words by Kit
I noticed a very nice table on the verge near my street, with the sign, “Free for you! The legs are adjustable” And it looked new, solid, long and narrow; perfect for……? The impulse was to arrange to have it picked up, to not miss ‘a bargain’.
But (fortunately) my thinking ran further. Where would I put it? Do I need it for any particular purpose or spot? Why would I want to drum up a use, just because it is in good condition?
The deeper theme, that has been gathering in my mind is about how unsatisfying it is to have things, without the pre-existent phase of actually wanting it. To notice that one needs something – even as mundane as a kitchen utensil – sharpens the senses toward looking for it and then being pleased that the need is met. A perfect match; like the ball dropping into the socket of a billiard table.
Consumption – acquiring things because they are there, eating because it tastes nice, buying clothing because it is attractive – is a hollow activity. It aims to fill us, but with no appetite for the object (activity, experience etc), fulfillment is not possible. This explains for me why, despite the fact that I have all that I need for a good life, sometimes I can feel dissatisfied. Maybe I push myself to achieve things, before the desire or need to do them is present.
Maybe we need to become empty, to let the tide go out. Quiet times can be seen as not empty, but a chance to retreat from the hubbub of life, to allow other things to emerge, things that can only bubble up in stillness. A need might make itself known through some discomfort, and then it can be acted on, with good result.
Blake’s poetic statement ‘to see the world in a grain of sand’ invites us to value our senses, to sharpen our perceptions, to develop an appetite for what can be felt as too familiar.