WHAT IS GIVEN
It is colder now, and gloomier indoors for much of the day. But outside, this November keeps on giving. My walking range has increased again with a walk to nearby Nailsworth, a leisurely lunch in this little town, and a walk back again: ten miles. The picture above includes both a stream beside my path and a small lake nearby.
But my attention hasn’t been all on the world around me. I have been reflecting on an old statement about my practice, currently included in my About section, and finding that it still holds. “My inquiry process overall has helped me to discover an underlying peace and at-homeness in the present moment, which, when experienced clearly and spaciously, nourishes and illuminates my life. It is not dependent on belief or circumstance, but on the ultimate acceptance that this is what is given. I find that this perspective supports a spirit of openness, an ethic of interdependence and a life of abundant simplicity.”
There is no reliance on metaphysics here. This allows me a pared down focus on experience and values. My practice has been relatively stable over a long period, whereas my thoughts about metaphysical questions are more volatile. I experience thinking as volatile by nature, and fine within its limits. Over the years this blog has found room for diverse approaches to the meaning, if any, of terms like divinity and consciousness. I have wondered about the possibility (or desirability) of establishing any foundational truth about absolute or indeed conventional ‘reality’. I notice now that when I explore these questions – especially when reading – I am more interested in seeing how people put their worlds together than I am in identifying insights or finding answers to the questions themselves. It has become a human interest rather than a philosophical quest.
I have noticed this especially over recent days when engaging with Carlo Rovelli’s discussion of the Buddhist philosopher Nagarjuna (1,2). My interest was in seeing how a distinguished physicist makes use of Nagarjuna’s emptiness doctrine. I have less stake in assessing the view itself, because my peace and at-homeness are the result of an experiential inquiry, and not of speculative thinking. I continue to find that this perspective supports “a spirit of openness, an ethic of interdependence, and a life of abundant simplicity”, My inquiry focus, if ‘inquiry; is even the right word, is about how best to walk the talk.
(1) Carlo Rovelli Helgoland global.penguinrandomhouse.com 2020 (Translated by Erica Segre & Simon Carnell, 2021). Carlo Rovelli is a theoretical physicist who has made significant contributions to the physics of space and time.
Your last paragraph encapsulates one of my foremost beliefs; that being in this world requires doing in this world. Thinking about ‘practice’ as with all experiences we get better the more we do (Bounce is a book that convinced me of this) So ‘chicken or egg’? Walk or talk? We must walk before we can talk I believe…
Thanks for this comment. Yes, walking before talking – though I’ve been told it was a close run thing for me!
It has been said we should “walk the talk:…put our words into action.
Indeed yes! Thanks Ron.
Found your blog today and I’m really grateful for this. I can feel your words.
Druidry and paganism have always inspired me when I was younger but through the years I was feeling like all the magic and thinking I was making were not resulting in the enlightenment I wished.
It’s been two years I’ve been in the path of Zen Buddhism now and recently I rediscovered the poetry of Alberto Caeiro (Fernando Pessoa) and it’s bucolic and nature bonded aspect. I got surprised how much of the poetry sounded true to me after years and how resonant they are with Zen teaching.
All this led me to your blog and now I’m thinking that maybe Druidry and Zen are not that distant. Thak you for your words and your practice!
I’m also experiencing this: puting things to action are coming first and more vividly than this so volatile thinking.
Many thanks for your comment Jean. Many blessings on your own journey.