I am currently sitting in the quiet of the house just waiting for my mind and emotions to come to rest. The last three days have been chaotic, a little uncertain and tiring. I have travelled half way around the world to be home with a certain amount of uncertainty over actually achieving the feat. The airline I travelled on is currently shutting down so, when I decided to curtail my travels it appears a wise decision was made. You never know do you.
The journey home was accompanied by uncertainty with reports of empty stores and a country in chaos having reached me before I even departed. Believe me the mind needs a rest, needs grounding, needs peace after moments like these. My body has been ready to rest long before my mind will consider it. It’s been playing catch up. Now its 3.00am and here I am writing you a letter. My sleep pattern certainly hasn’t come home yet!
I think I often turn a blind eye to things in people I don’t like. Conflict really isn’t my cup of tea. I would have to confess to walking the long way around at times just to preserve a little peace. But the last few days have not allowed the option of over extended journeys to maintain inner peace. No, it was one headlong rush with me finding myself surrounded by things I would usually choose not to endure. The poor things found in human behaviour. Selfishness, rudeness, ignorance. These are not qualities that have any place in the world that I would strive to create.
Let me back track several days before my homeward flight. There were a series of mornings when I sat on a beach, a beautiful beach stretching for some two miles. I spent hours walking, standing, looking out to sea, listening to the roaring of the waves, turing pebbles and stones. I didn’t see another soul. Deer came onto the beach and I stood still as if I was a very part of it my thoughts eventually finding a place where they wonder if this is what it is like in Eden?
Look deep into nature,
and then you will understand everything better.
There is pleasure on the pathless woods,
there is rapture on the lonely shore,
there is society where none intrudes,
by the deep sea and music in it’s roar.
I love not Man the less, but Nature more..Lord Byron.
Then, on my last morning I sat and watched as dawn slowly, meditatively walked the beach and I wondered if the slow, creeping progress was due to it’s need to also turn shells and listen to waves that were gleefully enjoying a life all too quickly spent. Poured out in a moment as they crashed onto the sand, shouting, filled with the relief of realised potential. How could dawn not take time to add delight and wonder?
I felt like this was the Dawn of the World when everything, fresh and new, is filled with the promise of achievement.
And whilst I have over indulged in the joy of the waves I have found time to read Taoism. Pogue, you know my spiritual curiosity takes me to places far flung, even when I just sit still. I’ve skated over Taoism before and it has found a resonance within my spirit. It sits perfectly with the crashing waves. I know what you’re thinking: “He’s travelling, why has he taken a dusty, religious tomb with him?”. But I haven’t, rather preferring the entertainment of The Tao of Pooh, our dear friend Winnie actually having found his way onto university reading lists.
Now Taoism teaches of a time when man lived in absolute harmony with the natural world. Every person was a Dr Dolittle, talking with the animals. The Dawn of the World?
Not unlike the account in Genesis when man walked in harmony with the natural world and God? And in both these, and many other texts, man ruptures the relationship and finds himself outside paradise. The Great Separation begins and the longer it goes on the deeper man sinks into a mire of behaviours that I have already touched upon and worse.
Which all brings me back to my home coming. I’ve seen behaviours that speak fluently of The Great Separation but I would not be true if I did not say I have also seen the best of behaviours. Amongst the turmoil and chaos that currently exists goodness, sacrifice, care and kindness have risen. Little stars of hope maybe? A message and encouragement to us all if we will but recognise them and a reminder that we actually do not have to live as separate from all that is good in and without the world. That the Separation does not have to be permanent and there is a way back, or better still, a way, a better way, forward.
A kind of light spread out from her. And everything changed colour. And the world opened out. And a day was good to awaken to. And there was no limits to anything. And the people of the world were good and handsome. And I was not afraid anymore.John Steinbeck, East of Eden.
I am reading posts that suggest we will come out of the current situation changed people. I’ve talked to people who say when things return to normality we should live differently. As one blogger has written: “I wonder how it will change us, for the ill, and for the good.” Maybe we’ll reflect on the transience of life, on our poor and our good behaviours. Maybe we’ll find it in ourselves to hope, to search for something better. Maybe we’ll start to believe the world did have a Dawn.
Yours, in self isolation,