Saturday, November 24, 2012

We must affirm that the world is a being, a part of our own body


Walking through the woods at Wagon Wheel Farm in Durham with the brilliant morning sun streaming over our shoulders, we stumbled unexpectedly upon this otherworldly, shimmering mirror in the deep channel of a fresh water creek, interpenetrating with the salt water of Great Bay estuary. We arrived and I took this photograph at that magic moment at the apex of low tide when it feels like the whole world has stopped, as if in prayer. Unlike many of my images in my blog which have been manipulated in Photoshop, this photograph is straight out of the camera, except for increasing the contrast.

Our experience resonates with what Joan Halifax writes, along with quotes by others, in her book I am reading, The Fruitful Darkness: A Journey Through Buddhist Practice and Tribal Wisdom:

“According to Paul Shepard, ‘Ecological thinking ... requires a kind of vision across boundaries. The epidermis of the skin is ecologically like a pond surface or a forest soil, not a shell so much as delicate interpenetration... we must affirm that the world is a being, a part of our own body.’

We are discovering that we are already in what the phenomenologist Maurice Merleau-Ponty has called the Collective Flesh, the world itself as an intelligent body. Earth now is revealed as a vast being who is the ground of our perceiving, dreaming, and thinking.” (Kindle Location 1449-1454). Kindle Edition.)
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