Perpetual translating

We people of education (or at least literacy) have to translate everything in our lives. Everything at the bodily or physical level must be translated into verbal or scientific “meaning.” Meaning, the final kill.

Everything that is emotional must become verbal and physical. Hauntingly, in such works of art as “Baraan,” the emotional is bottled in its intensity, untranslated, sublimated. My shaikh urged me, at times, to avoid writing poetry about the spiritual, but to bottle it in:  in that state of pressure within – without contamination from the public eye and our attempts at translating the inward for that public eye – that is where things happen that are impossible to translate.

Our educated lives sever us increasingly from our elemental roots, forcing us into the brain, which is only part of our toolkit of processing experience.

And the body. On such days as today – an early autumn day in September – I am struck by my entire being’s attempt to simply be. It is the first week after an intense 4-month summer in Oklahoma, and Oklahomans are reeling from the first sweet taste of good weather. Air-conditioners are not running. We can enjoy the sensation of being outdoors without consequences. With my Muslim friends, I have also completed Ramadan. Suddenly, I am aware that I am unaware of my body even while my body is most at ease. Nerve endings are not constantly aware of heat and discomfort, and I am almost numb for pleasure in the mild sunshine. How much of our lives is spent in awareness of pain, discomfort, heat and cold, hunger and thirst, the sensation of clothing? How many of us do not have the option of freedom from those sensations?

Even on a day like this, you can see, my mind and my words disrupt the tranquil yet productive silence, and force their way through like weeds.

3 thoughts on “Perpetual translating”

  1. There you are, savouring the moment, unconditionally! So what is the silence supposed to be productive of?

    It must be obvious: I’m reading your posts backwards. Sorry.

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