In a recent article in The Writer’s Chronicle there is an interview with poet Jane Hirshfield. While reading the interview, I found so many places where it could have been me answering the questions. I have not studied Zen Buddhism as Jane has, but I have read the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, and the Holy Bible. And, what’s more important in this piece is that I’ve studied the sciences for years, starting with my engineering background.
Jane’s quote has to do with science and poetry. She said in the interview, “Both disciplines, after all, begin with observation.” For me, this says it all. Observation, awareness, being one with your life, in my belief, is where everything begins. Doesn’t the musician observe? The sculptor? The executive secretary? The salesperson?
Life is very much an observation. I love that thought.
We might, however, debate over one’s depth of observation. While some may delve into the ocean depths of observation, another may dress up the surface waves, so to speak. Is either a lesser work? To use another metaphor: some decorate the rooms of a house while others inspect the frame and structure. My conclusion is that we need both. Let those who take things apart to see how they tick do so, but also let those who wish to dress a thing up do so as well. “Both begin in observation,” as Jane says (of course out of context now).
When I meditate on this, I see where sometimes I want to know more, I dig deeper, research more intensely, try to understand from a more encompassing position. And then there are those times when it’s enough to just see or hear or smell what is in front of me, with no more depth of observation than that.
I’m suggesting that there is no right or wrong way to look at this. Like Buddha himself might say, it is best to take the middle way. Even more important is the tolerance to allow everyone to observe in their own way, and that we learn to accept everyone for what they bring to the party.
Terry Persun writes in many genres, including historical fiction, mainstream, literary, and science fiction/fantasy. He is a Pushcart nominee. His latest poetry collection is “And Now This”. His novels, “Wolf’s Rite” and “Cathedral of Dreams” were ForeWord magazine Book of the Year finalists in the science fiction category, and his novel “Sweet Song” won a Silver IPPY Award. His latest science fiction space opera is, “Hear No Evil”, his latest fantasy is “Doublesight”, his latest mainstream/literary novel is “Ten Months in Wonderland”.