Would you defer to another, if asked to describe the smell of evening air, the sound of your soles on the pavement or the way those clouds turn to bonfire smoke against the darkening sky?
The change from seeking to seeing, for me, was about allowing myself to see life in “strata” rather than “linear” form. It was about accepting the obvious fact that every moment simply had to be total, not dependent on the next moment for its fulfillment or meaning. Every moment, every conscious capture of life, simply had to be a “total gulp”, a complete scene…because this very moment is being absolutely everything at all times to all living creatures. It is the very first, the very last, the most terrible, the most beautiful.
With this change to seeing, the unknown also takes on a different meaning. As everything is always “all-ing”, there is no space for the unknown to co-exist with the known in some kind of potential space, or alternative form. Perhaps along the lines of what Ramana Maharshi meant when he said from the point of view of consciousness, there is no unconscious. There is only what is known, what is presented, what comes to light. There are just familiar things like curtains and tables and the feeling of sun on bare feet and there are new things seen for the first time, but they are all within the field of what has shown up.
So what is the unknown, then? For me, allowing life the freedom to be total moments gives rise to the feeling that this is all made of something utterly unknown and unknowable. The unknown is not in competition with the known, nor does it simply occupy the portion of what is that has not yet been perceived or understood. Instead, the unknown is the very nature, the substance of everything, the stuff of dreams. This isn’t a belief in what the unknown is. We could forget about the word “unknown” completely. The sense is there.
And this is why there is nothing in particular to say. It’ll just be a comment about this or that because we’ll be talking about things as we see them. There may be similarities or differences, but there is no urgency for agreement, for convergence of experience and description of reality, because there is no approach or arrival, no development or uncovering. The unknown is never uncovered but vibrates through it all, wherever we happen to be…so you can forget once and for all that you need see any further than what you’re seeing right now.
Forgetting the larger human questions, he lay down on his damp lawn and spent some minutes with an earthworm as it coiled and burrowed between the blades and sods. Something about its invertebrate silence and diligence comforted him, knowing that whatever unknowable principle there was must cradle the two of them equally no matter the difference in their worlds.
There is absolutely nothing I can say that deserves to be remembered by you. Every single utterance I make is eminently deletable. So, the question for me is, if everything I say could be judged to be wrong, inaccurate, immature, misled or inapplicable, and if I may treat everything you may say to me in the very same way, then where does that leave us? Because the fact is, I don’t give a damn what you say. There is nothing you can say that I can apply…because it is all already full here and the only song I can really hear is my own voice. Even your very best words are going to be forgotten by me. The same must be true for you. My words, my insights, my carefully made perceptions, are simply…unessential.
So, where are we, then? What is left of our relationship? There is one thing, left. There is this immediate place of non-distance between us where there is no room for debate or differences. This place is ours alone, watertight, air-locked from authority and corruption. Nothing passes. There is no transmission. There are no separate allegiances, separate consequences, separate existential trajectories. This middle ground is our destiny, where we’ll always refind ourselves, our best efforts at winning, spent.
I’ve nothing important to say. Nor do you. So, peace.
How would you ever know what part of this moment to focus on, to prioritise, to make a vehicle of progress? Where on earth are you supposed to attend? It seems so reckless doesn’t it? All of this. Without the slightest hint of an instruction! But then again, therein lies the dizzying freedom. And how much more reckless it would be to turn your life into an exercise of obedience. Life has already set the flavour of things, the naughtiness, by being here at all. Look at it. When the impossibility of possibility is here at the outset, all that’s left for you is to be a one-off expression of that same unchartedness.
“What are the chances of that?” he thought, gazing down at a haphazard collection of bits of car glass in the unfrequented patch of empty road at the base of a traffic light post. “Where the hell is the continuity between moments? This, then this, then this, but there is just no crossing between them.” And he drove on with his son in the back to the swimming pool and he noticed quietly that he would never, ever find what he was looking for. The present would never present him with something already lived, over, a yesterday, a gold coin in the pond of now. The present would always be ever so slightly cold, unfriendly, dispassionate perhaps, as it held no record, no account of him, was blind to him, and only cared for new things that meant nothing to anybody.
He found himself in a mysterious place of boredom. Not the kind of agitated boredom that one might try to extinguish. It was a boredom which seemed to ooze from everything as the fresh rain oozed, gripping him, so that his eyes met with the bored arched fronds of buddleia and those bored beads of rain that glinted on the tension of a curved leaf, and his body slowly moved from task to task, room to room, just as that young brown blackbird was picking ripening black berries in the tangled bushes below.