I in the Universe
I am a microcosm of the universe.
My palm, tongue (my latest obsession), ear, is a microcosm of me.
Who am I and what is the universe? Trained, I can see illness, health and all the happinesses with a quick scan of a body part, because everything large is contained in everything small, once you start looking.
Look closely, examine the little details for a grand portrait. And the other way around? I know I am contained in the universe, but where can I see it, see me? I can only look within; as of yet, I don’t know how to see my imprint in the stars.
I just have to believe it’s there because I know that I am here.
I feel this. Things move through me that leave me wondrous and sometimes so confused. Lately it’s somewhere in the middle. I am in between things. Maybe a shift is taking place. The things that used to confuse me have either disappeared or else I’ve become adept at living around these confusions. Not because they don’t matter, but for the simple fact that they don’t cling to me anymore, leaving me free to live in a world without their strong presence.
At the same time, some of the great passions are gone too. I’m not sure what I need to create, or to talk to people about. When I used to feel this way, depression was near, like a shadow. Now, there’s more of a feeling of peace.
Still, uneasiness lingers. I believe that to live a long, full life, passion is necessary. Purpose is necessary. Maybe that’s what these travels have been about: looking past my familiar archive of me-ness, and up to the stars.
Up there I can be a part of something other than myself. I can look up and my gaze can be reflected anywhere, and if I don’t think too much, I can find the reflection of that gaze and follow it to where I need to be.
Everyday, I can hear my heart sing a little more. I can listen to music and feel parts of my body vibrating. It makes me want to tell my mind that while I have depended on it so much, I need to let it go. It has convinced me that there is illness where there is health.
It has allowed me to indulge in sadness when joy is the obvious state of things. It tells me again and again what I should not be doing when all there is to do in this world is to be free. I almost understand this.
I almost accept that the rain and the sun come at surprising moments here on the island, in beautiful southern Thailand, and that whichever one comes is perfect. Then, when I look at my tongue or my palm, and see lines and cracks and marks, I can also see the pureness in canvas on which they lie.
Awaken now, my
golden, dreamless sleep: a day
of surprise awaits.
Words are so precious.
There are times when we can feel at battle with them, when we so badly want to express the deepest parts of ourselves or what we experience, and come up short.
Sometimes there are just no words, and the world itself is ever-spinning, and we are spilling over with emotion. This can be so wondrous, and also difficult and isolating.
Language allows us to connect, but also provides the barrier to the truths that lie behind it. Ah, words!
But then, once in awhile, the right words appear. They can pour right out in a spellbinding moment of harmony between self and world, between us in communication.
They can come in the form of storytelling, the perfect book you sink into and never want to end.
Or, they can come in the form of a poem, like the one below, by Jack Kerouac, who never seemed to take a single word for granted.
I think Kerouac’s ability to put a mountain of truth into each word formation was a dual commitment, which he fed with discipline and passion: to live life beyond the border of words to its very edges, and to do everything he possibly could to reach out to others, using language to give structure to the messiness, chaos and glory that he found.
I read this poem often. I love how it takes us to the vital importance of being kind and not harboring negativity, and to the sacred aspects of ordinary life, which can be our springboard into awe and ecstasy.
Rocks don’t see what we see. Should we take what we see so seriously? What a beautiful sentiment.
I hope you enjoy it and feel inspired to let it move through you as you carry out your day!
“The world you see is just a movie in your mind.
Rocks don’t see it.
Bless and sit down.
Forgive and forget.
Practice kindness all day to everybody
and you will realize you’re already
in heaven now.
That’s the story.
That’s the message.
Nobody understands it,
nobody listens, they’re
all running around like chickens with heads cut
off. I will try to teach it but it will
be in vain, s’why I’ll
end up in a shack
praying and being
cool and singing
by my woodstove
~ Jack Kerouac
HAPPY THANKSGIVING, EVERYONE!
*Also published on elephant journal, here!