Over at the Command Cave, I shared something that has crossed my mind from time to time. Today I'm going to offer something of the converse.
Heraclitus spoke of "the harmony of binding opposites," the tension that exists between faith and fear. This is the space we inhabit, if not always harmoniously, with ourselves and with others.
While the darkness sometimes intrudes, it also offers a new perspective on the light. I experience a genuine feeling of gratitude for ordinary things we take for granted. Each time I take a glass of safe, clean water from the refrigerator, I know that it wasn't always like this and for many people in the world, it's still not. And I'm grateful for it, and humbled by the inexplicable good fortune afforded to me to have it. None of us chose our parents.
Clean water, abundant, convenient and safe food. Electricity, a sturdy house, a warm bed. We are rich beyond measure in many ways we seldom appreciate. My appreciation has grown, and I think that's a good thing. Maybe even "woke."
But it reminds me that it's important to pay attention to what you're paying attention to, and for too long I've been paying attention to things that perhaps I shouldn't be.
I think we live in a responsive universe. I don't know what that means, but I know that we are a part of the universe, not something separate from it. And my experience suggests that it offers clues to getting along in it more harmoniously in the tension of binding opposites.
When we watched Hallelujah earlier this month, the closing clip of Leonard Cohen speaking to the camera resonated in me in a way that I've learned to pay attention to. I watched to learn more about Leonard Cohen and the history of that song, not take away some life lesson. But I know it when I hear it.
"You look around and you see a world that is impenetrable, that, uh, cannot be made sense of. You either raise your fist, or you say 'Hallelujah.' I try to do both."
My interior experience of late, the past several years, has been mostly one of raising my fist. I haven't been hearing the "secret chord," that from my lips might draw the hallelujah!, if I may be forgiven.
I have given my attention too much to Twitter. Although I follow many fine people there, and have made many online friends, I think we share a few too many things in common. Most of the time it's a steady stream of injustice and outrage. An ongoing chronicle of bad faith, incompetence, petty selfishness and blind ambition. All worthy of raising one's fist to.
But it's exhausting. It distorts our perspective. "That which you feed, grows." I'm not sure I'm helping anyone by being there, and I'm pretty sure it's not helping me.
So it's time to stop giving my attention to Twitter. I'm not deleting my account, I'm just not giving "the timeline" my attention. Things I post here or from the underground will make their way to my micro.blog, which will automatically post links to these words on Twitter and Mastodon.
I subscribe to an RSS feed of replies to my tweets, so if someone cares to comment on Twitter, I'm pretty sure I'll see them unless or until Elon disables that feature. And I receive DMs by email, so I can still be reached via Twitter if someone wishes.
The marmot isn't a frictionless environment, it demands a more deliberate approach, which hopefully means a more thoughtful, more mindful approach; and I think I'll welcome more of that in my interior experience.
A greater opportunity to inhabit a wider space between stimulus and response. Something I once worked hard to achieve. We all get a little lost along the way. The trick is finding our way back.
To that end, with all the resolve this rather arbitrary cultural tradition can imbue, I will strive to do more of something a wise woman once taught me, "David, just be still."
I shall be still, at least some part of every day.
I'll listen carefully for a secret chord, and be grateful when I get the chance to utter hallelujah.
Originally posted at Nice Marmot 10:47 Saturday, 31 December 2022