Monday, March 03, 2008
A journey without names
Just returning from an extended hike, with much pausing to observe the all that forever surrounds me, even stopping for close inspection of surfaces, the texture of rocks, and with a mindfulness on this trek to not ponder the invisible, the known structures and compositions of all that I run my fingers over, but to just be mindful of the tangible and to limit myself to just that, and not to identify and label this or that just because I know from a book that my fingers are caressing an igneous or a metamorphic or a sedimentary rock, no, I just wanted to feel the "rockiness" and let it be at that. And I must admit that the mind rebels at such limitations, restrictions, the mind wants to search the near infinite pathways inside the brain to find and dust off some forgotten "fact" about that which my finger touches. And more than that, in waves, the mind harvests these forgotten facts and even when my will turns against my self, the mind stitches together strings of facts in an attempt to impress me more, to make me cry out "eureka!" or to slap my forehead with thoughts of epiphany, but no, again I resist grasping the offered discoveries. I must plea that it isn't easy. As the first day slowed to an evening of setting up camp, I almost had to will myself to not be thoughtful in preparing a proper campsite, no, just my sleeping bag upon a sandy bed cleared of rocks and pebbles and other discomforts. And the gathered firewood, really mostly a few branches of mesquite and other unidentified brush, but the onrush of identify, the voice in my head naming this and naming that, as though I could not simply gather brush and stack it and make a circle of stones for a fire pit, without analyzing all that I was doing. And fire in the desert night. I mediated upon patterns, on very moving, changing patterns. And the night sky, stars were a patterned canopy, and with much effort, without names, but almost impossible to dismiss familiar patterns that were the delight of my childhood learning. Big Dipper remained as it was then. I couldn't erase that. And later as glowing embers drifted high and mingled among the stars, I let them mingle, and thought not then of light years apart and sizes and time that made little sense when one is but looking upward. Looking upward as a new born child. But one thought invaded my mind before I drifted off to sleep, it was that it was here, and I cradled my head in my two hands as I peered skyward, as far as I could figure out, I was cradling the most complex structure in the entire universe, and it fits into my two hands! Then I fell asleep. Now I cannot remember if I dreamed, but I have no doubt that I did. For the human mind is restless, and even when we try slowing it down, and we think we have, it goes on and dreams dreams that are forever hidden to ourself, for we awake in the morning with but a hollow ghost of remembrance, of something that is beyond even the universe -- thoughts -- thoughts that have never been touched.