Blackness is disruptive, appearing from beyond the sharply codified ‘civilized’ landscape, arising from the relational, the tribal, re-enacting the alchemy of kinship, the recovery of natural authority, the intuitive recapitulation of one’s source, a perpetual invitation to and reminder of the inherent precarity of life.
The pursuit of growth, the acquisition of more, being determined to grow the ‘success’ of one’s life, whether driven by a sense of inadequacy or realizing most of one’s life is now in the past, chasing certainties in ever more precarious ways, is to never grow old, to remain a prisoner of the cultural definition of success and failure.
Awareness of awareness is a blank canvas. It has no qualities. It neither facilitates nor impedes the activity of discursive mind: thinking, feeling or sensation. It does not catalogue; it has no preconceptions, agenda or even capacity to invent anything. It simply is.
A kolam may itself be an essay, non-linear and made with the intention of dissolution, but if so, it’s a different species of essay. It is an invocation that embodies history, the soul of a culture, the longing of an individual, the connection of a family, the collective imagery of a community seeing and seeking the divine in everything and externalizing the yearning to be reunited with it.
America is a land originally occupied by casualties, fugitives, dissidents, pirates and radical escapees of the European monarchical and religious order. And ever since, what’s been largely, either inadvertently or deliberately overlooked for three, maybe four hundred years is that the western definition of wilderness was always the property of the invader, the settler, the colonizer.
Just as external ecologies have been transformed, disrupted, or wiped out altogether, our internal ecologies have been tamed, altered and subjugated to conform to ideology (and the dominant narrative) rather than biology.
Those other lives–are they from the past or future?–hover about me, weaving themselves into my consciousness intermittently, reminding me of the true dimensions and the nonlinear nature of reality. At times they help me realize the choices I’ve made in this life are made of the same stuff as the roads not taken.
Fortunately, attention is not a commodity to be plundered like a vein of raw material. It’s a renewable resource whose value never diminishes. The domain of the inner commons is where precious resources may be buried but not tarnished.
But honestly, tell me you can look into the eyes of stranger or even someone you know intimately without having this experience. Maybe not all the time, but with rising frequency. What do you see? A desperate search for signposts or guidance or truth or any modicum of trust?
I have wandered off from the campfire. I’m roaming in the dark, placing myself at the mercy of beasts of the night, divorced from camaraderie, landmarks, scents, ancestors, teachers, children, the whirling firmament and the community of souls that brought me here.