“If a bird speaks to you, listen.”
Our cultural obsession with control, with intellect, with there being one right way to do things, has deafened us to many languages. The languages of the birds, for one. The languages of our bodies. Of the sky. Of rivers. Of plants. Of dreams. Of a baby’s cries. We already know everything. We already know everything that needs to be done and how it’s to be done and with what words it’s to be done. And so we miss the voice of the world.
We miss the fact that our bodies are telling us what to eat–in what quantities, when, and how fast or slow. We feel longings, insatiable urges, but we don’t know what they are urging us to. We no longer speak the language of our own souls. It’s no wonder we can’t understand the languages of crows, and wolves, and dolphins.
The world wants to speak. The world is speaking. But we must listen. We must open our sensitivity. And I think it’s as much an emotional thing as anything else. There has to be true desire to understand. And respect–even love–for those one wants to understand. One cannot believe one is smarter than the birds and expect to hear them. One has to come as an equal. As a peer. As a fellow being. One has to respect each glimmer of a message one receives. Those who think they have the right to do whatever they want with a dog will never share in that dog’s genius.
For a few weeks now, I’ve suspected that emotion is much much more important than we’ve realized. We’ve treated it as something of an epiphenomenon. At most, it’s evolution’s way of getting us to seek out useful things and avoid harmful ones.
And yet, I wonder if the experience of emotion is not the experience of the deepest truths–and deepest connections–of the universe. Emotion, perhaps, is that which connects. It is the force that extends across vast distances and brings a lost dog back to its “owner,” a person back to the one they love. The experience of love, I suspect, is the experience of the growth and strengthening of that bond. In experiencing love, we are experiencing an elemental force, one more basic than gravity. (Or perhaps it is a kind of gravity.)
Emotions may just be the language of the universe. And that language is inside us, motivating us from within, not without. Those who desire power over us wish for us to ignore that language, wish for us to be ignorant of our rightful place in the universe. That language gives us power–the power not of domination but of connection and cooperation. It makes us invulnerable, uninterested by counterfeit versions of connection or power. It’s the real thing. It is our rightful place to speak this language and understand it. To live our lives in harmony with all that is around us, not in discord. Our emotions, attended to, may be the language of the rest of the world, connecting straight through our hearts.
3 responses to “The Language of the Universe”
I love this entire piece. My favorite line is the one about not being smarter than a bird and expecting you can hear it. Beautiful.
J Allen Boone talked about his experiences learning how to be a peer, a fellow being, in the book Kinship with All Life. A marvelous read. By the end of the book he had a friend – for three wonderful days – who happened to be a fly.
For myself, I’m focusing this spring on remembering all the birds and bats that are being fed by the mosquitoes that feed on me. Love is a force that circulates round and round in many forms.
Thank you for this recommendation. I’ve added it to my wish list for my upcoming birthday! I love, too, your observation about the role of mosquitoes. 🙂