Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Let the Conversatia begin!

The ever-fabulous Jen Lee linked to an amazing podcast with David Whyte yesterday that resonated really deeply. I encourage you to check it out if the following excerpt speaks to you the way it did me:

The old Latin root of that word is Conversatia and it really means a kind of “living with” or “in companionship with,” so you’re having a Conversatia with your spouse or your partner at home every day. There’s a “living with” whether it’s spoken out loud or not. There is an equal kind of conversation with silence, and with a particular way that you as an individual ask the question of life. You’ve got to find that contact point as an individual. Ask the question, “Where am I interested? Where, in a very short time, do I become passionate once I’ve opened up that initial interest? What do I have energy for? And will I have faith enough to actually spend enough time that I can open up that door into what to begin with is a new territory but eventually becomes my new home?“

One of the difficulties of this conversational identity is that you have to learn to live with the unknown in a way, just as you have to learn to live with another person or with other persons in human social existence. The interesting thing is that that unknown has a life of its own, but also in a kind of ancient, mystical Meister Eckhartian way, it is given life by the way that you actually pay attention to it.

One of the poems that I work with is called “Start Close In,” which is about finding this ground of your own. You know, start close in. Don’t take the second step or the third. Start with the first one, close in, the step you don’t want to take. Start with the ground that you know, the pale ground beneath your feet, your own way to begin the conversation. You’re learning how to find your own place, but you’re not doing it in the kind of “me” generation way so you can become the greatest “me” in the world. You’re doing it in order to find the ground of your own attentiveness to the rest of the world. So you’ve got to find the way that you naturally pay attention and the way you can naturally deepen that attention so that the world will come back to you.