and death.
A wood pigeon has come to coo his/her cares away in the cherry blossom tree in my neighbour's garden. As I open my attic window, I open my soul to the gift of life, to its there-ness, to its "dasein" or "being-there-ness" as the philosophers would have it. While I may be responding to external reality, singing its praises and criticisms with well-formed words, I am aware that I am not creating external reality anymore than I am creating my internal reality. In a sense I experience both of them as given or as gift. And yet, there is also a sense in which I create both my inner and outer realities through my own individual perceptions, by the unique way my mind filters this or that out, notices this or that, and yet somewhere objectivity exists in the shared nature of the encounter we all make with shared reality.
And so I write these words here in search of a prose poem to capture how this mind-heart or mind-soul works. I write these words to put shape on my experience, to give it an order and a form and a familiarity so that it will no longer mirror back to me a hostile, inimical or frightening world. We name every item in our world in order to ward off the fierce oppositional nature of that world. We seek to domesticate our fears in this way. In so doing we also decrease our anxieties.
In the stillness my breath is the very body clock of which I grow ever more in awareness. And now as an infant calls its baby language to the kind evening air of summer and as its screams abate with its mother's soothing, my Body-Soul and Heart-Mind were never more at one. In this stillness no cheap answers will abide. In this stillness simplicity is luring complexity to express itself in less technical language.
It is time we awoke from our dogmatic and religious slumber.