Inventory of Influences

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I know I’m not the only person who experiences this awareness of the remarkable flow of influences that charge each moment with the communication of life. We all do, all the time. But we also seem to tune out a lot. I thought that I’d let you take a peek into how it is for me. It’s a bit of a challenge to put into words because the whole experience has to slow down quite a bit for me to catch even a glimpse.

I make an inventory of influences.

Let’s take any meal, for example. The sheer onrush of influences contained in it are mind-boggling. The table is set. The chair, the table, all have their sources, their creators, designers and, of course, their form, the origin of that form, the resonances of that form, and their colours, once again the rich communication of colour and its appeal and meaning. Okay, then the plates, the cutlery, not to mention all those historic origins, down through the ages of the sheer idea of a meal, of the form of it.

Then comes the food, the blends and sources, the rich and amazing co-mingling of all the plants and spices - in their current form all together, and in their original forms, at source. What was their source?

Then there is a series of relationships in each ingredient that involves a voluntary or involuntary giving of itself. There is picking, preparing, handling and transportation to arrive here to my own kitchen, where it becomes mixed and alchemically prepared to be served. And to get even further into the woo-woo: the spirit and essence of the plants and animals welcomed at the table come right into our bodies! The sensory experience - taste and texture, scent and visual, sound or perhaps if you think in these lines, vibrations, is an orchestra on the plate, but only heard subtly. The sheer aesthetic pleasure of this cornucopia of impressions calls continually for the refinement of being.

So many actions, so many steps, and such variety and meaning even in the simplest of foods. And if that weren’t enough: the light. Did I say anything about the time of day - and the relation with the sun, with the magnetic field of the earth, the month, the season, the year. Past months, past years of the same season and time. Whew!

Then we can say, what’s it like? And match with other times, other ideas, some experienced only in music, or literature, or art. Or in childhood purity, before the naming, categorizing, and sorting. What dulled it all for us, made it too familiar? There’s some kind of brain info on this - a sort of neutron fatigue or maybe somehow, inside, the brain is branching elsewhere, making other newer pathways?

I look again, fresh mind, restarted, with a cleared cache. Opening the sensorium. Can this really be true? All this light and form and taste and sound and colour and perfume and texture, here now and always, matching itself to me as I perceive it!

It seems simpler to inventory tea. If I break down all the steps into the moments of appreciation of form and source - I can glimpse the Tea Ceremony transposed into my own prosaic afternoon. And suddenly memory transports me not to formal Japan, but coming home from school in Calgary. There they are, my mum and Grannie, sitting in the living room holding cups of strong English tea with milk and sugar, digestive cookies on the side plates.

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Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, a formal re-engagement of forces affirms a Circassian culture. I felt compelled to keep watching this after Paula recommended it.