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Thursday, June 16, 2011

What do you see?


Look at the sky and clouds on a perfect day.
Somewhere else, that same view resonates like a kind of emotion, deep within another soul on the other side of the world.

But in our day-to-night lives we can’t see that.

Vibration in sound, familiar to so many, is unfamiliar when thought of as existing inside someone else. Sight and sound and even belief seem so obvious to us when we see ourselves in dreams and life, all the time accepting the lie that each of these things is separate. And that makes us alone.

And still we can’t see that.

Lay on your back in the cool grass as a child and look up at the sky – let memory take you there even now. Such peace connected to such longing. What shapes do great winds and water make in their wrestling, somewhere so far above you? Your skin tingles against the green and the Earth presses up against you and through you. From the void, solar winds and cosmic stuff so ancient it can remember creation itself,, move so fast, through everything. They don’t even know you are there, but they carry through the vast reaches and the clouds and the droplets so far above – with hopes to someday be rain - and having seen so much of the universe, they still become part of us, and we are connected to everything.

And we don’t see that.

The strata of stone and bone and lost civilizations beneath us hide impossible knowledge, and the stars, so far away can be our friends, even though they hide from us during the day. Somewhere else, in a different philosophy, they are friends too. We appear to each other – but we cannot see beyond the surface, and so only ever see color and shape and the lies of skin and clothes and unfamiliar faces. It is easier to believe in the fiction of a world in revolution around us, than to feel the alien texture of connection – and we certainly don’t want to see that; especially reflected within ourselves.

But we kill and cut and bleed and grasp for more – and we name all these things, as if by naming them we can give them order and reason and control.

Half a world away a child can’t sleep because she is too hungry – and down the street someone who was once relied upon to die for you if necessary – lays dying finally, in some forgettable room where so  many others have left this world without seeing the sky one last time. They can’t eat even though they are hungry, and they know even that won’t last – there’s a kindness there they can finally understand. No one will come to see them. Across the street someone has been given a final date – and another street over, someone has been given a different kind of date; and dread is their common thread.

And so many certainly don’t want to see any of that.

Squeeze your hands in that distant memory. Feel the Earth give way beneath your fingers, understanding the connection, perhaps – or in a moment, allowing a kind of gift. But that gift is connected through the sunlight and air and cloud and back again to other hearts and minds in so many distant places, you would never be able to speak their names. Yet the stuff of ancient peoples and even older things forgotten fills our hands, cool against the skin and we can almost feel a tear willing itself into being.

I talked to a woman once in Africa. She was a doctor, but so many had died, filling her hands with their fading  heat, her soul had eroded. So many mysteries were gone for her – so many hopes now replaced by oblivion’s comfort. She couldn’t imagine anything else because for her, the sky was only something she had to walk under on the way to hear more screams, smell more blood and witness more death.

She couldn’t see anything else anymore.

What is the greater despair? Is it more terrible that it seems like nothing can be done for the lost and tired? Or is the greater horror that so many of us could do so much – and refuse – instead focusing our short lives on the purposeless continuance of hate and hurt.

We can cut each other down to make ourselves seem bigger for just a moment – or we can recognize the infinite connections being made even now without us, and reaching out, become more than ourselves. We can leave our mark or we can become more than that. Sound and shape and touch all resonate in a shared world waiting just beyond each of us – and we don’t have to be alone. Tie your destiny to that of someone else and you together, become greater than you could standing alone. Add a third and a fourth and eventually we can all reach a greater destiny beyond the breeze and the clouds and the shores of that distant sea in which our world – a tiny island, is much less than a speck.

We can reach beyond all of it.

And today I wondered if anyone could see any of that.


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