Immanence. Prathima Muniyappa
Time’s arrow can birth a tornado from the flap of a butterflies’ wing. My motivation in taking this class was seeded in a desire to encounter Non-duality and dwell on being without interstices. At the quantum scale, indistinguishable particles self organize to create a complexity that wears the form of speciation, At the cutting edge of scientific research, Jeremy England’s work in thermodynamics hints that life is not improbable, but rather inevitable, we learn that self-organizing living systems, from the smallest microbes to the largest organisms at an urban scale, manifest the aspirations of the same, universal mind. They strive to develop universal states in order to maximize the diversity of possible futures. At the scale of the earth, Lovelock’s hypothesis views the entire planet as a self regulating mechanism, striving to create conditions that sustain life. The cells in our bodies are being constantly recycled, and our bodies regenerate in seven year cycles. We give ourselves away with every stirring of breeze, leave ourselves behind with every touch. In being born anew despite the most profound loss, we are the universe in ecstatic motion. The inherent dynamism of our physical presence challenges the illusion of separateness. We came spinning out of the same nothingness, scattering stars like dust, the same dust became the desert which is the ocean transformed, the primordial waters coaxed cosmic waste into whale song, the song became rain that sang to the first seed, the flap of a hummingbird’s wings across the earth heralds the onset of spring here today. It is in this notion of interbeing, of understanding the vast network of flows within which a non dual language might emerge, like David Bohm suggested.
At the heart of any language is the echo of the deeply interconnected matrix of sensorial reality itself. A living language is continually being made and remade, woven out of silence by inhalation and woven back into silence by exhalation. At the center of this convergence, it is no more true that we breathe, than that the trees and the animate world breathes through us. Ecological systems exhibit a pulsing paradigm, the crescent rhythm of inhalation and exhalation mediates the body as a silent conversation with invisible entities. Breath renders our boundaries permeable, mediating skin and bark as nondual gradients. In being without interstices, the silence invites me to consider non-duality as a fundamental state of being.
-The Invisible is made Visible -
Where does the self dwell? From what center does self-identification emerge? And are these two spinning from the same centre?
I find it easier to fall into the illusion that my self hood is composed of mind rather than flesh. When I search for the core of me, I arrange my body in the gentle tension of a neutral posture only to abandon it forthwith and withdraw inwards. The mind appears, a vast plane of duckweeds in a brownian waltz, swaying horizon to horizon. The invisible is made visible by swirling eddies of undertow. From here I stand watching, for the currents underneath to reveal themselves as a tapestry articulating identity, and for a gap that professes the discipline of no mind, emerging from the depths where the true self dwells. As my body absorbs the repose, it becomes easy to forget its role in forging the encounter. The form is ever the bridge to the formless, material is embedded memory, Animated by breath’s voice anchoring life to consciousness, uniting body and mind.
Lack of self-awareness renders us opaque; a soul that knows itself is transparent. How curious that the body is central to the state of non-body, or that the mind is the bridge to no mind. My practice has expanded to include a physical exploration, through yoga and strength training to understand the body’s voice in seeking out the dwelling place of the self and to attempt to master breath. There is a cumulative beauty in committing to small action everyday, you set aside your focus to fulfill small tasks everyday only to look up weeks later to understand that there is an intelligence in you that is assembling the learning from the parts into a cohesive whole. I am humbled by the body’s intelligence, every day I focus on the smallest muscle, an isolated part and a week later, I am able to perform across the whole landscape of my corporeality in total integrity. The whirling dervish and the hermit in silent meditation occupy the same space, they meet in the void. The yogi and the kyudo master enter the formless non dual space through the realm of form. It is there in the void, when time is collapsed that the future enters into us, in order to transform us long before it happens.
The future stands firm … but we move in infinite space.
As the snow descended from the inky depths of night sky to blanket the earth in absorptive presence it brought a tender reminder of silence not as the absence of sound but the presence of an inward-listening awareness. The silence of the night is altogether made of a different grain than the silence that accompanies the dawn. Moonlight’s silence occupies a volume; the air enters into a stillness and hangs suspended in the liminal world. A fern curls somewhere into its spiral hold. Dawn’s silence is a silence of expanse, the refuge of aliveness from which one can hear the secret murmur of the living earth. An albatross unfurls its sweeping wings and becomes the wind.
The grain of silence, dripping texture and trailing scent. Different silences have their own aesthetic, and learning to wield it is perhaps one of the greater quests of living. Jiro, the sushi master was overheard telling someone that his entire life was simply a journey to find the perfect balance between the freshness of the fish and the temperature of the rice. Perhaps he was searching for silence. The stillness between the two notes, where being is the interstice. Rothko spent his final years seeking inky depths, painting fields of black on black on black on black. White canvas rendered into its other, when I peered into the canvas, I only saw color. Snail trails curling towards an ascendant ceiling. The constitutive silence. Visceral
Everybody should be quiet near a little stream and listen.