The thrill of an unencumbered breath. Is the breath silent or speaking? Both. Is this why it is so hard to find silence?
Silence is a complex of evacuated voices, yet also, all the things we would give voice to, were there room. Even the stars in the sky speak to me, quite loudly: there is mystery to be explored that will never be unmystified. A confounding gift.
What to explore, and how? Inner and outer blend — and it becomes clear that the answer to that question is: “Everything.”
Of late, my reflections dwell upon: “Ordinary” and “Extraordinary.” Confronted with a memories’ skull, a skeleton of a prior mishap, a scar in my brain composed of embarrassment, shame, perceived misdeeds, missed actions, missed thoughts, et. al., I drill down to find entry point. As if someone gave the world cosmos a bull’s eye center.
There are only the stars out there above the earth, stars so vast and complex we have no map for them, and a bullseye target is a laughably wild question; a grapple with things that are best left unknown. Why spray paint the graffiti of purpose and ambition upon them? They exist both within and beyond; that alone is both enough and too much.
All is both extraordinary and ordinary. I lean into my resistance to the ordinary and take a look. My entire life: ramping up attempts to make one extraordinary experience after another exceed the prior. This is the essence of exhaustion and disappointment. I am learning.
It is enough to see the stars. Fancies of reaching them bend too much of time and space into a contraction that is a delusional cheat.
Enough to understand that the only extraordinary that is fathomable exists within the ordinary. I am dutifully learning it is best to be modest and willing in my place. The feral part of myself that has brought me this far yanks at the tether of that yoke. This too is just ordinary spirit.
Lately, I have been reading lovely works, especially by Japanese authors. They speak eloquently and matter of factly about the natural duty towards family, work, society, expectations. Conversely, they speak eloquently to the natural freedom from obligation every human being seems to desire. In a final necessary turn, they wax creative towards fully flourishing the conflict between duty and freedom, as if to tell us this friction is so ordinary that it comprises almost the whole of life. Here we are. Silently?
My bubble of inflation resounds with a lovely pop, a release of pressure, a return to barometric homeostasis, in finding at last, my lifelong dilemmas are so ordinary. If I really need to visit the boundless and reckless realm of the extraordinary in un-guardrailed thrusts of rebellious rebound towards the stars and the emptiness of cold space, I can easily dip into an author who is orchestrating these contrasts through the music of beautiful words, somehow thus made flesh.
I know that there is a silence beyond words. Always speaking. How else would I, oh so human, otherwise listen? There is something there where the stars hiss and pop. And something in the static of pelagic darkness of the space in between all intergalactic matter. This dark matter too that they speak of and that I do not know, what too is it saying?
It is impossible for me to believe a skull is silent, for even when I imagine it so, I pause to give homage to it, and my voice echoes off the white bone, back to me, altered, no longer my own. Voices are everywhere, and I think I will stop trying to escape them. To find my silence in understanding that I need only choose which voices to listen to. To find rest, almost like a dreamy sleep, in understanding that most voices do not need my full attention, only my passing nodding witnessing, acknowledging that they are they, that they are not alone. After all who would wish upon a star that it should be lonely?
I can be there for the star in a tiny dutiful way. I gather with you, as we do then in silence. Perhaps the real silence: Human beings together, saying nothing, but acknowledging that there are voices in languages that we will never understand reaching out to us. We may never understand the original message, but we will receive a gift, nonetheless. Something that makes us bigger than our dutiful selves, something that give us to a bigger duty we can’t fully know. But we take it on, just to be a part of it.