Rendered Fat Content


Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas:
Singer with a Glove (c. 1878)

" … what should I make of that?"

Gurus insist that emptying the mind encourages these experiences, though I, who've never once managed to quiet my chattering monkeys, notice perhaps more than my fair share. You know what I'm speaking of here: the Glimpsing of the extraordinary lurking within the otherwise most ordinary situation. A wrinkle in space or time impresses upon your consciousness, producing a glimpse of the profound when you had no intention of stumbling into any such encumbrance there. You were just going about your ordinary business when the infinite intruded, when beauty or profound truth or the eternal dropped in and left you breathless. Some of us experience this sensation more than others, or so we all seem to believe, though not one possesses any factual basis to hold this conviction. It might be that we're all constantly Glimpsing, that we need no special training to encourage it other than perhaps to remember to pay attention, though failing to pay attention seems to encourage it, too.

Traveling tends to increase the number of Glimpsing events, perhaps because, out of ordinary circumstances, more things just qualify as eye-catching, as unusual enough to attract this sort of attention.
Certainly, travel to alien cultures can overwhelm this facility and leave one pining for the merely ordinary again. Too much of even this sort of good thing can become overwhelming. A proper glimpse leaves one feeling special as if chosen. How fortunate I feel to be present and actively accounting in that moment! How unique this universal human experience feels! How extraordinarily special, yet absolutely ordinary. Not one of us ever learns how to turn off this facility, for we apparently never learned how to turn it on. It turns itself on when it pleases or just randomly engages. I do not know how to tell which.

The gurus insist many things, but gurus might be in the business of insisting. I'm wary of any insistence provided by anyone employed in the insistence business. I do not know why this is other than a sense I carry cautions me. It suggests that nobody but me has access to what's actually happening inside me. Those who claim to have found my way make unconvincing promises, for I know that I've, even on my better days, probably not managed to gain full access to my own internal processes, so it's unlikely that anyone else, who must struggle with their own internal processes, had capacity to struggle with and untangle mine. Untangling doesn't seem all that encumbering. One need not have to come already to understand to find understanding. One need not necessarily have been enlightened to experience enlightenment.

It's likely not a single permanent experience, anyway. We might need daily nibbles, tastes that satisfy without permanently sustaining. I think of mine as reassurance. A good Glimpsing can reinforce the conviction that I'm still a member in decent standing of the Age of Aquarius or something more special than I'd earlier imagined, worthy of appreciation. We must each fully qualify as extraordinary, or none of us does. We must each experience enlightenment, or it’s worthless. A single wise man standing above all others seems a pitiful decoration unworthy of adoration. Not even a godhead could be usefully separated from its body. It's all or nothing and most probably all rather than nothing.

I'll head out on my walk a little later, only to discover that I've wandered into something I had not adequately prepared myself for, thank heavens. I almost always stumble into unexpected territory and some minor or enormous lesson visits. I return refreshed, reassured of my presence and my utterly unlikely significance. This always astounds me, for I know myself to be nobody very special, just a fellow cast up here like everybody else. If I could experience the profound through Glimpsing, there must be a lot more of it around than the gurus earlier suggested. If even the most profound is just another form of ordinary, what should I make of that?

©2023 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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