A friend recently related that she had been hiking and felt the hair stand up on her neck. She left the trail, but later learned that there was a mountain lion in the area. Last spring, another friend had a similar experience…knowing that something/someone was watching…but this time she saw the lion as she retreated down the trail. So I asked Meredy the other night, “What do you think that is: the awareness of danger, the hair-on-the-neck thing?” She responded that she believes that we always have that level of awareness, but we keep it distracted. In each case, the woman was hiking alone, so all of her antennae were out. But she suggested, and I feel it to be true, that there is always a great deal of information out there which we miss through lack of attention.
This is corroborated by our dog, Doc, who is able to immediately go to the person in the room who is suffering….or any cat, which will invariably place itself in the arc of energy between two people who are either attracted to each other or are angry with each other. Now I write this well aware that I regularly miss all sorts of clues. Yet we all know the feeling of coming into a room after something has happened and feeling the energy charged. But that is less than subtle perception…perhaps the level that men perceive (unless they are hunting something). Sorry guys, but women are much better at this. Much better. But what about the broader level of attention perhaps most famously illustrated by the knowing when a loved one has passed away, though they are many miles away.Are we all connected on that level?
What about the experience of “playing a hunch”? Now, I think that many would claim that we often make all sorts of decisions based upon subliminal information and that is also quite so…the child who finds a stranger creepy, the immediate sense that some new acquaintance can’t be trusted, but what of the less blatant modes of knowing? My friend, Joy Mills, used to refer to “Knowing without knowing”…she used it in in reference to relationship to the divine. ..perhaps, in this case, another word for faith. But there is also the knowing that comes from attending to our lives, to our gardens, to our friends, to the small and large challenges, obstacles, duties, opportunities on our paths. It is a knowing that illustrates Meredy’s point: the information is all there. The universe is always speaking to us. We just fill up all of the air space with our hopes and fears and plans and prayers or simply with the tyranny of habit.
I would like to be good at that…at attention…or even better at it…if not fully present in each moment, at least more deeply aware. I breathe the world in, let it go. I reach for presence. But for the most part, I remain thick as a brick.