this moment

there is no word to describe this moment —

it is not silent or quiet, because while there are no words being spoken or thought, there is yet sound

it is not still, because there is movement, though without plan, direction or purpose

it is not peaceful, because it is not about the absence of anything that is not calm or serene

it is not presence, because it is not about witnessing something apart from a witnesser

this moment arises, or appears to do so, before and outside of language, and is recognized (though by no one) before thought or concept or naming attempts to make sense of it, and is independent of sense-making

Heidegger speaks of young humans being “thrown into a clearing in an inherited world” of language and culture in which they then self-orient; this moment is outside of that world — it has no need for that world, its conceptions and conceits, or for meaning at all

it is not even beingness, that awkward new-agey attempt to eff the ineffable, so hopelessly attached to the being that it is ness-ing; it has no need for beings to see it —
trees falling in the forest be damned

it has these apparent qualities — (apologies for the ‘-ness’s) — timelessness, obviousness, resonance, wondrousness, unexpectedness, effortlessness, unconditionalness, intensity, lightness (but by no means an ‘unbearable’ lightness); though it has these qualities not in these words’ dictionary sense but more metaphorically, and I could not presume to explain how

a poem full of descriptions of wild creatures and wild places, were I able to write one even half-competently, would probably convey this moment much better than a list of qualities or assertions about what it is not

so instead I will suggest a phrase for it, a phrase that attempts to capture the essence of this moment that cannot be described with English words: llon nur tiu cxi

llon- is a word root from the Celtic that dates back to ancient times when the words and ideas for ‘stillness’ and ‘joyfulness’ were, perhaps tellingly, the same (in Welsh llon means joyful and llonydd means stillness); this might be what the ‘peace that surpasseth understanding’ was getting at

and nur tiu cxi is Esperanto for ‘only this’, a pointer perhaps to that which is nothing and everything, beyond duality

although the Welsh ll is a challenge for English speakers, pronouncing the entire expression as ‘hlon-noor-tioo-chee’ is good enough and has a nice lilt to it

so, llon nur tiu cxi — ‘this calm and joyful moment that is all that is’

may’t find you

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4 Responses to this moment

  1. Don Stewart says:

    Dave
    You might, or might not, be interested in Lisa Barrett’s new book How Emotions Are Made. Barrett explores in detail why our intuitive idea that emotions just happen to us is so strong, and also why it is wrong. Robert Sapolsky contributes this blurb:
    ‘We all harbor an intuition about emotions: that the way we experience joy, fear, or anger happens automatically and is pretty much the same in a Kalahari hunter-gatherer. In this excellent new book, Lisa Barrett draws on contemporary research to offer a radically different picture: that the experience of emotion is highly individualized, neurobiologically idiosyncratic, and inseparable from cognition. This is a provocative, accessible, important book.’

    One of Barrett’s arguments is that the more finely grained our perception of emotions and the more finely grained our language about them, the more useful they are to us and our society. To the extent that you are trying to get away from language, or get beyond emotions, then you probably won’t welcome what she has to say. To the extent that you might have plans to improve society by introducing more subtlety of language and feeling, then you might want to take a look.

    Don Stewart

  2. Dave Pollard says:

    Thanks Don. It makes sense to me that the connection between intellect and emotion is stronger than we might think, and that both are highly individual. We are in a real sense utterly alone. But I continue to believe the non-dualist message that our entire sense of being separate and individual, while utterly sensible from an evolutionary point of view, is ultimately illusory. That’s not about getting away from or beyond language and emotion, it’s just accepting them for what they are.

    And I have, most will be relieved to know, no ambitions to improve society ;-)

  3. Don Stewart says:

    Dave
    I will leave you with one quote from Barrett, page 153:
    ‘In the theory of constructed emotion, however, the dividing line between brain and world is permeable, perhaps nonexistent’.

    While Barrett starts from a different place than Dan Siegel, both would be pretty comfortable with that statement.

    I would just urge you not to confuse science with dualism.

    Don Stewart

  4. Don Stewart says:

    One more statement by Barrett, page 154:
    ‘It takes more than one brain to create a mind.’

    Which is strongly related to Dan Siegel’s ‘Wheel of Awareness’ exercises. Which is related to a Buddhist laughing when a student wants to debate dualism.

    Don Stewart

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