07 June, 2013

A little pebble on a big beach

Down on the beach, I pick up a pebble, marvelling at its form. I see this thing in my hand for what it is, not interpreted through the eyes of a scientist or poet, though this would make for sweeter forms. It is just a pebble.

In this dimension, the pebble has form, but in other dimensions, it had no form, only energy, or potential or a signature of something else equally indescribable. I do not ask why it is here, or its nascent destiny besides the water's edge. Some things just surfeit a need to place them in any place or time. To look at things this way requires good eyes, eyes that have learned to see things for what they are, knowing that the eye cannot betray its sense.

The ears and skin and nose can conceive the pebble differently, and these extrasensory perceptions of the pebble are critical for survival of the viewer, not the pebble. Different viewers perceive the pebble in a multitude of ways, but I have my own unique interpretation of this pebble. In a sense, it is my pebble, because of my perspective. No two people see the pebble the same way, but we agree to share our common sensory interpretations that label this object a pebble. And no doubt, the pebble has its own perception of reality far removed from a human's viewpoint. But I won't digress into that rabbit hole.

Every pebble I see, though each unique in shape, color, texture and density, are still labelled within the collective of the pebble. There are black ones, red ones, yellow ones, white ones, pebbles that are hard, or soft, sharp edged or smooth, others translucent and even luminescent, but still they are pebbles.

If I crush the pebble, it dies, becoming  something else akin to grains of sand and thus takes on a new label, made of the same stuff, but with a different form. If I melt it, it becomes even something far more different, almost alien to its original form. Where then does the pebble start and the other things it was (perhaps a large rock) or will be (grains of sand) , begin. Does the pebble have a beginning in a large stone and end as a grain of sand? If it has a beginning as something bigger, and an ending as a tiny grain of sand, when does the pebble really exist? Does it have a label as such only between the two extremes, or does the bigger and larger forms also constitute the same essence of pebbles?

The truth lies not in questions and answers, but in our perception of the thing. Ultimately, our analysis may lead us to an understanding of form and formlessness. Consciousness has this skill. But the perception of a thing is very different from the conception of a thing. Perhaps the only permanent way of viewing anything is to see things as always being conceived within change, the eternal flux of moving from one form to another, a form which can only be grasped beyond the senses. Even the mind, which is a sixth sense, perceives the pebble as a static object. The mind also has a beginning like a pebble, perhaps in something bigger and may end in something smaller. The mind too is as formless as the object it perceives.

There is no end to this existential analysis, thus defeating its purpose except to liberate the mind into a vast arena of expansiveness that can only be defined as freedom. This type of freedom places no faith in what it senses through sight or sound, linkage or label. It is the freedom of seeing the beach, the walker upon its sands and the motion of water as the plurality of one formless form which holds everything together.

The paradox of life, with all its injustices, beauty and breathlessness, asks not for answers but for appreciation of the divine that dances beneath every sensory experience, that we not cling to the unclingable or worship the unworshipable.