“Language, be it remembered, is not an abstract construction of the learned, or of the dictionary-makers, but is something arising out of the work, needs, ties, joys, affections, tastes of long generations of humanity, and has its bases broad and low, close to the ground. Its final decisions are made by the masses, people nearest the concrete, having most to do with actual land and sea. It permeates us all, the past as well as the present, and is the grandest triumph of the human intellect.” – Walt Whitman
And I would be so bold as to note human intellect can be read as the ration. Ration being one of the great distracters as well as great investigators of our realm. We spend hours piling over descriptions and theories, ideas and proofs. These proofs we take apart and apply, test and analyze. These proofs of the world, our perception of it and all that is in it, are piled deep in our awareness of being. Hardly a moment goes by that we are not in some manner comparing our direct experiences to the constant pile of word-ideas which are catalogued in our grey matter and silicon structures.
In fact this action of wording the universe and placing descriptions upon it is one of the major piles, heaps, skandas of the Buddhist tradition and that piling in and of itself of these descriptions creates our world as separate and our personal experience as unique. These piles are the very piles which hold unwritten agreements about what and how the universe is assembled. And we will argue to the depths of the souls of our feet our descriptions in contrast to the actuality of energetic connection that true perception can provide.
It is for this reason that seers throughout history have concentrated deeply with silence and forced their inner eye upon the word constructs which create their world view. And more often than not, they have broken the boundaries of perception through no longer agreeing with the masses what or how something is described at all. They took flight escaping the trap of the baseline assumptions which our language makes and sought out other bands of awareness for the sheer joy and absolute wonder of this kind of travel. Often they returned to shift, tweak, push, change or edit the general perceptual framework their communities held. And with that they were at times, destroyed for the knowledge they shared… or that knowledge went on to destroy their fellows.
We have the opportunity as seers to see into the assumptions surrounding words, the history of ideas, and the limitations our descriptions create about the world in which we live. We have the ability to disagree and to create channels to other bands of awareness through the practice of stalking our way out of these assumed meanings and agreements. This is one of the most powerful things we have going for us as a practice. And in that practice we can return to that immediate and enduring sense of wonder that holds the world as a continually magical place.
It is our language that separates us from living in the world. It is our maps which distract us from the kind of seeing which is renewed in the moment. It is these heaps which we defend with voracity that has led to the destruction of our environment… we live out of balance because we live in a world of that our language supports but our direct experience does not.
It is no wonder that many of us are doubled. We have two minds, one with the assumptions and drama of language and descriptions and the other that sits quietly on the earth and knows. This split is the playground of the nagual. It is the place where the warrior begins the journey to deeper knowledge and awareness. It is the cliff upon which we stand ready to leap into the abyss. Is it no wonder that the warriors willing to leap are labeled insane? For everything that constructs the tonal vibration of our world view denies any other perception that would label us so.
Yet there is a path. There is a way. And there are those who have pointed to the crack in the wall of fog. We cannot, if we are to remain true to those masters, build a foundation of worship and fixation upon their decaying journeys. We must always re-invigorate the path with our own stewardship and vision of the way. To elevate even one perceptual framework, justification or explanation is to fall prey to the very predator we are attempting to reject.
Those that are artful with the word, know, beyond a shadow of a doubt that every phrase and idea is ephemeral subject to modification and change. To truly know, these authors of vocabularies work words like paint on the pallet mixing them in new and interesting shades and colors to force a shift of perception. To crack the shell of our controlled and predictable existence in favor of a wonder that shines through the glow of patinas. They force us to stop skimming and invite us into the depths of really looking, really seeing things as they are.
So let us remember to be fluid and open to and with words and not get caught in the net. Let us be aware that the greatest invention of the human intellect could very well be the greatest trap. And let us be conscious all the time that the map is not the territory.