“Being attentive unlocks a sphere of reality that no one suspects. If, for instance, I walked along a path without being attentive, completely immersed in myself, I did not even know whether trees grew along the way, nor how tall they were, or whether they had leaves. When I awakened my attention, however, every tree immediately came to me. This must be taken quite literally. Every single tree projected its form, its weight, its movement—even if it was almost motionless—in my direction. I could indicate its trunk, and the place where its first branches started, even when several feet away. By and by something else became clear to me, and this can never be found in books. The world exerts pressure on us from the distance.
The seeing commit a strange error. They believe that we know the world only through our eyes. For my part, I discovered that the universe consists of pressure, that every object and every living being reveals itself to us at first by a kind of quiet yet unmistakable pressure that indicates its intention and its form. I even experienced the following wonderful fact: A voice, the voice of a person, permits him to appear in a picture. When the voice of a man reaches me, I immediately perceive his figure, his rhythm, and most of his intentions. Even stones are capable of weighing on us from a distance.
So are the outlines of distant mountains, and the sudden depression of a lake at the bottom of a valley. This correspondence is so exact that when I walked arm in arm with a friend along the paths of the Alps, I knew the landscape and could sometimes describe it with surprising clarity. Sometimes; yes, only sometimes. I could do it when I summoned all my attention. Permit me to say without reservation that if all people were attentive, if they would undertake to be attentive every moment of their lives, they would discover the world anew. They would suddenly see that the world is entirely different from what they had believed it to be.”
Jacques Lusseyran (1924-1971) was blind, started an underground youth resistance movement in occupied France during WWII, and was imprisoned for six months at Buchenwald.
4 Replies to “THE INNER LIFE OF TREES AND STONES”
Brilliant! What is real, Real, has weight, pressing in on us, much the way CS Lewis describes Heaven in The Great Divorce as being weighty, full of, heavy with, reality.
So different from modern thought, which reduces everything to solipsistic abstractions that are blips in perception (which usually means vision only, by a deliberate and conscious choice to exclude the other senses).
Magnificent writing. I see it. Thank you Heather for sharing this.
Heather, you are beautiful. Thank you for sharing all your insights and awesome passages like these.
Attentive words made my mind drift into far and wide memories.
There was the triumphal entry into Jerusalem on a white donkey. "Hosannah" and loud praises lead the Pharisees to tell Christ to "silence your Disciples".
He responds to them:
But Jesus answered, "I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!"
~~~ Luke 19:40
The stones would cry out!
Yes, stones have something to say.
Trees too. But they are the symbol of life.
They will gladly tell you their age, for they celebrate every year by growing a new ring, to mark their birthday. But we must kill the tree and cut it down to discover such truth.
Pilate did the same thing to the King of Kings to discover "What is truth?"
Another King, Marilyn Morgan King is a great writer (presumably not related to the post blogger).
Long ago, she wrote of riding on a train, watching the landscape pass by quickly up close, and slower far away. She longed to make contact with anything out there, but could not.
Finally, the train made a stop to exchange passengers at a hole-in-the-wall place in nowhere USA. I think it was Nebraska.
On the train platform was a little girl.
Marilyn looked out her train window and spotted the girl. The girl spotted Marilyn too. No words were exchanged. BOTH existed in separate worlds.
The little girl smiled!
Marilyn returned the smile and both waved at each other. Strangers, making contact with all that matters.
As a single dad, I recall one of my daughters asking if we could make a snowman outside. The fallen flakes were rich, fat, wet and perfectly deep enough to make a marvelous reproduction, of God in the Garden making a man. Differnet materials; same idea.
We went out and I jam packed a tennis ball size snowball and began to roll it. It takes forever to become a ball the size of a grapefruit, for there is no density. It is just as long to become the size of a basketball. But now, a few more rolls of snow, and the base of a snowman would appear and become unmovable in mass. That was the spot where our man would be born, for we could push no more.
All the close and good snow had been used, so we moved away more and began the entire process to make a "middle" for our man. Though smaller in size, it had to be lifted and placed on top of the base.
If rolled from a distance, the middle would grow larger than the bottom and resemble me.
I cautiously laid it down and huffed and puffed to roll it upon the bottom. It was hard work and my breathing became rapid. Puffs of breath crystalized and appeared everywhere near my mouth and streamed out as I struggled to roll this mound of snow upward. I needed a break before we did the "head".
Still huffing, I asked:
"Did you see that Karli?"
"Did you see my breath turning into crystals and moving out like a pure cloud?"
"YOU do it!".
She blew out her breath as a little girl and "smoke-like" air came out.
"Karli, I said, "do you understand what just happened?"
She stood there in perplexion, and likely a desire to go make a head for our guy to be born.
"Karli…….we just made the invisible become VISIBLE!
We are always breathing year round but you never see your breath until the coldest days come around.
Our God is around like that, always present and nearby, and vital to our life. But He makes an appearance for us to see Him at the coldest times of our lives. As you grow up and I am not around, some tough days may come your way. I want you to remember making this snowman, breathing like we did to see our breath, and know that God is nearby on your cold days ….even if I can not be there".
She smiled an ear-to-ear grin at that and fell backwards into the snow, moving her arms and legs in and out until a "snow angel" appeared.
Yeah! Angels are also all around and invisible.
You just gotta fall down to make 'em show up.