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The Entangled Bank              David LaMotte

At One, Just Once, Just This

1. What We Know

2. Wave and Particle, Joy and Grief

3. The Practice

4. Breathing

5. Walking

6. The Breath’s Delay in Song



1. What We Know

The comedy of human existence lies in the desire, universal and preconscious, to reconcile our oneness with our onceness.  We intuit a connection with some power larger than ourselves, an intuition beyond any system of belief or non-belief that leaves us half-filled with answers and longing for the rest.  At the same time, we know that this one life is all we know— a boundary that neither faith nor denial can genuinely breach.  We just don’t know.  Or we know too much.  “Know” is perhaps a misleading verb here, because we are not talking about the intellect but about heart knowledge.  We feel  our connectedness to all things; my breath is the breath of the world.  And we feel time’s arrow; my breath belongs to the machine of this body in its winding down.


No accident that our myth of origin, in the Judaeo-Christian tradition, concerns knowledge.  What is it that banishes us from the garden of oneness-with-all-that-is?  We are barred from that first green world by the flaming sword of our peculiar consciousness, which can never be satisfied with knowing the world directly (whatever that means) but must know that it knows what it knows.  We are the namers of things.  Deep ecologists say that we are the universe’s way of knowing itself.  Tell that to a whale.  Or a dolphin.  Or a wood thrush.


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