The world where I happen to live has gone to sleep. The trees have lost their leaves. It is as if the spirits of the plants and the trees have withdrawn to wherever it is they withdraw to until the springtime warmth summons them back once more. The light of the sun takes on a paler hue and no longer warms the skin. Fields, once heavy with their load of grains and grasses waving joyously in the breeze, are denuded and tawny brown, awaiting their blanket of snow. There is a frozen stillness to the land which, unless we guard against it, can creep into our hearts and numb us to sleep as well.
But the City abides. It hunches its shoulders against the cold and goes on with its business. Crowds still inhabit its streets and sidewalks, but the sun of their summer smiles has paled too. They move a little quicker and take less heed of their surroundings. The park benches find few friends, and when they do, the relationship is short-lived. Life seems to have withdrawn inside, just as with the plants and trees.
In ancient days this was a time for introspection, circumspection… individual and collective. Today?
The City ploughs on with the task at hand, heedless of the ceaseless round of the seasons. It doggedly imposes its own rhythm on the world it inhabits. Time, the daily round of the sun, the yearly round of the seasons and the passing of the years themselves have little bearing on its singleminded purpose.
And you and I? As citizens of the City we conform to its implacable rhythm, become cells in the greater civic organism. Oh sure, now and then we balk, assert our independence or cry out for freedom from the daily round of toil, question its validity, or yearn for something we never quite succeed in putting our finger on. We take holidays, get away, maybe even move to the country to enjoy some kind of idyllic small town life.
But do we ever truly escape the City?
Being a state of mind, a state of soul, it is all but inescapable….
Or is it?
“Can you listen to me completely silently, without any interference of thought?—Seeing that the moment you try to do this you are already in thought. …It is only in that [thought-free] state you understand and act with action that is non-fragmentary.” —Krishnamurti, You Are The World