I'm walking along on a path to the lake, talking to one of our dogs. A habit of mine. Maybe inherited from my mother, since she also liked to talk to herself.
Except when I talk to our dogs, I don't feel like I'm talking to myself. After all, there's a sentient being with large ears right next to me.
Tonight, though, a marvelous intuition suddenly flashed into my consciousness.
Virtually everything in the universe doesn't relate to words; apart from other people the cosmos doesn't give a crap about what we say.
I'd never thought of speech in this way. I felt good. Who says you can't teach an old dog brain new tricks? My mind had just popped up with a fresh insight that dominated my attention for the rest of the dog walk.
Pretty much wordlessly.
Because I'd been struck by the uselessness of blabbering in the words that usually course inwardly through our heads, and outwardly through our mouths, even when we aren't needing to converse with other people.
I've watched enough episodes of The Dog Whisperer to know that Cesar Milan is fond of saying to owners of problem dogs, "When you talk to your dog, all it hears is blah, blah, blah... mere noise." True. Dog communication happens in other ways.
Ditto with everything else in the cosmos aside from the infinitesimally small speck of humanness residing on our planet.
Nothing else on Earth understands human speech or thought. Rocks don't. Chairs don't. Dolphins don't. Flowers don't. Mountains don't. Likewise, so far as we know nothing at all off of Earth comprehends our words or ideas.
Stars don't. Planets don't. Intergalactic voids don't. Meteors don't. Black holes don't. Aside from members of the species Homo sapiens, the cosmos is wordless.
As I walked with our dogs, no longer speaking to Serena and Zu Zu in words, I realized how much closer I felt to them. Along with the rest of nature. Trees, hills, the lake, fallen leaves -- it all was just there. Uncaring of what I said or thought.
Yet not separate from me.
Small rocks on top of the earth dam that formed the lake spoke as my shoes crunched them together. Rain falling on my hat communicated its presence through sounds and sensations. Frogs woken into liveliness by a 50 degree-plus December day croaked a wordless "I'm here" as I passed.
We humans spend so much time and energy trying to explain to ourselves and others what the world is all about.
Yet the world, the universe, the cosmos -- it doesn't relate to words. It resonates on a different wavelength of consciousness, an alternate frequency from the blah, blah, blah of human speech and thought. So isn't it more than a little strange how much effort we put into talking about the way things are, and listening for a response from those things which are?
Only people will speak to us in words. I realize this assertion strikes at the heart of religiosity. Holy books supposedly come from the Mouth of God. Holy men and women supposedly channel divinity. Holy thoughts supposedly are inspired by a supernatural power.
I don't believe this.
Today's dog walk intuition is much more likely: human cognition is an irrelevant rounding error in the trillionth trillionth decimal place of an unfathomable cosmic equation.
The words, thoughts, and ideas of which we are so proud, and which we labor to make into a more accurate reflection of universal truth, are of no relevance to a reality that is almost entirely wordless, thoughtless, and idealess.
Which means... nothing.
What I've just said are a bunch of words, thoughts, ideas. During my mostly wordless dog walk I feel like I was in closer communion with the cosmos than I am now, writing this blog post. But, hey, that's what we humans do.
Wax and wane. Expand and contract. Live and die. Remember and forget. Open and shut. Approach and flee. We get so close... then lose the scent.
Words are the way, and also what get us lost.
Ideas and concepts, whether religious or otherwise, point to truth without being able to touch it. The greatest scientist, the greatest guru, the greatest artist -- their insights about what reality is all about amount to the same nothing as mine.
Because when you stack specks of human understanding against the inhuman cosmos, they become as irrelevant as words thrown in front of a tidal wave.