I have been reading Julian Hoffman’s ‘the small heart of things – being at home in a beckoning world.’ It is a book full of epiphanies, the opening up of time to insight, understanding and a sense of unity.
One such moment occurred reading his description of seeing a pod of dolphins in a chapter entitled ‘An Accumulation of Light’. An accumulation of light is a good description of an epiphany. I don’t want to quote the whole section, because I want you to buy the whole book. But I do want to share two sentences which brings to an ecstatic climax the writer’s epiphany, but which also became an epiphany for me.
As he watches the dolphins he says, ‘I later realised how time had dissolved while we watched the dolphins. Past and future, and all the weight they carry, had folded into one clear, immeasurable moment.’
In the moment that I read this, and the moment still resonates with me, I was aware of the thoughts and feelings I was carrying, rooted in the past and the future, and how heavy those thoughts and feeling were. And then I realised I could let them go. This was an intuitively natural mindful moment.
To become aware how heavy the thoughts and feelings can be that are ruminating or worrying about the past and future is a great gift. Because then we can put them down. The lightness of being is in the present moment.
In poetic terms what Julian writes is what Edward Thomas, the nature poet, would call a ‘thought-moment.’ Edward Thomas was once called an ‘ecstatic walker.’ Julian Hoffman gets his inspiration from ecstatic walking, and in a mysterious process of alchemy, his nature writing becomes ecstatic writing. Ecstatic writing can become ecstatic reading.