Friday, March 26, 2010
The Innocent Eye
~If I fail to see what I am (and especially what I am not) it’s because I’m too busily imaginative, too “spiritual”, too adult and knowing, too credulous, too intimidated by society and language, too frightened of the obvious to accept the situation exactly as I find it at this moment. Only I am in a position to report on what’s here. A kind of alert naivety is what I need. It takes an innocent eye and an empty head (not to mention a stout heart) to admit their own perfect emptiness.~ (Douglas Harding, On Having No Head.)
The winter here was unusually warm, and people unusually frozen inside--or so it seems to me. My "herd" (generally speaking) has adopted a sort of permanent startle response, standing outlined in the dark headlights of a future they can no longer predict or feel comfortable with. There has been much anger and grief and dread.
The calendar above my desk says that Spring has arrived, but honestly, the sweet joyousness of the season has been missing. This morning I tried to map out a personal renewal, a way to realign with the natural flow that I know is still there, but which seems so elusive in such a stagnant pool of angst. I wanted to pick up my house and shake all the darkness out of it, tear out some walls, make a bunch of new windows. I needed fresh air.
I feel like an alien.
In the past, such a thought was negative or lonely. Today, it is a positive affirmation of the power to recognize change even when everything and everyone seems "stuck", even when I have neither the financial means nor the desire to make the outer layers reflect some kind of difference. There's only one way to effect a sea change, and that is to embrace the viewpoint of my Alien--a being perpetually new to this place, unconditioned by the people, news and politics of the day.
She happens spontaneously--often enough that I have come to regard my alien-self as the Healthy One, the natural and aligned one. Somehow, this creature is unaffected by my concept of time, age or repetitive stupidity. She thrives and remains unabashedly curious and appreciative of absolutely everything. She is incapable of self-pity. It is impossible to addict her to anything, as any opposite state is just as viable and worthy of attention.
So this morning, as if in response to some line in the sky, this Alien opens her eyes on the heels of that old thought, and looks out at the raw material of the world, the reality of the moment. Wow. There is a distinct freshness, all of a sudden, a sense of eternity-without-stalling. Again, I realize that home is ever-present, and it is my thinking that gets stuck, my feeling that gets frozen. The silent presence suddenly in residence has full access to all the learned skills, all the acquired tools and concepts, all the mental/emotional stuff of this past winter (and any other season). She regards it like she regards everything within and without--as a gift, as something to create through, something to flow into and out of.
She feels like a very wise child, absolutely comfortable in these surroundings...which change so much that the term "unfamiliar" is meaningless. She has no concern about retaining or letting go. It is what it is, even adorned with glittering thoughts and imaginative perspective. She is as comfortable with the use of this technology as my son is with the controls to a game console...the technology of dream and create, of crawl and fly, turn and inspect; an effortless glide in and out of context, using the startlingly dense body/mind/spirit richness of the inner and outer worlds. Oh, yes.
This intrinsic, mysterious being is not a heap of gray matter from which the rest of the body dangles; the mind, body and environment are inseparable. There is no fear. What I am gazing at are the myriad cells of her larger body, doing whatever it is they must do. She looks at me, at the chattering and enchanted fool, and holds me equal in every way to her completely open silence.
Just this morning, I fretted over my work, the shape of my hips and the state of my house. I tried to imagine my own freedom. How pale this peripheral vision is under the direct and unflinching gaze of innocence! Tonight I know my vocation, and always have. My hips are exactly meant as a resting-place for two appreciative hands, as well as small grandchildren. My house is a happy, shifting state of shelter upon which I am not meant to depend. And I am as free as Spring on her green and rainy wave across the land.