Participatory Inquiry, episode 91: All Our Instincts

“In a network, in transition: without a noise, without our pride, 
we reach out from our inside.”


Where There Used To Be Trees

“In this uniquely oral form of community censure, a topographic place becomes the guarantor of corrected behavior, the visible presence that reminds one of past foibles and that ensures one’s subsequent attentiveness. The telling of agodzaahi tales establishes an almost familial bond between the persons at whom the stories are aimed and particular sites or features of the natural landscape.”
 — David Abram

Reach. No, seriously, do. Reach. Reach inside. Reach out. Reach back. Reach forward. Climb onboard the sacred vessel, grab that paddle, exert yourself. Move with and at times, against the stream for when you need to rediscover your own wellspring. Experience dissonance, return to the spontaneous precision of your instincts, thought to be forgotten. Respond to your own becoming yourself. Breathe forest. Move, dance, perform. Garden. Steward. Make camp, make fire, share what you have — nourishment, stories, insight.

Partly Cloudy

“It is this open activity, this dynamic blend of receptivity and creativity by which every animate organism necessarily orients itself to the world (and orients the world around itself), that we speak of by the term ‘perception’.”
 — David Abram

Your mind, ah your mind. Ever active, ever busy, partly cloudy, right? Some torrential downpour in your social media streams, followed by an ever so gentle drizzle inside?

Serene Solitude

“Thus, while he denied that space and time necessarily exist apart from human experience, Kant’s work seemed to establish more forcefully than ever that, at least as far as humans were concerned, “space” and “time” were distinct and inescapable dimensions.”
 — David Abram

You’re not perfect. Perfect. You’ve spent years and years silencing your inside, with media, with drugs, with abstractions and reductions, with throwing yourself into one business after another. Perfect. You see, all the time, your inside have been biding its time, for when it is time for you to happen. Time. The empty, abstract, abstracting hands of a clock, you and it, moving inside a seamless spacetime?


“Moreover, while examining its outer surface I have caught only a glimpse of the smooth and finely glazed inside of the bowl.”
 — David Abram

The world as we knew it, is gone. There used to be trees, inside and outside — the tree inside, a sacred understanding how things were, are, will be — reflected on the outside, our taking care of our one chosen small part of this bluegreen corner of the universe. Now? A longing turning belonging. A new tree, sprouting from the transformed, unfolding spontaneous precision of all our instincts.

Room 304

“We can no more stabilize the language and render its meanings determinate than we can freeze all motion and metamorphosis within the land.”
 — David Abram

All those things, that turned your attention into precisely one gazillion small fragments, all of them seeming significant at the time, yet, what was, what is, their meaning, should you bring them together in one room?

This Delicate Place

“If we pay close attention to the life and activity of the great celestial powers — the sun, the moon, and the clustered stars — we will see that even these entities, so commonly associated with height and vertical transcendence, seem to emerge from, and return to, the lands beyond the horizon.”
 — David Abram

My father was a silver-smith. At one time, many years ago, he was working from home, a makeshift workshop. I opened the door a bit, lest I’d disturb him, my question long since forgotten. I do remember his reply — a near imperceptible moving his lips — which meant yes. I closed the door.


I — the song
I walk here
 — Modoc song

Upstream. It’s more than well worth it. A wellspring can be imagined even though we’re not there yet in our journey. We feel it by the gentle swirl around our fingers as we let the momentum move us. The washing of the water bringing us closer to our own nature.

Participatory Inquiry, episode 91: All Our Instincts

Andrew Ly