Saturday, January 03, 2009

Hummingbird Zen?

Big Pat Daugherty invited out for a walk along the Bay somewhere south of San Leandro. We looked at sky, birds and water. We saw a hummingbird at rest for what we thought was too long a time. So there's a lesson from one of nature's iota. Some things are meant to keep moving.

Big Pat is going for a Buddhist retreat later on this month, and we talked about silence, contemplation, stepping out from under the noise, shedding the day and so on. I suppose it's obvious that blogging is not contemplative, that it represents an avoidance of contemplation. You have an idea, and instead of letting it churn and coalesce, you snatch at it. You render it into words -- or perhaps I should say you throw words at the idea and see which words stick.

And once you have settled on words, by association they suggest other words, and you are no longer contemplating, moving fluidly between ideas, which ideas may be a combination of smells, sights, fragments of surreal memory, all manner of things subliminal. Once you have words on the screen it's like rhyming poetry. You choose the first end word, and your choices are radically foreclosed.

Now, editing might be contemplative, or at least closer to it, as you think about options and run through them, as you strike through and substitute. But that really doesn't sound contemplative, does it? You are still trapped in what you have written.

Nope, not contemplation. No one blogs a Buddhist retreat. I guess that goes without saying.
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Tommy Morahan said...

Couldn't blogging help some to reach contemplation?

....J.Michael Robertson said...

Like clearing the brush or focusing on the task? I was getting ready to say 'preparing to do the work.' But is contemplation work? Perhaps, I'm being sloppy with language and conflating meditation and contemplation. But conceding that, I don't think of my blogging as in any way contemplative. Too much nervous energy.