Peas on a Plate, Leaves on a Tree.

Following up on the image of how peas on a plate merge in our perception as one overall phenomenon, not invoking any interest to look further.  Life is full of such summary identifications, including the projection of dismissive labels applied to entire races and nationalities.  It’s as if the act of “specification” can itself be shallow, blind, and indifferent—amounting to the substitution of a summary term for the possibility of further, ongoing engagement.  Perhaps that is the nature of “specification”: the projection of a previously defined identity onto a dynamic presenting which is thereby unable to infuse our lives with the possibility of transformation.

One day recently, walking outside beneath branches that were moving with the passage of a lively wind, it occurred to me that the leaves on the tree were similar to peas on a plate: too numerous to count, their individual characteristics examples of one standard model, all viewed through my own tendency to not look beyond their assembly into an abstract whole.

And yet, unlike with peas on a plate, the wind made all the leaves dance and shimmer in the sunlight.  Their lively response to the wind and the sun, made the tree come alive for me.  Although I still didn’t notice that one leaf was different from another, they all were present in the tree’s serenade to the music of the evening.

Perhaps that suggests a path beyond specification—or at least an alternative to halting appreciation with the labels that specify objects and moments.  The dance of wider perspectives provides witness to a deeper time, a wider space, and a knowing let loose.

 

About Michael Gray

I first started studying TSK in the mid 1980's and have since attended a number of retreats and workshops at the Nyingma Institute, in both TSK and Buddhist themes. I participated in the life-changing Human Development Training Program in 1991, and upon returning to Albuquerque co-founded an organization, Friends in Time (with a friend who has Lou Gehrig's Disease), which continues to serve people with similiar disabilities. I contributed an essay to "A New Way of Being"--the last one in the book--in which I describe how learning to honor who I have been has broadened and deepened my openness to present experience. I live in New Mexico with my wife and two sons.
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1 Response to Peas on a Plate, Leaves on a Tree.

  1. David Filippone says:

    Loved this! Wonderful articulation of a more encompassing perspective, with a peek into the process of constructing a specific view.

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