Thursday 15 May 2014

Hominidic Awareness

"I see people."

I'm not talking about the phrase from Sixth Sense, "I see dead people".  I won't confirm or deny that statement.  I'm talking living people here.

"I see people."  Do you?

Likely your answer is, of course I do.  Unless you're living as a hermit, or working a night shift alone, of course.

"Of course I do."  Do you?

Do you really see people, or do you just notice they are there?  Do you even always notice they are there, or do you only notice some people, with others blending into the background of humanity, human habitat, and wild places?

"I see people."  Do you?

If you live in a city, a large town, or even some small towns, or ever visit this places, you have likely passed someone standing on a corner with a cardboard sign with something written on it.  Think back to the last such person you passed.  What did their sign say?  Do you remember?  Were they obviously male?  Obviously female?  Of indeterminate gender just looking without talking to them?  Did you notice?  Do you remember?  How were they dressed?  Do you remember?  What did they look like?  Do you remember?  Did you notice their eyes?  What colour were they?  Did they smile at you or frown?  Or even notice you?  Did you see them?  Did they see you?

"I see people."  Do you?

Have you ever been that person with a sign on the corner?  If you have, are often still are, what do you notice about those who pass by?  Who meets your eyes and who looks away?  Who seems happy and who seems sad?  Could you recall someone that had passed by and giving you something ten minutes before?  Someone who didn't give you anything?  Those who took notice of you?  Those who didn't?

"I see people."  Do you?

Do you drive a lot?  If you do, do you notice the people in the cars around you?  People walking or riding a bike along the road?  A minute later, can you count how many people walking or riding their bike you passed?  What they were wearing?  If they looked happy or sad?  If their heads were down or they were looking forward without noticing anything to the sides or if they were taking in everything around them?  Do you notice the driver beside you as stop lights?  A minute later, do you recall what they looked like?  What they were wearing?  If they looked happy or sad?  Did you even notice any of these people?  Did they notice you?

"I see people."  Do you?

Do you walk a lot?  If you do, do you notice the people around you, not just other walkers but the people in the cars passing or stopped?  A minute later, could you recognize them if they were no longer in their car?  Or even if they are?  Do you notice if they are happy or sad?  What they are wearing?  What they look like?  How about the same for walkers you pass going the opposite direction?  Or the same direction, or passing you going the same direction?  What do you notice about them?  Anything?  Everything?  What can you recall a minute later?

"I see people."  Do you?

Do you work in an office building?  In an office position or a service position?

If you work in an office position, meaning the building is what you work in, not your job itself, do you notice those who keep the building clean, who restock things, who work in the cafeteria or coffee shop or gym or as security if you have this things?  Do you hold doors open for them?  Thank them?  Say good morning or good afternoon?  Or do they blend into the background for you to the point you only notice them when something goes wrong?  Can you count from memory how many people serve these roles where you work?  Or how many you see in a day?  Do you know any of them by name?  Do they know yours?

If you work in a service job like the ones described above, do you notice those that just use the building or facilities but aren't the ones who care for them?  Or do they blend in as obstacles to your job?  Do you talk to them?  Do you know their names?  Do they know yours?

"I see people."  Do you?

All people who live and work and play where you do are part of the place you live in, your home, your Land.  Every one of them are a part of that whole, as much as the animals and plants and rocks and streams are.  You share habitat with them, as readily as a vole might share habitat with a rabbit, or with another vole.  Being aware of where you live isn't just about noticing the non-human aspects but the humans as well.  With awareness comes consciousness, with consciousness comes caring, with caring comes community.  And community is an important and needed things for humans, who are inherently social, even if the degree of need and tolerance vary.

"I see people."  Do you?  Do you notice those around you?  Do you interact with them?  It is important to develop hominidic awareness, not just awareness of the non-human portions of your environment.  Start paying attention to those around you and build your awareness today, and see how that changes how you live.

~Muninn's Kiss

Thursday 8 May 2014

Approaching the Land

We live in a world, among people and animals and plants and streams and rocks and all manner of things.  So we know where we live, right?  We have a working knowledge of the place we live?  You would think so, but this is far from a certainty.  How we approach it, or don't, determines both out experience of it and our knowledge of it.  What do you truly know about the world around you?  How do you approach the world around you?  How do you approach the Land?

I would postulate that there are three main ways people approach the world around them.  These might be a bit oversimplification, or they might adequately describe the human approach.  My observation shows them to be fairly encompassing.

1) To Let the World Happen to You

In my observation, this is the most common.  It is an approach of not approaching.  Most people don't approach the world, they let the world approach them.  They go through life just trying to go through life, and learn of the world by how it collides with them, often in cross purposes to how they are trying to go through life.  Their experience of the world is that of opposition, that which is trying to stop them, delay them, irritate them, upset them.  As such, the world outside their skin becomes the enemy, something to fight against, the strive against.  Whole religious doctrines have been built off this view of the world, and are a result of choosing not to approach the world, to let the world happen to you.

2) To Seek What is Known to You

This approach is a very academic approach. You start with what you know, what you've learned, what you believe, what you think is true.  Your truth.  You take that idea, and look for the proof in the world around you.  If you find it not to be true, find proof that it isn't true, or don't find it where you expect to, you refine your idea, research a new idea, or come up with a new truth.  Rinse and repeat.  This is an abstract and symbolic way of approaching the world, because you start with something abstract or symbolic, something you believe to be Truth but don't have the experience yet to apply, then test it and find what it looks like, or doesn't look like, in the world around you.  Much of the application of scientific method uses this approach, where the theory starts in the abstract and in equations or calculations, and is then tested to see if it is true.  A lot of market research also takes this approach.

Unlike the first approach, this approach sees the world as a test bed, not as an enemy.  The world becomes that which will aid me in refining my Truth, distilling it down to its essence.  Truth becomes the driving force, and both that within my skin and without becomes the tools to obtain it.

3) To Observe the World and Find What It Teaches

The third approach is to assume nothing.  Presume you don't know anything and go out to see what the world will show you and tell you.  This doesn't mean dismissing what you know or not taking it into account, but observing the world and using it to understand what you already know.  Instead of, I know the he East means this, so what does that tell me about it, this approach is to say, if I knew nothing about the East, and I look to it and think about it and observe what is there, what would I see, and what would that tell me about what I already know or think I know?  Instead of, this is a green ash and I know these things about ash trees so how does that apply to what I'm seeing, this approach is to say, I know this is an ash, but if I did not and if I knew nothing about it, what would I see before me now, what would I learn, then, what does that say and show me about what I already knew?

In this approach, the world isn't the enemy nor the test bed, it's the teacher, showing us what is truly there.  Our Truth is refined and distilled as a byproduct rather than the goal, the goal it to know the world, the Land, around us, to understand our place in it, and to learn what it would teach whether that is relevant to what we already knew or thought we knew or isn't.

You can likely tell from my wording my thoughts on each approach, but I want to be clear, none of them are bad.  We each approach the world the way we know and can, though if aware of how we do, we have the option of changing it.  These three approaches are all acceptable approaches, and the results aren't necessarily better or worse than each other, just different.  It depends a lot where you want to go in life and what you are comfortable with.

That said, the third approach is the one I tend to recommend, the one I encourage when asked, and the one I try to take for myself.  The results of it are the results I want in my life and in the world around me, and results I'm biased for when encouraging others.

What is your heart, where do you want to go, what do you want out of life, the world, the Land?

~Muninn's Kiss

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