Raw, Elemental Awe

That’s what I want!

 

“This life I have made is too small. It doesn’t allow enough in: enough ideas, enough beliefs, enough encounters with the exuberant magic of existence.

I have been so keen to deny it, to veer deliberately towards the rational, to cling solely to the experiences that are directly observable by others. Only now, when everything is taken away, can I see what a folly this is. I don’t want that life anymore.

I want what [the] ancients had: to be able to talk to god. Not in a personal sense, to a distant figure who is unfathomably wise, but to have a direct encounter with the flow of things, a communication without words.

I want to let something break in me, some dam that has been shoring up this shamefully atavistic sense of the magic behind all things, the tingle of intelligence that was always waiting for me when I came to tap in.

I want to feel that raw, elemental awe that my ancestors felt, rather than my tame, explained modern version. I want to prise open the confines of my skull and let in a flood of light and air and mystery…

I want to retain what the quiet reveals, the small voices whose whispers can be heard only when everything falls silent.

When I walk, I fall through three layers of experience. The first is all about the surface of my skin, the immediate feedback of my senses. It is often twitchy and uncomfortable: my boots are too tight; there’s a twig in my sock. My backpack won’t sit square on my shoulders.

My walking is stop-start in that phase, curtailed by an endless series of adjustments. I am never sure if I really want to go the distance. But if I walk on through that, those sensations eventually fade and they’re replaced by bubbling thought, a burgeoning of ideas and insights, a sense of joyous chatter in the mind.

This is the point in a walk when the interior of my mind feels luxuriant, a place so pleasurable to inhabit that I never want my legs to stop. It’s a creative space, a place where problems are solved in unfathomable ways, the answers arriving like truths known all along.

Our sense of enchantment is not triggered only by grand things; the sublime is not hiding in distant landscapes.

The awe-inspiring, the numinous, is all around us, all the time. It is transformed by our deliberate attention.

It becomes valuable when we value it. It becomes meaningful when we invest it with meaning.

The magic is of our own conjuring.”

~ Katherine May, Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times

I LOVE this book!