Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Cultivating Soul

In the mail the other day we got two (yes, two) Anthropologie catalogs. The scenes in the catalog were all shot in some exotic Indian location, with lovely stone architectural details, colorful arches and columns, and beautiful Eastern tile work. These kinds of mystical, historical, exotic locations just draw me in; make me long to go on some extended adventurous travel. The part of my mind that imagines escape, a journey of the soul, is somehow fed by these images.
Trekking by elephant across a desert to an oasis of dates and coconuts, maybe to a palace of marble and cool tiled fountains, yes, count me in.
I tore up the catalog (it really helped to have two) and collaged some journal pages. It was so satisfying.
After all these years, I understand that the actual travel is not what I long for, the expensive, tiring, logistically complex work of really taking such a trip (although now and then, I do love to really travel somewhere) is not what I really want.
The longing is for the imaginary vision quest - the challenge of being in the new exotic place, which helps define the measure of our totally known and comfortable home.
I wish all people had to go live in another country and learn another language once in their lives, you really don't know all the assumptions you make in one language if it is the only one you know. We are at a huge disadvantage when we only think and speak in one tongue.
I also have been reading about Hindi and the way it grew out of ancient Sanskrit for many of it's words. Some concepts are just missing from Hindi; they don't even have a word for female orgasm, for example. The verb tenses are all in the now, there is not the focus on past and future we in the West assume we need.
Subtle ways the words are used just make those people who speak Hindi have brains that work a slightly different way than us English speakers, and it is wonderful to notice and enjoy the differences.
Knowing about the other helps us know the self.

"Everyone should know you cannot live any other way than cultivating soul." --Apuleius

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