Saturday, February 1, 2014

'Nothing ever happens'


My mother recalls when I was ten or eleven passionately (and surprisingly) disclaiming that 'nothing ever happens'!

This might have been simply the plaintive cry of a bored child excepting that I remember it vividly too, the very moment, where I was and how I was.

I was reminded of it today reading an essay by the esotericist and scholar, Richard Smoley, entitled 'On Encounter with the Ancient Wisdom', where he describes that his first lesson from ancient wisdom was acquiring a 'sense of scale' - 'the recognition that earthly reality...is not the only, or even the most important, reality.' This world, our everyday place in which 'nothing ever happens', is a filtered out and down version of the 'real thing' that waits upon us beyond a thin veil.

This sense of scale is a common experience, though its usual fleetingness often relegates it to the realm of the forgotten. I remember sitting in a doctor's surgery listening to a young man calm his pregnant girlfriend with his story of it - swimming in a lake when everything became light, lightened - whilst his 'other eye' kept watch on his illegally parked motorcycle outside! It was such a surprising moment that I sometimes want to persuade myself that I dreamt it but I know I did not. I remember the errand that took me to the surgery and vividly recall the couple's physical presence.

I remember my cry was not in search of adventure in time - though, ironically, that has come in abundance - but for signs that my childhood sense of the scale of things, fleetingly glimpsed, might become a conscious connection. I remember also, at this same age, discovering there were people called 'atheists' who did not 'believe in' God. This was a mighty puzzle to me: how could they be so obtuse and not notice? And when did God become a question of 'belief'  - I did not believe that my parents loved me or that the padding of the furniture in the breakfast room was blue: I knew.

I keep a glimmering affectionate envy for those for whom it is the normal vision of things, as here above, with my beloved Blake and his painting of Jacob's Ladder. This is a beautiful image of conscious connection - heaven and earth bound by angelic messenger.

Thus far I must be content with a something that elusively happens when I taste and see the world's radiance, fleetingly yet repeatedly. Happily! 

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