Owls of Abandonment   1 comment

I woke long before the alarm this morning, made coffee & sat sipping it until leaving on a predawn dog-&-cat walk. Rags nosing along the margin of the bikepath behind me, Meme keeping one eye on Rags & the other on everything else, I was enjoying the unseasonably warm breeze & reflecting on recent fieldwork in Los Angeles when I was called to return to my senses.

Out of the darkness, an owl — four crisp hoots, generously spaced — each break of silence a warning that the sun might not rise — night the new day.

Back home, I ate a handful of almonds as I looked out the backdoor. In the dark, prayer flags waving in the wind, & in the glass a dim reflection of a white beard moving, mirroring the flags.

The owl, among its other offices, called to mind a recently published essay, in which I reflect on its kin & the meaning of rivers:

McMillin – Transdisciplinarity 2

Over & out.


Posted December 5, 2013 by the meaning of rivers in Uncategorized

One response to “Owls of Abandonment

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  1. Some thoughts after reading Scott’s essay on transdisciplinarity on 12/5/13

    Thanks for exploring and sharing these ideas about “nature behind the common,” that we can know more completely only with increased transdisciplinarity. For millennia wise men have encouraged us to explore the multiple levels of reality in various valid & complementary ways. Reductionistic approaches from within our own, specialized circle work well, but are best balanced by holistic (transdisciplinary) approaches that serve to better ‘grok’ the big, interconnected miracle of the ineffable Cosmic Dance.

    In the 70’s Holistic Medicine was reborn, with an emphasis on how the many aspects of ourselves are all connected, and how our mental, emotional, physical, spiritual, social, sexual and environmental health are all co-dependent on each other. In the 90’s, the terms “Integrative Medicine” and “Complementary Medicine” became more popular. The key principle is to address the “multiple levels of reality,” and not get stuck in a limited perspective that treats “things” such as our stomach ulcer as separate. General Systems Theory, founded in the 50’s, is another approach to better understand the complex, interdependent processes happening all around us. It also decrys the over-specialization which misses the big picture, misses the forest for the trees, misses the interrelationships.

    Meditation describes any purposeful exercise to get our mental activity out of the usual mode—which is full of verbal thoughts, discursive thoughts, abstract thinking, ego-based thinking, regrets about the past and worries about the future. Mindfulness describes a non-judgmental, focused awareness of something in the present moment (e.g. the owl’s hoot, or the clang of a gong, or the movement of one’s breath, or the unadorned sensation of an odor). With meditation, we transcend our small, egoic selves and become more atuned to the Cosmic Dance; we more gracefully “surf on the changing waves of time.” Sometimes, if we’re skillful or lucky, we can realize our oneness with God, the Universe, all that is. . . like the mystics or a poet that “abandons his self.” More and more I think my “self” is illusory. More and more I think that no “thing” exists. Perhaps it’s better to grok the Cosmic Dance as interconnected PROCESSES happening. I am a verb, not a noun (as is every quark, and every compounded thing).

    Btw, I wonder if Emerson would have been courageous enough to use an entheogen such as LSD to transform his mode of consciousness, so as to see our blessed reality from another vantage point . . . to nurture the fluidity of his mind, to cross the river, the fluid boundary, between different ways of knowing.

    Scott, it would be a treat to share some scotch and cigars with you . . . to play with these seeds for thought. Thanks again for sharing your insights.

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