We live in a lush and alive world, surrounded by conscious beings. Our movement and sounds, our everyday language, are part of this ongoing dance. As we begin to consciously participate, our loneliness and isolation disappears. We can begin to attend to our surroundings by focusing our attention and entering into the conversation.
David Abram describes some of the many conversations: “To our indigenous ancestors, and to the many aboriginal peoples who still hold fast to their oral traditions, language is less a human possession than it is a property of the animate earth itself, an expressive, telluric power in which we, along with the coyotes and the crickets, all participate. Each creature enacts this expressive magic in its own manner, the honeybee with its waggle dance no less than a bellicose, harrumphing sea lion.”
David continues: “Nor is this power restricted solely to animals. The whispered hush of the uncut grasses at dawn, the plaintive moan of trunks rubbing against one another in the deep woods, or the laughter of birch leaves as the wind gusts through their branches all bear a thicket of many-layered meanings for those who listen carefully. In the Pacific Northwest I met a man who had schooled himself in the speech of needled evergreens; on a breezy day you could drive him, blindfolded, to any patch of coastal forest and place him, still blind, beneath a particular tree — after a few moments he would tell you, by listening, just what species of pine or spruce or fir stood above him (whether he stood beneath a Douglas fir or a grand fir, a Sitka spruce or a western red cedar). His ears were attuned, he said, to the different dialects of the trees.”
― David Abram, Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology
How do we begin to listen to the world around us? We begin in stillness, just sitting quietly or walking in silence, initially feeling our inner world, allowing our mind to rest quietly. Through the sensitivity of a quiet mind we can begin to feel the murmurings around us, the subtle languages of the others. The earth beckons us to participate with her.
Have you been listening? Share with me what you have learned. We learn from each other in this participatory dance.