Hey! You!

Summer and the Shadow Mountain Moon

Thursday gratefuls: Jon, Ruth, Gabe. Kate, always Kate. Cool morning. Rain last night. Moderate fire danger on the Smoky the Bear sign. Jackie. Safeway. Oahu. Hickam AFB. Joe and Seoah. Mary. Kep and Rigel.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Rain in the Mountains. Love  unveiled by death.

Namaste. I say and bow slightly. To that Aspen Tree. Black Mountain. The Royal Palm. The Monkeypod Tree. I mean, The God in me bows to the God in you. Or, The Sacred in me bows to the Sacred in you. Or, the Divine in me bows to the Divine in you. My practice for a while now, recently become my simcha practice for mussar. Joy in connection.

At first I sensed a projection of my mind, a hoped for response, perhaps not physically real, but significant.  Then  I thought the small ritual opened a line, a communication, with the Animal or Plant, the Mountain or the Cloud. An I-thou relationship rather than an I-it. Because I sensed a real mutuality.

On further practice and reflection I realized no, not either of those. This simple recognition is neither a projection nor an opening of a line of communication, rather it reveals what is always there. This soul to soul link exists always, a complex and interwoven web of mutual recognition, of friendship, of a shared Sacredness. Call it Gaia or the web of life or the whole or awareness of our place in the ongoingness of the 10,000 things. Call it the Tao.

Why don’t we know it? We do. Sometimes. Communing with Nature. That one Sunset. An orgasm. Looking into the eyes of a Dog or an Elk or a Whale. Feeling the Wind rush down the side of Black Mountain. Hear the Snow Melt fed Stream rushing toward the Sea. But, we forget.

The attention economy. The world of the internet and its subtle, algorithmic modes designed to shift our eyes toward an ad for underwear or paddle boards or whisky. Click bait headlines to draw us into a story. Cookies that trace our every move, feeding into a dossier, not for the CIA, but for an aggregrator who collects like minded folk for targeted advertisement.

The attention economy has a history. Far older than the internet. Television and its commercials, its hot medium. Radio and its shows. Books. Paintings. Music. Make up. Fashion. All fascinating the voyeur, the curiosity within. Political sloganeering. I like Ike. Tricky Dick. Fake News.

Magic. Misdirection. Your attention here please! While I do the trick over here.

So many claimants for that rarest commodity. No, not time. Attention. What am I considering? Right now. What am I allowing in through my neural gateways? Because I can absorb a jingle like brusha, brusha, brusha, with the new Ipana or I can learn haiku or I can shave or I can stay on Facebook one more scroll of the mouse wheel. And for those moments those advertisements, that poem, that razor, that meme shapes my reality, in fact, is my reality.

Most of them misdirect us, turn us away from the Maple Tree or the Pond or the Dragonfly. Turn us away so often over the course of our lives that we forget to turn back to those whose existence buttresses our own. As we sometimes buttress theirs.

That Iroquois medicine man back in 1974. The one who prayed and prayed over the Pine Tree he’d just planted. I’ve mentioned him before. Who prayed for those who swim in the Ocean, for those winged ones who fly in the Air, those Four-legged who roam our forests, the Trees, the Water, the Sky itself. Prayed that all of these and more unmentioned might thrive, find harmony and peace.

Who did not pray for the Two-legged. Not Two-legs bad, as in Animal Farm, but Two-legs vulnerable, fragile, needy. Held up in the cosmic matrix by all the others. I need Black Mountain to shape the weather. I need the Lodgepole Pine and the Aspen to shade my house, to give beauty to my day. I need the field of Wheat to make my bread. I need the Chicken to make my dinner. I need the fresh Waters of Maxwell Creek to lighten my mood. I need the Rain to diminish Wildfire danger. Do you see?

It is, I suspect, an ancient knowledge, this kinship with the 10,000 things. A reason wu wei finds our path for us. Because we are one with the Tao even when we don’t know it. Perhaps most of all when we don’t know it. But it can guide us, move us through our lives with ease and tranquility. We do, though, have to know it. Feel it. Absorb it.

One way: say namaste to those other entities in your world. No, not Facebook. Or, Ferrari. A blade of Grass. A Fish in a Pond. A Rock Face rising above you. The Moon. The Covid Virus. Death.

Capitalize the nouns of those entities to show them honor. Create a grammar of animacy in your ever dayness. And it will enfold you, hold you up. Help you. All you have to do is pay attention.


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