The call of the less known

It seems important to write something although I have no idea as I open this page what it will be. I’ll stick in my latest drawing and see where I go from there.

Sunday morning

When I was young and very idealistic, I would be seized by intense longings (weren’t we all?) and one such ‘seizure’ concerned the sense that there awaited a realm of experience beyond anything I’d known thus far, that was immediate and quintessential, independent of past conditioning or forward planning. I’m trying to recapture the gist of it. It was akin to the desire to head off into the world/the wilds with a few dollars, a notebook, and a spare t-shirt, and just see what happened. Just seeing what happens is probably what I mean. Mightn’t that still be the simplest, most potent state we can experience?

I don’t mean a passive, helpless state. I mean the one that might be one thin veil away at any given moment: a state of vibrant, expectant just seeing what happens. Like being a baby again, but a baby who sees and knows itself also. And if something happens, then you’re ready to participate. If nothing happens, you can go on with the status quo.

Of course we’re each an amalgam of our past experiences and choices, of our current commitments, activities, and beliefs known or unknown, and of the trajectory that all of these have set us upon, but … it’s there still, glimmering: that longing for the footloose moment of pure possibility. We approach it when we write or paint, or set out on a walk with no aim, or when we hunker down to watch an ant or a bird in its intricate manoeuvrings. I suppose it’s what ‘mindfulness’ aims at, and meditation or contemplative prayer. But these names suggest technique and practice and I wonder if this notional state depends ultimately upon any of those.

The young and idealistic person who still inhabits this house of the self reminds me that just seeing what happens still represents, for me at least, an ideal, and therefore a possibility. I don’t know who wrote the words pinned on my noticeboard but they are not unrelated: Put aside conceptions of who you are and where you’re going. Open to the unknown and to being lived by Life. Invite the call of the future to speak to you.

2 responses to “The call of the less known”

  1. Consciousness seems to be the bridge now, doesn’t it, to those longed-for places. At 11 to 13 I went, too, by bike, foot or pony . . . but I didn’t know how to ‘be’ when I got there. I was often perplexed.

  2. On a weekend and at 11, 12, 13,I would set out on my bike, to cycle somewhere and draw it. The beach,a river,one of the islands exposed at low tide. That feeling I only ever get occasionally now, at the start of a holiday, if I’m lucky. Perhaps it’s time to rekindle it. Consciously, this time.