Birds Can Meditate

If you have ever occasionally fed a wild bird, and developed some form of communication with it, then you know there are times when it will come and 'meditate' upon the place where its seeds are usually put, as if to will them into existence. There are days when I sit at my computer writing, stand up to stretch my legs, and find such a bird, meditating on its ledge.
Sometimes, I can get lost in a sea of words, ideas, arguments, like clouds on a rainy day: nothing is distinct, everything, dark. My mistake is thinking those are days of conclusion. If it is indistinct, despite the belief there is something in the shrouded outlines, it must be set aside. Substrata of listening are to be learned: a listening that allows for the fact that the same set of key words can belong to different contexts of dialogue, that may have little to do with each other and require time for each to be explored. This engagement can seem unnecessarily slow - one little frontiersman cannot possibly cover all that territory on his own.
What are we looking for in our knowledge? Or better yet, what kind of meaning are we seeking? Meaning, in some contexts, has become like a bad word, implying, to reactionaries, hegemony. The modern cry is: no one could possibly understand the meaning I manufacture for myself. But even Julia Kristeva, who in many ways is an individual of this ilk, has written that such manifestations of freedom are an exaggeration leading to various forms of illness (i.e. mental). In one of her less-known works, addressed to the EU of all places, she suggests returning to hesychasm, related to ἡσυχάζω, to keep the stillness - as it emerged via The Philokalia, as it was introduced to 18th Century Russia, the title related to φιλοκαλία, love of the beautiful.
So many of the ideas we meet are essentially questions about what we think of motion/change and stillness/sameness. To my mind and heart, the best ideas find a balance between the two. Aristotle's golden mean never gets old for me; rather, I keep finding new ways to apply it.
And to make one's way through the forest of words (I am now thinking of ὕλη, or woods: the matter of thought as it becomes manifest in the applications of ideas), why can't one be like the bird on the ledge, silently focusing on the empty place (emptiness, no fixed idea), waiting with the belief that the idea will make itself manifest? I am writing this to myself, because sometimes I fall into the exaggeration of chatter, when I really should be silent. 
In my experience, meaning does not emerge through endless avenues of chatter. It emerges when we follow those lines of thought that interest us, and allowing them to come to their own fruition. Like Seneca writing that the scientist must enter the temple of the world like the believer enters the temple of God. Where there is patience and reverence, there is usually also beauty.

No comments:

Post a Comment