Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Call Of The Familiar.

pair of timber wolves, Anglican Wolf Society,wolves

It's funny how the familiar, no matter what it is, calls me to come back and play for a while. I say no matter what it is because the familiar can be healthy or unhealthy, good or bad, create joy or sadness. The familiar has no guidelines or rules it must adhere to. It is only interested in its own repetition, and in that, it is quite persistent. One can analysis themselves till they're blue in the face and it will not necessarily stop the familiar from calling you right back into the corner you KNEW you'd never go again. It seems the familiar is at the foundation of what it means to be 'something.' I mean, obviously, right? If you are 'somebody,' there must be a sense of familiarity surrounding you. Your actions, outlook, emotions, thoughts, perspective, habits, etc. must all exist within the realm of familiarity in order to enable you refer to them as myself, or at least under my control and will. And yet, therein lies the trouble. Therein lies the fact we try to do away with, all the while clinging to what's familiar. We want to do away with certain familiar ways, thoughts, and experiences, to name a few common manifestations, and yet hold onto others.

This brings us to the phenomena I spoke of in the Christopher Hitchens piece a few days ago. It's as if I belief I can figuratively lay all that's familiar out in front of me and separate what I like, and would like to keep, from what I don't like, and would not like to keep. We seem to belief we possess a number of independent 'objects' that we are free to do with what we want. As if, for instance, sadness was an object that I could do away with because I no longer 'like' feeling that way. This would, of course, imply that I'm always acting from an independent source myself, for if I weren't independent I could be unknowingly influenced, by any number of circumstances, into feeling sad before I'm able to recognize that I don't want to feel sad. So the real question is, am I an acting, independent agent, or a reactive sense of familiarity?

The beauty of a solid question is beyond measure. A solid question, one that does not imply an answer, is such a gift because it has its own movement. If it is not arrested, by my own interference in any way, a solid question will take me on a journey without the need for me to find an answer at the end. The question itself holds the power of sustained inquiry. For me, this morning, this question is one of those questions. 'Am I an acting, independent agent, or a reactive sense of familiarity?' Now remember, I cannot answer this question because it is concerning the very nature of me. Whatever I offer up as an answer could be painfully inaccurate or a downright self-serving lie. Therefore, I am incapable of answering such a question and so the question is left alone to find its own resolution. I am only observing, not directing, where the question wants to go. And, if allowed, the question itself takes this observation into an expanse of freedom beyond the call of the familiar.