“Wisdom is not a product of thought. The deep knowing that is wisdom arises through the simple act of giving someone or something your full attention. Attention is primordial intelligence, consciousness itself. It dissolves the barriers created by conceptual thought, and with this comes the recognition that nothing exists in and by itself. It joins the perceiver and the perceived in a unifying field of awareness. It is the healer of separation.”
(Eckhart Tolle, from his book Stillness Speaks, a collection of short extracts from his two full-length books; I don’t know which one it is taken from.)
“I perceive something. I am sensible of something. I imagine something. I will something. I feel something. I think something. The life of human beings does not consist of all this and the like alone.
This and the like together establish the realm of It.
But the realm of Thou has a different basis.
Where Thou is spoken the speaker has no thing for his object. For where there is a thing there is another thing. Every It is bounded by others; It exists only through being bounded by others. But when Thou is spoken there is no thing. Thou has no bounds.
When Thou is spoken, the speaker has no thing; he has indeed nothing.
But he takes his stand in relation.”
(Martin Buber, I and Thou)
“Perceiving includes our ideas or concepts about reality. When you look at a pencil, you perceive it, but the pencil in reality may be different from the pencil in your mind. If you look at me, the me in myself may be different from the me you perceive. In order to have a correct perception, we need to have a direct encounter . . .
. . . Suppose, while walking in the twilight, you see a snake, and you scream, but when you shine your flashlight on it, it turns out to be a rope. This is an error of perception. During our daily lives we have many misperceptions. If I don’t understand you, I may be angry at you all the time. We are not capable of understanding each other, and that is the main source of human suffering.”
(Thich Nhat Hanh, Being Peace)
I have two tasks this week. One is persevering with editing someone’s very long first novel. It is a delight to read, captivating to the imagination, but has much to correct. The second task is returning again to practicing gentleness, paying attention, orientating to Thou instead of It. Direct encounter. Ha! Good luck, Ember aka Pen!
Footnote. I think Ember Aka Pen is a truly exotic name. The sort of person whose cat would be called Tiglath Pileser the Third.