It came to me as I walked down the hill through the green forest, experiencing movement. This, the human body is never in a single state.
This body that walks is a humming amalgam of disparate elements. Some are beginning, some renewing, some extinguishing the flame of life, drifting into the void–there, where all originates, once again and always.
We are accustomed to seeing a human body as one individual with certain characteristics, either healthy or sick, alive or dead, friend or foe.
So it is with the body of the world. It appears to each of us that things are in one state or another: renewal or collapse, birthing or dying. But all of this is going on at once–birth, growth, decay, renewal, stillness–Beginning, collapse, vibrancy, death. All at once and in every part. Each part vibrating differently but in some sort of symphony.
We have come to experience this place where we spend our lives–breathing and walking, talking and working, loving and hating–as a globe, a round ball. Even if we understand that it is really an elliptical ball, we feel its satisfying roundness. Pythagorus and the ancient Greeks began to know it as a sphere. Magellan, Isaac Newton and many beings seen and unseen, understood different aspects of this place as a huge ball where, held on its surface so we don’t float away, we breathe air and drink water and eat plants and animals and use what we find to make new things. Now we have seen the photos from outer space (this vastness, somehow beyond encompassing even in our imagination) and hold in our minds the image of this blue-green sphere floating in the darkness, set off in its beauty by the lights of distant suns.
We decided somewhere long ago that this place (whether flat or spherical) is our home. We see each other and speak to each other and make plans. We are a particular species of animal that seem to be capable of imagining and by extension, imagining such a thing as this.
Since we believe it to be ours, we can do with it as we wish. We can somehow decide on the decor, rearrange things to our liking, decide what to keep and what to throw away. As with the human body, the life thronging on this planet has everything going on everywhere, all at once. Some cells are thriving, pulsing with life, living harmoniously with all the other forms of life they find around them. Others are in the throes of death. Some are diseased, having consumed everything around them and disposed indiscriminately of that which they didn’t want. And of course, the other living and more slowly vibrating forms on this particular planet move along in their own rhyme, in their own rhythm. It is only at the core of everything that there is stillness. In these times, more of us living here may have begun to sense this.
Now, in these moments on the earth, many of us can see and hear things happening to other parts of this great body, the Earth. We can’t yet touch or smell or use the fine thread of our proprioception or feel the subtle vibrations of emotions, the tiny cues of eyes and hands and faces.
We receive impressions. We get someone’s idea about what is happening right around her, through the filters of her senses, her mind, perhaps her soul. We must trust the words and the tone and the expression of her face to transmit what we would know more directly if she were sitting before us. We take all of this into the restless space of our own minds where it resonates in some way or is rejected, ejected or forgotten, judged and sorted according to what we believe we know.
But can it just settle into the stillness? Can it just be absorbed there, rest for a while as we use our internal senses to digest it, know its essence?
It is then there is a deep response. It is no longer outside of us, separate. We recognize the stillness in each other as the same stillness.
It is then that the impressions travelling around from mind to mind are transformed by our own experience in this body into something fluid, like the sound of the river or the rain, the quick movement of the brown-green lizard at the edge of our vision or the evanescent smell of the bean-tree blossoms as we pass.