Sunday, March 25, 2007

There’s something elusive hiding out on the fringes of my awareness. Not the big insight I’m waiting for, something smaller, but maybe related.

Something about this experience with simplicity. It’s changing me in a way I can’t quite put my finger on. Or, if I can describe it, it would sound so clichéd, because these metaphors have been so overused. Yes, there is a new clarity that simplicity is bringing to my life. But can I describe what I mean by clarity? It goes beyond, way beyond, clear thinking. It’s not a product of the rational brain; rather it’s a spiritual form of sight. It’s a different lens placed over reality, revealing a richness that’s impossible to see in a hectic life. And it’s not that hectic people are just too busy to see with this clarity. It’s not that they could see this way if they took a few weeks off and did nothing. It’s a total paradigm shift that I don’t think is possible without a radical, permanent acceptance of simplicity.

What did anything in that last paragraph just mean? Why does language fail around the most important things? What is it that modern life cuts you off from? What is it that is gained by slowing down and simplifying? Maybe it will be easier to express once I’ve been here longer. I don’t think I’ve fully made the change yet.

There’s some kind of ease I seem to be developing in shifting awareness. To what--how do I describe that? Expanding my awareness, just another overused phrase! Yes, expanding my awareness with just the subtlest little shift. How do I do that and why am I only able to do it now? I couldn’t possibly know how to explain any of it, yet it’s the simplest little thing. I think of all I’ve done is reconnected with the earth and with the sacred. To use yet more clichés, I’ve connected with my sense of kinship with all things. Is there any point in me trying to describe this? The words that are coming out bare no resemblance to what I’m trying to say. Yet it’s so darned simple! I’ve expanded my awareness. OK, we’ll have to leave it at that for now.

I was sitting in a parking lot one day recently when I was in Boulder County. It was around lunchtime and there was traffic zip-zip-zipping by incessantly. I wondered what our ancestors would think if they were with me in the car. All of this frantic rushing about. They would have to think people are going to something very important. Maybe the funeral of a highly revered member of the community. Or an important speech on something vital to the well being of the people. But no, all the rushing about was just to grab a burger or a taco. All of this madness and this ridiculous waste of fossil fuels just to deal with a mid-day meal. And most people alone in their cars, no connection with others, except the transaction at the drive-through window. Meal time reduced from an act of communion to this crazy detached madness!

And I’m always taken aback every time I go up there with the franticness of everyone in their cars. Why are they in such a hurry? Clearly it would be difficult to stay present when you are constantly rushing to the next point. Where is your mind? Not there in the car. Not there in the moment, I’ll tell you that.

That’s why I love the fact that people out here wave to one another when they’re driving. You have to stay present in order to be able to look at and acknowledge the other drivers. You can’t be lost in your own world or mentally rushing ahead to your next destination. Enough sense of community still exists here that we acknowledge each other, genuinely. We see individuals and families passing by us on the roads, not lifeless hunks of metal and rubber.

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