Posted by: cctracker | December 30, 2011

Awareness, Humility and Gratitude

This warm winter morning at the end of the year has an undefinable quality I have loved my whole life. Sunlight and clouds tumble together through a brilliant, blue sky. Surging winds roar, rocking clean, bud-knobbed tree branches back and forth. Winds subside, then rise again, wicking rain off the streets, up out of damp garden beds and lawns into my face, carrying a faint trace of what my open pores call “spring!”  My mind measures the long months from here to March, but the insistent “wheet-wheet-wheet!” of a Tufted Titmouse, as primitive and forceful for me as Stravinsky or the sound of the wind itself, stirs up yearning for  spring, nevertheless.

I put the yearning aside gladly. I will not cheat myself of the melancholy  drama of February.

I begin this project with hope that I can aspire with integrity  to this first banner. In many years of thinking about how to talk about our interior experience of the world around us–and of our experience of our own consciouness–these three words have offered themselves more and more as fundamental and helpful in the task.

It makes sense to begin this conversation with “awareness.” We are ravenous for experience and knowledge as a species before we even know we know. Once we do, the thrill of discovery and the desire for knowledge  become intoxicating. For a time, at least, we cannot resist. “Awareness,” as I hope to share in future posts, is also a personal place to begin for me. Nearly 20 years ago I took the word up again, and, with apologies for the cliche’, considered it again as if for the first time.

“Humility,” is my most fervent prayer, not only because it offers a virtuous way to respond to the profound shock of our weakness and limitation before the vastness of all that is, but also because it has offered practical protection from the most toxic threats to my own interior life.

Finally, “gratitude,”  if steadily cultivated, grounds every experience in a spirit of “unguardedness” and cooperation. Everything, upon reflection, is “given,” whether we choose to direct our thoughts to a source or not. We are infinitesimal yet wondrous conduits for all that is, but we are not the source. Authentic creativity, truly productive agency in this life we are given, seems to depend upon grasping this truth.

So I’m grateful to you for stopping here to consider these reflections on the interior dimensions our experience of nature, culture and technology. I welcome the opportunity to join you in this and other conversations.

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