Monday, December 2, 2013

Circle Mêtis

Circle of Reality in Japanese Zen Art

Mêtis is the particular quality of intense alertness that can be effortlessly aware of everything at once. While our wandering minds go off on their endless journeys, it always stays at home. And its home is everywhere. Mêtis feels, listens, watches; can even be aware at the same time, if left to itself, of every thought drifting into and out of our consciousness. It misses nothing.

This is how the circle begins.

When we really become aware of the sights and sounds and other impressions coming from all around us, after a while there is no longer the sense of just hearing and seeing this or that: instead, there is the awareness of everything as forming a single whole. Everything is exactly what it is, and always has been — but as a continuity now, all together, without any separation or division. And in this wholeness even the past and future start to merge until they are no longer separate. For they are both included in the now.
Then even the sense of any motion disappears. Mêtis is so fast in its response, so rapid in its alertness to the moment, that any movement is only perceived as stillness. But, by now, instead of just perceiving a tree or a chair you have become aware that you are perceiving one single being: whole, unmoving, quite still. 
And eventually, if you look, you will discover that instead of you perceiving reality, what in fact is happening is that reality is perceiving itself through you.

This is how the circle ends. 

And you may not be surprised that one of the symbols of mêtis is a circle. Mêtis is the encircler; the completer of the circle; the awareness that allows us at any moment, in spite of the ranging torrent of appearances,  to connect the beginning to the end.

(...) But really there is nothing at all to understand. For even to try to understand something is to step out of the one reality surrounding you in every direction and to separate yourself from it. These words are no different from any other shapes and sounds around you, with only one exception.
They are different in reminding you they are no different.
(Reality, pp.186–187, Peter Kingsley)

Such a quality of reality is not something complicated or otherworldly. On the contrary, it acts all over the universe, evidenced in the way stars and planets revolve effortlessly, in how the fish swim togeher in shoals, in how birds fly using the air currents, in how humans perform unbelievable feats,  dodging mortal blows, singing like angels, transforming negative emotions into positive on the spot, including rather than excluding, co-creating rather than destroying, finding the pathless path to the serene stillness around which all spins.

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