June 2, 2006 Friday Honolulu
I don’t know that there’s a word for meditation in the Mvskoke language. Maybe some things don’t need words. Maybe words can narrow rather than open up meaning and understanding. What I call meditation is paying attention, listening and being grateful. This means remembering and utterly knowing there is no separation between the human spirit and that of the redbird-person spirit, or that of the winds who live in the Ko’olau’s, or your ancestors and yourself, the ocean, or any other manifestation of life as it happens as you are breathing and taking in the gifts of life. Most of all, perhaps, it’s stopping thinking.
Thinking has become too prevalent in this culture. It has been given power over good old common sense, even. I’m good at thinking. I’ve been taught all too well how to think. I even got an MFA, in thinking. Of course, we all need to know how to think. Thinking by itself, however is dangerous. Massacres and countries voting in leaders who promote war for greediness can happen only when thinking is predominant, when there is no link to the heart, to the intuition. We’ve been taught that thinking and acquiring intellectual knowledge is what it means to be civilized. If this current state of global being, fueled by western multinational economics that give a few men all the money and resources is the result of civilization, of all the libraries of books and laws, then something is wrong. Thinking without the heart is deadly. Sort of like a body dragging the corpse of a mind around, or vice versa. An intellect without spirit is faulty. Intuition is far superior. Everything is then linked together in a common sense that goes beyond a two or three dimensional surface of a linear past, present or future.
I can think myself in and out of failure, success, acceptance or abandonment. I’ve even created demons with my thinking, like the one who sat in my head all last fall and told me that I had nothing to say that would pass the muster of western academic dictators of discourse. Eventually I got control and erased the didactic pontiff though I’m embarrassed to say I did believe him for a season. Shame of generations can blind or make us deaf or dumb. Or humans just tend to buy easily into judgment and fear. I fought, but the fighting made the problem thicker until I was stuck, like the proverbial tar-baby story (an old Mvskoke tale). I was pretty worn thin until my wise self got hold—during or after a series of meditations or stop-thinking sessions. Took me a whole semester. Only then did I realize the ridiculousness of the matter and turned and made him smaller and smaller and his pontificating started to look ridiculous from a tiny man in diapers.
So this morning in the middle of it all I figured I might as well go ahead and share this part. It’s as much a part of me as the poet/writer/musician. Where does all that come from anyway? And even the finest academics and scientists will acknowledge that the most brilliant of their discoveries or ideas have sources way beyond their own usual patterns of thinking.