Create with John Fanning podcast
25: Awareness, Sacredness and Distractions
When despair for the world grows in meand I wake in the night at the least soundin fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,I go and lie down where the wood drakerests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.I come into the peace of wild thingswho do not tax their lives with forethoughtof grief. I come into the presence of still water.And I feel above me the day-blind starswaiting with their light. For a timeI rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
That was a favorite poem of mine, “The Peace of Wild Things”, by the American poet, environmentalist and farmer Wendell Berry.
I’m John Fanning and this is the Create with John Fanning podcast.
How’s it goin out there. Hope all is well.
This is Episode 25 of my series of episodes on the Imagination, based around my book Create.
Last time I spoke about Process, Retreats and Dark Nights of the Soul, but today I want to talk about distractions, awareness and sacredness.
Philosophy used to be a way of life. Now, it’s something studied by experts so as to teach new experts. Aristotle, Plato, Heraclitus, Lucretius, all the ancient philosophers didn’t study philosophy, they practiced it. It was a way of living. Buddhists and philosophers of the East call it meditation or as the wonderful Thich That Hanh would put it being Mindful. For the most part we would maybe call it thinking about thinking over here in the West, allowing ourselves to lose our minds instead of being Mindful. We’re not so much out of ours minds but too distracted by the thoughts inside our heads instead of being aware of those thoughts, aware.
As with Blake, and Plato’s cave, when I talked about them in episode 16, Doors and the Cave, when I first talked about Doors, you open the door to a new reality, a new awareness when you start to question the system or systems, the Walls, you’ve been conditioned to think are real when you become aware they’re really distractions, not something personal and sacred, but shadowplay on the walls of a cave. We have to step out of the cave, out of what Blake called the cavern, to really see, to see the light, to become the perceiver in order to really create, much like Wendell Berry talks about in his poem I just read, into what he calls the “peace of wild things”.
But there’s another layer to this, to awareness. Awareness is when we ask the question: Can the perceiver be perceived? This is the furthest we can go as a creative human being, out of the cave, away from the binary, the opposites, the duality of this world, into awareness. The door which opens nearest to this reality is when we ask the question: Can the perceiver be perceived?
Everything we see in front of our eyeballs, all these sensory objects, everything, that’s us the Perceiver, perceive this world in front of us. And then, behind the eyes we perceive another reality, one of feelings, and thoughts, and memories. What Blake really meant was when we become aware of the other Eye with a capital E, or Eyes. Not this conscious state of eyes open, and eyes closed perception. Not the external and internal states. Instead the door to awareness is when we create an openness to whether the perceived is a something or a no – thing.
Is this awareness? It can’t be some kind of intellectual door,