Sometimes, a startling morning.
A few minutes that feel time-free, when the phrase “Be here now” inheres in the body, the air, the mind, the moment.
Free to recognize consciousness as a grounding, not as an end-in-itself. Part of the world, part of the cosmos.
Reflecting, I realize another thing: poetry does that for me, hands me a moment. When I listen to or read a poem, it moves me into a moment suspended in “now-ness.” I am with Seamus Heaney’s father, digging; I watch the horses in Maxine Kumin’s field. The poems that move me do so by allowing me, the reader, to enter that moment or that consciousness, that perspective, which I may or may not relate to, and may or may not layer through perspectives of my own. Yet there I am, in a real way.
~excerpt from “Digging” (see this link for the whole poem, and audio)~
Sometimes the momentary sense of time-free, liberated unity occurs on its own, smacks me by surprise. Or it may arise from mediation, contemplation, or during “mindless” work–such as digging.
Philosophy and criticism tend not to evoke that sort of free consciousness. They require the brain to operate in a different way, a distancing from one-ness; but I like that sort of brain-work because the intelligent and inquisitive people who write, or write about, philosophy, neurology, psychology, and criticism of all kinds offer insights I would not likely find on my own. They ask the interesting questions (it doesn’t matter to me if they do not have the answers).
So there’s a balance, right?
Poets also ask the interesting questions. Through reading a good poem, I am there in the poet’s moment, curious and uncertain. It is a kind of contemplative practice to read, with an open mind and an open heart, poetry.
(The criticism and the analysis come later. Let them wait!)