From a new habits, to radio, to song lyrics, and meditation. Let’s get metaphysical for a moment, shall we? It’ll be fun, I promise.
This posting SOMETHING everyday thing…well…it’s getting harder, especially now that I’m reading something far less quotable like Trotsky’s History of the Russian Revolution. But we’re looking down the barrel of day THIRTY, my dear reader and that feels decent, like a good habit is being formed. This morning I read for an hour and immediately picked up my laptop to make some notes.
I had no idea what I’d write about today but as I sat with my blank document, I remembered that I heard an interesting song on JACKFM on Sunday morning that I made a note of to share with…someone.
As you are probably aware, or maybe not, I’m more of a fan of podcasts than music while I’m driving, but Sunday morning, on my way to hiking with my son, I just wasn’t in the mood to listen to any of my regular shows. I really do need some new talk radio, so if you have a favorite podcast, please throw it my way.
I did something crazy and just listened to the radio; first the local country station, then JACKFM, which will get me pretty far south before I lose the signal and have to switch to an “oldies” station. By the way, when I was a kid, “oldies radio” meant The Big Bopper, Elvis, and Buddy Holly. Now I stop on a station labeled “olidies” and hear The Eagles, Boston, and Heart. Something is terribly wrong.
So, there I am, cruising down the freeway, when a song comes on that I haven’t heard. I jot down a lyric line to remember to look it up later, because I’d like to add this to my Spotify list. That action dates me. This is what used to do before we could just hit “favorite” on our music streamer.
“Y’all can see me now ’cause you don’t see with your eye
You perceive with your mind”
It’s from a song called “Clint Eastwood” by Gorillaz. Catchy song. Pretty weird. No idea what it’s supposed to be about, but that line grabbed me. It felt profound. I told my son about it while we were hiking and then we tried to “see with our eyes” alone, and not “perceive with your mind.”
It’s almost impossible.
Every time I look around me and attempt to describe something, I’m perceiving, not seeing. “That rock…” Is it a rock? I’ve named it from a previously conceived notion. “That rock is gray.” Or is it brown or black? Is my perception of gray the same as yours?
How about, “This trial is steep?” Still a perception. The people coming down the trail before us said that it was a rough climb toward the end. It didn’t seem that rough to us. We were far younger than them. Yes, that feels good to say “at my age,” and I’ll keep saying it as long as I can.
Anytime we give something a name, title, or description, we’re perceiving with our mind. We are taking our previous life experience and using language to put that something in a place. It’s natural. It’s how we communicate.
But it can go terribly wrong if we don’t question our perception of things, especially when we’re classifying people or feelings. What feels tragic, dangerous, or otherwise troublesome to one person, isn’t necessarily the same to another. What I consider constructive criticism, you might feel is unnecessary roughness. What I see as hideous, you might think gorgeous.
I’m trying to imagine a scenario where you wouldn’t perceive with your mind. I’m thinking a moment of meditation would be a likely place. You’re sitting on a hill, in a grassy field, or your living room floor, just being. Looking out the window of the car as the world zooms by. Sitting in a camp chair staring into the flames of a firepit. Watching the waves roll in on the beach. You’re just there, a part of the ecosystem, in the moment. Not happy, not sad. Not planning. Just there, seeing with your eyes.
Sounds like a peaceful meditation. I think I’ll try to do that more often.