Friday, August 10, 2012

A Remembered Beginning

When I look back upon Innermost House now I look inward.  It is no longer like a memory of the past.  It is in the present, but somehow inward even of the present moment I occupy in the moving time of the world outside. 

It is a strange experience to go home to Innermost House in spirit.  I can feel it.  I can touch and hear and see it.  To stand inside of it again I simply go inside myself.  Not far inside.  Just inside.  After seven years it comes easily.

One thing is changed.  My first experience of it when I go there now is always its taste.  As I approach the house and put my hand on the worn stair rail, even before I am aware of its touch I am aware of how it tastes.  I can taste the redwood on my tongue.  I can taste the dust of the forest breeze.  I can taste the wet of a hundred rains.  

I never tasted my house when I was there.  But that is exactly how it first comes to me now.  No matter where I look outside or in, before I see it I taste it.  When I listen for the space inside, before I hear its silence, I taste it.  

I read once of the learned monks of the middle ages, feeling for the way to regain the taste of civilization in their wines.  They would walk the hills and valleys.  They would scent the air and watch as the fall of shadows marked the land for growing.  I believe they were men of highly developed reason.  But they were feeling with more than reason for their treasure. 

They would bend down to the soil and taste it.  They might almost be mistaken for children.   But they were not children.  They were tasting I think for a remembered beginning.

23 comments:

  1. I live within walking distance of a nature sanctuary. A few years ago I started making regular visits there. I would pack a simple breakfast, my binoculars and a notebook and spend an hour or so sitting in silent solitude on a rock in the forest watching, listening, smelling, and maybe even tasting the woods around me. As I watched the natural world outside of me, I also watched the thoughts flowing within me. Back home, the memory of those quiet moments and going over the notes I may have jotted down would transport me happily back to what I called a Moose Hill (the name of the sanctuary) state of mind. It's time to go back.

    Al, Sharon, MA

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  2. As a child I spent many summers up in the North East Kingdom of Vermont. My grandparents had a farm and I spent hours outside in the fields, finding fossils in the rock that lined the beds of the railroad tracks on a hill high up behind the house, wading for hours through the brooks and the river. My playground was the woodland and the verdant grassy swaths of land that surrounded me..in my mind, I have never left that place where smells and tastes are as sharp as they were 40 years ago. Where I live now does not compare to that magic place, but I try to find iit in the protected lands near by. I am now in the process of saving to go back if even if only for certain times of the year. I have always wanted to go back, and now the steps are being put in place to make that happen.

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    1. Just make it happen, Laure. Be true to the dreams of your youth! Maybe Innermost House will provide the inspiration and example you need to create a very special place. Al

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  3. These are such beautiful descriptions Diana, MojoMan (Al?) and Laurel. Memories certainly do evoke the senses. For me, the strongest sensory memory is feeling. When I give a massage, even to myself, I hear the music of my old massage room, smell the fragrant oils and see the calming shadows in the softly lit room and feel the skin, smooth with oil. The sensation of massaging skin is very powerful memory for me. But interestingly enough, I actually salivate at the thought of massage. In fact I salivate for many things not food related. (Which must sound weird, but please understand that I am serious and, I hope, normal :)) Do I taste it, I am not sure, but my taste buds do seem to be trying to!

    Diana, despite all the Conversation we have had, I am still not clear why you left the Innermost House. Many of us would find that the places that are most strongly imprinted in our memory and senses are now not the same as we remember them. Do you know if IH has changed some way from the memory you describe?

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  4. My favorite experience of imbibing a sense of place was the first time I went to India to stay at my Guru's main ashram for a month. It was truly a paradise with marble sidewalks, lush, lush gardens with tropical plants from all over the world, towering palm trees that stood like sentinels along the secluded paths and the captivating scent of frangiapani wafting through the air. It was a magical place and very quickly became a part of me. When I returned home and went to see my Guru, I told her "I AM Ganeshpuri (the name of the town where the ashram was.) I walk as Ganeshpuri, I breathe as Ganeshpuri and I speak as Ganeshpuri." I felt so connected in the heart with the absolute peace and beauty of the place that I didn't feel any difference between it and myself. I guess I didn't taste it, but rather kinesthetically felt like I WAS it.

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    1. Maybe you could take Ganeshpuri as a name to yourself? x

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    2. I've started taking Nia classes, which are all about synthesis and flow, form and freedom. I'm hoping to be in my body the way you describe being in Ganeshpuri.

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  5. When I go to "my" island, I am aware of it and part of it through every pore and every sense. There's the smell of the sea, the macchia, the pine trees, the old old stone of the houses; sometimes a whiff of heaven when I brush against sun-warmed rosemary or tread on wild marjoram. There are the sounds - raptors calling high in the sky, dawn mewing of gulls when the fishing boats come in, the wind rustling and sighing in the trees. The coolness and warmth of the sea as I swim through it, body yielding to the water so that I feel the approach of the ferry before I can hear it, as pulsations ripple over my skin. How to describe the air and the light? I could get drunk on them - I probably do! The hot blue zithering of the cicadas seems to be the song of the summer sky. How to share the taste of a fig, so ripe that it has split and its lipsticked lips smile in a come-hither fashion, so rich with melting sweetness that my eyes close ecstatically? The night sound of the church clock striking the hours, gold and silver in the sky so dark that it almost glows with a sense of reaching space?

