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Yesterday's clarity is today's stupidity.
The universe has dark and light.
Entrust oneself to change.
Eventually, I'm going to write a book on
what it is to be a "Sensual
Contemplative". I adopted the description immediately upon reading the
following passage from my friend James Corrigan's book, An Introduction To
Awareness, while in the bathtub one morning:
It is interesting to note that so-called
Transcendentalists--poets, essayists, and
philosophers -- have historically been the most minutely detailed and
intimately connected observers of, and celebrants of, life; rather than the
most geekish analyzers of its 'transcendental' structure. One thinks of a
Whitman, Emerson, Thoreau, or Dickenson, not as engineers hard-pressed to
reverse-engineer existence, but rather deeply contemplative and sensual
individuals who wanted nothing more than to savor and celebrate the
intricate flavors of, and their curiosity toward, existence. Their goal was not
to "get to the bottom" of it, but to fully engage it, in contradistinction to
those around them who saw themselves as separate and apart from "Nature".
I remember getting an "aha" chill
from my head to my toes, in spite of the hot
water. Never mind all the distinguished company--I knew I had found the
taste of my own calling in James' adjectives. Full engagement does seem to
be the point of living, here.
Writing about it is sometimes incredibly
difficult. A million repeated attempts
still can't capture the essence of This in its entirety--all I do is split myself a
million times--and a certain astonishing loveliness lies in the fact that I can do
just that, and remain whole.
I'll save the most juicy stuff for that
book. But beauty has been much on my
mind, so let me do a quick, loose sketch...
Sensuality is "bodying" in
awareness, of and with all available senses.
Sensuality is commonly associated with "sexuality" (the advertised variety),
and although everything sexual is indeed included in what I am trying to
describe, there is a deeper, wider field of experience in which genitalia are but
minor conduits of erogenous energy. The world, in fact, is full of an intimacy
both erotic and altruistic, desiring and giving at once, born when one is
willing to be a union of total fullness and utter individuation.
There is heightened physical sensation, as
well as deep sensitivity to shifting
thought/feeling arising in and through cells and organs. I think of this motion
as a sort of energetic language, in which all elements of oneself are in flowing
communication--local physical organism, environment, and beyond--as far
"out" or "in" as one is willing to extend. Boundaries between the
sense-pathways loosen, and a kind of synesthesia (joining of senses) can
Contemplation is far more than thinking or
mentally processing data. It is
intricately entwined with sensuality in that it is actively listening, tasting and
opening within the field, the entire presence of self-in-moment. It dilates and
contracts like the pupil of an eye, effortlessly, unplanned. Logical thought
happens, a pale shadow of the larger intuition and cross-languaging going on.
Ideas appear, but always shimmering with the countless threads connecting
them to everything else. Contemplating is being completely present to what
is. What is, in spite of all the varying elements, is one, incredibly obvious
A "sensual contemplative" could
simply be a human with a superhighway
between the left and right hemispheres of the brain...or a mystic shaken out
of the slumber of illusion...or a madwoman. All of these descriptions seem
apt at one time or another. None of them can touch the act, the fact, the
sacrifice and celebration of being, here. The point of all this deep feeling is the
sheer beauty of it. Beauty is always the "trigger", the attraction, the embrace.
Again, I'm speaking of a different order of
beauty than smoothness,
symmetry, or waist-to-hip ratio. I'm talking about the sensation and
awareness of beauty that precedes and outlives a judgment call. I'm talking
about the gorgeousness that is literally in the eye of the beholder, a touch so
deep that one is what one sees, hears, feels, smells--"I" and "That" express
the same beauty...which is, after all, what we are. It is an active, dynamic
principle, rather than a static wish or image "over there".
Full engagement--with suffering, joy,
humanity, spirit--happens when I am
subsumed in this beautiful ongoing stream, where the past is gone but always
here, transforming, and the future never but always here, transforming. The
motion is so eternal that it's still. The space behind is so vast that it allows for
a perfectly earthy, intimately felt sense of location that I tend to call "me".
How can this be? I don't know.
Maria Smith's blog is "Liminal Light"
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