Seeing Before Naming

Last week I was in Germany visiting a dear friend. On one of my days exploring Hamburg, I happened upon (and I love happening upon) a greenhouse.

Sprechen Sie Deutsch?

It wasn’t until I started walking through that I caught a glimpse of my near-OCD impulse to always read every sign about every plant and ecosystem, to get all the facts I can about them, to know. I caught this glimpse, I’m pretty sure, because I couldn’t read the signs; I don’t speak German.

So there I was, still in this wondrous greenhouse, words all around but gibberish to me, and the plants …  I felt my guard go down, so to speak, from my brain to the soft-tissue matrices of my myofascia and guts. (a great line to impress at a party!). All that was left for me was to smell, to touch, to sense in my gut what this plant, this community, was all about.

Reminded me of how we tend to relate to the body, too … [did you know I was going there? :) ].

We have a stupefying amount of information available to us about our various systems and organs and WBC counts and vitamin D levels.

And still, it seems, we often have a significant lack of a felt sense, of feeling before we give something a name.

I’m certainly not making a case that textbook knowledge about the body isn’t useful: if I break my leg, I want to the doctor who has a solid intellectual understanding of the arteries, veins, nerves, bones and muscles. (And in the case of plants, I’d sure want to know textbook stuff about the plant community if I were, say, in the wild and needing to eat some [though I’d venture to guess that kind of information is also available on more intuitive, non-intellectual levels, too]).

But on a day to day existence level … it seems pop-literature for both traditional and alternative medicines are full of: read this, understand this, and ultimately, buy this (either my idea or, most often, a product). Much less out there saying: well, this is pretty much all in German anyway, so why don’t you start by taking a deep look inside with all of your senses, see where that takes you …

One response to “Seeing Before Naming

  1. I like this. The felt sense can give us much information. welcome home.

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