Happy as a human in mud

February 2, 2016

It’s muddy around here, what with warm temps and some snow melt.  I put aside my winter boots for my rubber ones and went walking at the Res.

I didn’t need more than a jean jacket and woolen shawl (I doubt the embroidery adds much to the warmth, but between the embroidery and the colors, I find this particular shawl energizing).

With the rubber boots on, I felt I could walk through anything I might encounter on my circuit around the Reservoir — puddles, mud, the sand on the beach.  And as I was walking through a muddy section of the path, I realized how much I liked what I was doing — no particular “reason” I liked it, I just was aware, when I bothered to reflect on it, that I was having a blast.

There was no idea in my head that I ought to like what I was doing, there was just the liking of it.  There was no detailed understanding of what might be the components that made it likable, there was just the liking of it.  There was no sense that this was a valuable thing to be experiencing, there was just the experience of it.  These things that weren’t part of it occurred to me afterwards, when I pulled myself out of the moment and reflected back on the enjoyment I had experienced and how it was only the enjoyment itself, without gloss.

Inarticulate enjoyment I realized is what I find absent in some people’s descriptions of what they find helpful or relevant for spiritual development.  I myself need to get to something beyond the words.  I don’t say that’s the only path, but I truly don’t understand how people get from words to conceptual understanding, or from words to those basic feelings that admit of no further analysis — those states that just are.

I guess I am suspicious of the words and the descriptions, that they become the focus instead of the actual experience.  But I really can’t know if people who are talking about this stuff are doing something necessary for themselves and their own development — who’s to say everybody should be focused on the same things?  But here’s what nags at me:  people who focus on the words, who are not able to focus at the level of inarticulate experience, I worry don’t have a full enough perspective to be telling people what they should be focused on;  I worry they have not been to the top of the mountain yet and so are describing the foothills from the beach as if they were high mountain peaks.

But, you know, part of me has become less concerned with whether others are interested in what I’m interested in.  I’d rather just walk through the mud.


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