COGITATE … and a peaceful walk

A Word Like Light: COGITATE

Friday, March 10, 2023

       It’s interesting to me that the word ‘cogitate’, which basically means ‘to think deeply’, derives from the Latin word ‘agitare’, meaning ‘to shake’. It does make sense, though, because thinking deeply certainly involves a shaking-up of thoughts and perspectives. Cogitating is like having the peaceful sea of our usual mind whipped a little so new ideas start rising and rolling along like new swells and waves. It’s a way of purposely disturbing our usual way of thinking so openness and innovation can start shining again. And yet, it’s not really something that I do by myself. Somehow, this vast and persuasive universe, of which I am a significant part, is constantly rousing up fresh thoughts for me to think, and all I have to do is sit silently and let the sea of my mind be tenderly shaken. I need to allow my mind to be stirred up if I want new ideas to start dancing. The universe is a friend, in this way, by flustering and ruffling my thoughts, and thus revealing new paths to take in the wonderful wilderness of life. In a very real way, our wise universe is always cogitating, always unsettling our thoughts so new and sometimes spectacular kinds of waves and currents can unfold in the boundless ocean of our minds. 


We took separate walks this morning – Delycia down River Road from the Peace Sanctuary into Mystic and back, and me up along the trails at the Sanctuary. I always love walking in these peaceful and serene woods beside the usually untroubled Mystic River. It’s like coming home to an always safe shelter.

(some scenes below)


 A Word Like Light: VISIT 

     Today, I will have the pleasure of paying a visit to countless places, events, people, thoughts, and feelings. I can think of myself as a free-lance wayfarer, stopping by now and then to visit with the various miracles of this world. I may occasionally stay awhile somewhere – maybe our sunny sunroom, and perhaps an especially peaceful place on the trail we will walk this morning. And I will not be the only wayfarer today. Thoughts will be arriving to visit with me all day – thoughts of all shapes and powers, stopping by to say hello and then move on – unless I ask them to hang around and share their wisdom. Feelings, too, will find a place to pause and visit inside me, and then quietly flow away, unless I find myself fascinated by them. Sunshine of some style or other will be continuously popping in for visits, and the sky will be a steady and friendly sojourner hour after hour. As I’ve been writing this, I’ve been getting more and more excited about all the visits I can make today, and all the interesting visitors who will call on me. Looks like this will be a day of dropping in and stopping by. Good for me – and good for the world!


A Word Like Light: HIGHWAY         

My life has sometimes felt like an endless traffic jam – as if I’m stalled amidst countless obstacles, trying to go somewhere but getting nowhere. It’s been so easy to feel befuddled and bottlenecked, like I’m living a totally sidetracked, jam-packed life. However – lucky for me – there are times now, in my 9th decade, when life seems to actually be a wide-open highway rolling freely toward limitless horizons, and I’m just peacefully passing along as freely as a cruising pleasure car. These are occasions when life feels like a clear, unclogged expressway welcoming me to move freely and effortlessly along, through problems and victories and sorrows and delights. What I’ve learned is the fortunate fact that all the slow-downs and stalls in my life are caused only by my own thoughts. Life itself is an infinitely widespread road that leads in endless directions toward boundless truths and wonders, and only my own thoughts can throw me off course and set me in a relentless traffic jam of fears and worries. The flawless and free highway of life is always here, ready to transport me on adventures that, be they happy or sad, can always be magnificently rewarding. I just have to have the car of my thoughts washed and tested and ready to roll. 



Monday, September 12, 2022

         Today, like all days, the universe will live simultaneously. I and all people and sliding snakes and well-prepared breakfasts and little yellow flowers will be existing in the present moment, at one and the same time. At the exact identical instant, several billion people, including me, will take in a new breath. Thoughts will flow in unison – kind ones and confused ones – in every nation, and feelings will roll along shoulder-to-shoulder everywhere, at the very same time. Whether we want to or not, we earth-dwellers live as a synchronized family. The universe is a vast and harmonious chorus, and today, as always, whether we know it or not, its song will be sung simultaneously, by one and all.  


Harmony helps us breathe,
brings the sky its newness,
and knows how sorrows sing
with well-balanced wisdom.
Old trees harmonize 
with the freshest sunshine,
and the youngest houses
help winter’s days
seem beautifully arranged. 
There are magnificent designs 
In breezes and noisy storms, 
and also in the clumsiness 
of our mistakes
and the occasional zigzagginess
of our days. 

Harmony will always
 quietly come to us
if we quietly ask.

“Harmony”, oil on panel by Ans Debije



Tuesday, August 16, 2022

         As my 80 years have passed, I have slowly realized, happily, that thinking is at the very heart of life, of reality, of the universe itself. Truly, I cannot get away from the process of thinking. Every single moment is actually a thought – a brand new opening and movement of consciousness, of awareness. Everything that happens, happens in consciousness. True, there do seem to be many ‘things’ outside of me, but it’s clear to me now that they actually exist within consciousness, or awareness – and not ‘my’ awareness, but the boundless awareness of life itself, of the ceaseless and mysterious universe itself. It’s fun for me now to picture the universe itself pondering and deliberating, and me as part of that thoughtful, ongoing process, participating in a vast and beautiful and endless mental exercise called ‘life’. Life, I see now, when I’m not lost in daydreams, is an adventure in thinking. New thoughts are constantly arising and sailing along in their wondrous freshness, and when I’m carefully watching, I see that I am always sailing with them. Each moment is never ‘things’, but always thoughts, and my job – lucky for me – is to stay still and observe with appreciation this astounding mental spectacle. 


these trees
may shelter some lost birds.
Their leaves may allow life 
to be a gift again to those birds, 
a treasure
they could take home to their nest.
he was thinking,
the timeless stars 
might display their light 
in flashes of splendor,
so that sorrowing children
might stare up and soothe themselves
with the reassurance
that life, like a soft broom,
will sweep the sorrow away.
there is simplicity
in the way my window closed
when I pushed it down,
just as there is simplicity
in the way the moon 
swings out from the trees 
to give its signal 
that worries should now
be set on the surface of rivers
and allowed to sink, 
for night and its holiness has come. 
he was thinking, 
some immense happiness
might be hurrying toward me
through the darkness, 
even as I sit here
in this small room
on this 



Monday, July 11, 2022

         This morning, when I raised the window shade in our bedroom, the daylight almost leaped into the room, something light seems to like to do. When I turn on a lamp in a dark room, the light instantly does away with the darkness, and headlights switched on can immediately transform a nighttime road with their brightness. I think, too, of the light a bright thought can instantly spread around my life. The sun can make my days shine, but what about the light of a single positive thought? What about the daylight a little confident thinking can quickly let into my life?   



Tuesday, June 21, 2022

            Delycia and I welcome people into our home every so often for tea or dinner, and I am realizing that I should be more welcoming to the thoughts that move through the home of my mind. A steady line of thoughts constantly passes through my life, and I want to learn to welcome them all, even those filled with fear or dismay or discouragement. What I am slowly understanding is that my thoughts are not me, but fairly frail and short-lived whispers that will slip smoothly away if I just stand aside, observe them in a welcoming way, and then let them quietly leave. I could welcome thoughts of fear, for instance – politely listen to them, let them take their time passing through, and then see them to the door and down the road. I’m learning that thoughts are as harmless as I allow them to be – simply evanescent voices that will soon disappear if I stand by with something like a smile.

Below are scenes from our wonderful walk on Sunday with Aaron on Mt. Ascutney (NH) …