Spirit Grooves Blogs

Published on July 20, 2013

This is just a note that is somewhat related to what I blogged about yesterday, the lack of receptivity on the part of some folks, but here I am flipping that and looking at this whole idea of receptivity that dominates our popular culture.

I am speaking of what must be called passivity on our part, although (I know, I know) it can be a very active and satisfying passiveness on the part of each of us. For example:

We read books. Again, I know that we "actively" read and love them, but reading is passive, taking something in. And we watch movies and TV, again: a taking in or viewing… very passive. In the same way we look at art, listen to music, and so on, all passive.

I grew up this way and might never have even noticed what I was doing if not for my kids, in particular my son, who is an avid video-game player.

This younger generation is not as content with the passive viewing of life, but rather they want to interact, which of course, is what video games are all about. And this is a good sign, but a sign of what?

When I think back over my life of passively taking things in, I have to ask myself: what have I learned from that? At what point do I get the point of all that I am quite passively taking in? Is there an end to it?

Have I read enough yet? Have I listened to enough music or seen enough movies and art? Is there a turning point where I begin to react to all of this, when I act or interact with what is out there?

Yes, I know that reading is "active" and all of that. I get it and don't want to tread on anyone's toes. As a culture we love to read, of course, but it is helpful for me to look beyond my rationalizations and wonder about so much passive intake for so long. I mean, here is an entire culture that is on the take, on the dole. When did that start and why is it so satisfying? Is it still satisfying? Or are we entering a time of sea change?

Is the rise of interactive video games a sign that this sea of our collective frozen attention is breaking up? Have we finally seen enough, heard enough, read enough yet? I really don't know. Are we are children and if they are changing, is the culture changing? Of course.

What does it take to move me to break my train of passive reception and act or interact? Are we eternal couch potatoes? Indeed, it is a deep habit we have.

For myself, I have pretty-much stopped reading, stopped looking at art, and stopped listening to music, except of course, live music and theater, which is somewhat more interactive.

What do I love? I value conversation and discussion, even argument, although small talk is not my forte. I have a long and ingrained (and I am told sometimes unwanted) habit of skipping over the chit-chat and going straight to the chase, like:

How are you, really? What is new in your life? What gets you up in the morning? What are you passionate about? What is changing in your life?

I like to get right into either where I am or where you are living and parse that out, making whatever sense of it we can. I can do that all night.

Unfortunately for me, group events are not my thing. Perhaps I get confused with all the signals from so many folks, some of them just being polite. I am not too polite in making small conversation. I do better one on one.

I invariably want to know what you are doing with your mind. Are you aware of it and how it works? Isn't it amazing? Have you learned to look at your mind and what about that? You get the idea.

All of this cultural passivity may be very well, but there must come a point of no return, a point when we have had enough, when we find ourselves reacting to all this we have forever taken in. What do you think of that?

About the only thing I still do is watch movies, but even then I seem not to care too much what I am watching or I watch a bit here and a bit there. Movies are very passive, but for me they amount to a form of meditation. Yes, I am following the movie plotline, but less so all the time. I used to be fierce about never missing a moment and please don't talk to me while I am watching a movie.

But that has faded. The plot of the movie is really secondary to the just sitting there and resting the mind, allowing what needs to float up, float up, and looking more at my mindstream than the stream of the movie-line.

Where am I headed? Not sure, but often I seem to be headed to just being here, sitting or walking, eating or sleeping. It does not much matter. Here I am.

No, I have not gone off and sat in a cave on a cushion. But I am starting to believe that the cave has come to me and that no matter where I go and what I do, my mind is just being here, doing less and less all the time.

This is not to say I am not busy. I am, but even in my busyness there is more space and it seems to be expanding. It matters less all the time exactly what I do.

As they say, wherever I go, here I am.

Know what I mean?

[Photo taken a couple of days ago.]