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    1. Is this an island you have been to...or a place you have created? It sounds wonderful!

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    2. That is such a rich description, Suzanne. I am there too.

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    3. Huh, my reply vanished! it's a real place, off the coast of Dubrovnik, Croatia. The island's name is Sipan (She-pun), and it is my Place.

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  6. I am wondering why the title of the blog has changed from "Friends of Innermost House-The Journey Home" to just "Innermost House". Have our travels together already come to an end?
    I can't help but feel abandoned today. I look at the two last posts by Diana, and I see two monologues, and the rest of us are attempting to carry on a conversation. Not sure what to make of it.
    Ruth

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    1. Ruth, I think it may be necessary to have patience. Bear in mind that Diana has not been an internet person and is now plunged into blogging every day. Talk about diving in at the deep end!
      It helps, perhaps, to re-envision the role in which we come here - not as consumers to be fed with what we wanted, but as contributors to a circle of love and respect, in which things just are as they are when we arrive, and our task is to add whatever sweetness we find missing. Namaste x

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    2. Also I think considerations for the chasm that exists between the seclusion and privacy of IH and the complete exposure and transparency of open blogging must be jarring.

      Particularly while one is still in transition.

      I am one that has oscillated between exposure and sanctuary, but Diana's bold leap from IH to this public blog is breath . . . taking.

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    3. Thank you Ruth for expressing these thoughts. I too was feeling a little disillusioned and impatient for more interplay with our Conversation. So thank you Ember and D.B. for reminding us of Diana's transition. When friends here had expressed concern for Diana in previous posts, she was quick to reassure us that she was quite fine.. so it is difficult to know how to pace ourselves.. and our questions. :)

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    4. Thank you Ember, D.B. and Leah for your insights and kind words. Yes, we are guests here, I have to remember that. And I shall be patient. Thank you again.
      Ruth

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  7. Yes, I love it! "Feeling with more than reason for their treasure" - I have studied and learned to use my mind, yet I am convinced that the mind is a servant of the soul. I must use my intuition, and all my sense-data, to find my way, deploying my thinking and reasoning as one part of that navigation process.

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  8. This post brings to mind mourning and ghosts.

    July 26 I had to put down Paco. He was a four pound, 12 year old Chihuahua with brain cancer and seizures. As all our creatures are, he was a loved little character.

    But what haunts me is I still see him out of the corner of my eye. I work from home. When my wife is home, Paco was in her lap. He and I had a "who's the alpha" thing going even though he was only four pounds. It was hilarious. But he was still always in the room with me. Still in the corner of my eye.

    Now that he's gone--I still see phantom white and fawn flashes out of the corner of my eye--his ghost--I turn--and know before I have finished turning that he is gone. But still I turn.

    It is mourning. It takes time. I have internalized it. Makes me smile even. He is buried under the pecan tree in the backyard. It was his favorite spot--always shady and often damp with dew.

    But now I think I really understand why ghosts appear in so many cultures historically. I think it is something that our memory and mind does to us for a while . . . at the least. The universe may have more supernatural things at play. Don't know, I'll play along either way.

    Diana after seven years, I would expect and enjoy to be haunted by something as enchanting as Innermost House. Just the light, the shadows, the silence, the fire.

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    1. Very sorry for your loss, D.B.

      I wonder if some of us are more (pleasantly) haunted by places or people. And yes, how fortunate for Diana!

      It is interesting that there are people who would have had a completely different experience in the house we know as IH and might have rushed to the next place with more amenities, or whatever else they felt was lacking. It makes me think that so much of what we experience is in our desire and in our perception. -- A reminder to myself!

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  9. The sense of taste is closely linked to the sense of smell. Smell and memory are closely linked because the olfactory bulb is part of the brain's limbic system. I read somewhere that Master Perfumers compose new scents almost entirely from the memory of the individual scents they have sampled throughout their life. Indeed they do not even wear perfume themselves so that their sense of smell can stay as inno(s)cent as possible. When they have finally created their new masterpiece, they gently breathe it in and explore the symbiotic relationships of the ingredients and make a few minor tweaks. What a wonderful way to use the past to create the present.

    I am sat here looking out on the trees below me (for I am in an apartment) and I watch their limbs sway gently in the summer breeze. I wonder what molecules are carried on the wind that kiss their leaves, what scents from far off places intermingle with the scent of the living tree. Where have they been, where are they going? At such times I wish I could share the highly developed sense of smell of a dog. To do so would be to experience so many journeys, so many stories.

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  10. Diana,

    A sidebar question for you.

    Have you thought of seeking a Innermost Home instead of an Innermost House?

    With kind and warm regard,
    D.

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  11. What happened to that lovely post about the chemical signalling between all living things?

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    1. That sounds interesting. I hope it can be republished.

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