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Dialogue by Kit No Comments »

My Dear Kat,

I just read through the posts that we picked out for review, and I am blown away by them!  I love what we wrote.  Two things stand out for me: firstly, how clearly we grasped and understood the elements of our relationship, and secondly, how clearly and cogently we expressed them.

This leaves me with somewhat of a mystery — how come we’ve had the feeling for the last 18 months  that we’ve been finding words and refining concepts?  Is that a variant of “better all the time”, or is it that we didn’t trust what we knew and how we were saying it?

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The Present

Dialogue by Kit No Comments »

Dear Kat,

We talk about presence and the present a lot, but it’s a hard subject to pin down.  I see it as an alternate, more basic way to view the world.  Life has learned not only to react to the environment, but to remember the events so that it can react appropriately, and to predict events also.  In other words, our model of the world contains a past and a future.  Furthermore, we have invented language, wherein words are a stand-in for one or a bundle of experiences, and can also incorporate other words, leading to a very efficient way of storing information.

All this has been such a successful strategy that our attention routinely roams around the brain areas that manage the past and the future, interspersed with checking on linguistic summaries of the present.  As a result, to experience the world in anything but verbal terms is very hard, but I want to point out some of its attributes.

FlowersIt’s unspeakable, by definition.  It cannot be captured in words.  It is like a reflection in a pool; if you reach out to grasp it, the ripples of words only hide the reflection.  It is a hard discipline to leave it be.

It is primary.  Our entire verbal and intellectual edifice is derived from this.  It cannot be dismissed as of no consequence just because it has no place in our mental model of the world.

It has a timeless quality.  The sense of time does not vanish completely (though it can be severely distorted by the flood of sensations), but our view of time is a construct of the mind, and it is as if I simultaneously experience two facets of reality: the flux of change (for time is change, nothing more or less) and and an eternal, unchanging element.  It’s not eternal in the sense of lasting forever, but in the sense of being outside of time.

It’s constantly new.  This moment has never been before.

All that is preamble to talking about how we are together.  We both choose to focus our attention on the present, whether it be the scenery while driving or the press of flesh on flesh, and we react in concert to an uncanny degree, far more than if it were viewed in the light of our past or our expectations.  It is as if we are drinking from the same fountain, tasting the same wine.

To phrase it differently, our relationship consists of what is happening, not what did happen or what might happen.  So many complications and misunderstandings are avoided by this.  I thank you again and again.

As a postscript, I want to say that I am not advocating the hedonism of the grasshopper over the hard work of the ant, but I am saying that the rich fields of the present nourish and sustain the whole of our lives.

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Dialogue by Kit No Comments »

My Dear Kat,

I struggled to post tonight.  I didn’t want to just reiterate what we have been saying about agreement and balance because I felt the words would not differ enough to be useful.

This led me to thinking about language, and so I finally pulled out the metaphors we have used in this blog.

Imagine being barefoot in a room with thumb-tacks on the floor.  Even a few will inhibit your ability to dance, but once you find the room to be free of them, no limits apply.

Riding a bicycle
But how we do this is hard to pin down.  Maybe it’s like riding a bicycle.  At first, you fall over all the time; later, staying balanced becomes second nature.

The present is the path
And yet “do” is almost the wrong term, because there is no sense of effort; things happen effortlessly, again and again and again.  It is as if there is a path through life called the present that is clear and easy to walk.  To left and right, the past and the future have barbs, snares, pits of tar, that make progress so much more difficult.

On a leash
A partner who is only ninety-something percent accepting gives the feeling of being on a leash; you can run free most places, but at some point, a violent tug will occur, so the response is to run cautiously, or not at all.  But at 100%, a transforming quality occurs.

Riding in tandem
Many years ago I had the opportunity to ride rear-seat on a tandem.  I was used to steering on a bike, and I jerked the handlebars so fiercely that the forward rider could not keep the machine in balance.  Neither of us are doing that now.

Books and pages
…a book with pages; we think we are individual pages, but we are connected together in ways that are not seen by inspecting an individual page.

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Dialogue by Kit No Comments »

Dear Kat,

Love the words that you wrote.

I finished the Deepak Chopra book today.  Two things stand out from it: firstly, how parts of it fitted perfectly with our experience of the world (I use that in Wittgenstein’s “The world is all that is the case” sense), but secondly, there were parts where the language he used did not work for me.

I know it is hard to pick words for transcendent experiences precisely because they are so different from our every-day world.  Pointing and saying “Tree” worked with Man Friday, but we have a subtler message to convey.  One of the things I enjoy about this work with you is that we aren’t developing a private language, but are making a great effort in seeking words that will resonate for others.

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