by DRM

“You will perceive by the resonance of the place whether the area is large or small, whether you are in the middle or in a corner.”

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

What relevance does this quotation have for the life of the soul, the long traverse of sensation, experience and reflection that makes up the totality of our consciousness?

The other night I went for a walk in the woods with the dogs in the dark. The preserve runs parallel to a highway. The road was busy and the white headlights and red taillights of the racing cars made brilliant traces in the night black. A moon was up. It lit the pathway. The dusky effect traced a muted outline of the ground, the stones scattered around and the inky trunks and limbs of the trees.

There was no true dark and no true silence. The environment was buzzing with action, even as the dogs and I trudged along.

I grew up on the edge of a swamp. It spread for countless acres behind our house. The swamp was soaked in fetid water. Trees and wiry bushes grew out of solid tufts of swamp grass that cleared the swamp water. Some of these tufts were larger, ten paces across say, and occasionally a large enough clot of firm ground appeared, with enough density in its dirt and enough mass in its volume to support the roots of a large hardwood tree.

Walking in the swamp at night was like moving with no knowledge.

You would swing from one tuft to another, feeling your way in the inkjet black air. The smells were ripe and wet. Water grabbed at your shoe, soaked up to your knee when you stepped the wrong place.

When you reached a solid point, you would pause and look around. The black night had no answers, gave no clues to the time or the direction or the route.

Cry out and the swamp would suck your voice away from you and offer nothing back.

Our experience of our soul is like walking through a swamp at night. Any path we are on can be altered or disrupted. Solid ground can be replaced by grabbing mud. We can lose purchase quickly and feel the growing sensation of panic that cries out to us that we are lost and have no way to get back.

What resonates in our soul to offer a guide? What is the sound that we can use so that the echo can help us locate our place? What is the light that will offset the unfiltered black of night?

A memory of mindful moments: this can be the thing that gives us certainty.