RCR – Waking Up


Heraclitus says that man does not see or hear, although he thinks he does – a common motif of many who might be said to have been part of the ‘quiet’ tradition in the West. What is this ‘quiet’ tradition? Here, for brevities sake, let us call it that which is not the ‘dominant’ tradition begun by Plato.
In the silence of this ‘quiet’ tradition nothing is said, and repeatedly so. Yet, as Heraclitus indicates in his obscure words, what always seems to happen is that this nothing is not heard as nothing but as something; Being! The history of the West has been nothing if not the history of the meaning of Being.
We all now know everything there is to know about beings, science has given us the royal road to knowledge, with which we now manipulate the world. However, until the present moment we have never stopped to wonder whether this knowledge of beings was really any knowledge at all. But with the growing ecological crisis that our manipulation of the world has wrought, perhaps we should listen once again to the words of the ‘dark one’ and ask if we do really hear and see the world? For, as that eminently sensible frenchman, Michel de Montaigne, suggested five centuries ago, however tightly we seek to grasp what it is we mean by Being, it slips from our grasp like water through our fingers.
If we let go our grasp of knowledge, if we let go of the facts that we have made of the world, then perhaps we will begin to hear and to see as if we had finally woken up. Heraclitus says, “For those who are awake there is one, shared world, but that each sleeper turns aside into a private world.”
The NFZC at Chapel Peak is for those who would awake.



About Jamie Nicol

Living in the forested hills of Catalonia, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Zen teacher, recovering philosopher, small-scale natural farmer. Writing just what comes.
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