What Is Holding It Together?

Nora Bateson

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Awakin FeatureFor you, a respite of uncontainability. Safe pages for words, to taste them as they find their rightness. Let them rest in their silky beds of lyrical dreams. Let them run like rivers down mountain-sides, arranging curves and switches where the textures change. Thoughts yet unmet arrive in cloaks of language, becoming bards to take you where you can see that you are wide inside. 

Words are delicious, but cannot say much. They often lose the water of meaning before it is delivered. But they can be stirred to form descriptions of the breath, glances, gestures, and pulses between lives. Perhaps writing is finding a scrape in the skin of knowing, where the sting and dirt and blood of the day is let out, and music is let in. 

There is no language to define the spiraling processes of the vast context we are participants in. We do not have names for the patterns of interdependency. To lock down the delicate filigree of life in explanation is to lose it, but not to see it is disastrous. Words are what we have. The why, of why we do anything at all, matters. 

 An inside-out kaleidoscope—a de-fragmenter—might be useful for looking at a fractured order through a lens of unity. A superhero in a comic book might have such a tool at her belt. The way we see affects what we do, in both the broad strokes of global study, and the details of a day. Playing with the limits of our perception, our knowing, and tweaking the cultural script is like using a lemon juice wash to reveal the invisible ink and unspoken scaffolding we inhabit. 

The ink of interrelationship bleeds across the boundaries between professionalism, academic research, and the banality of daily life. Theory and philosophy are stained with the mundane and both are vis-à-vis. What holds this collection of sightings together? What holds anything together? Glue is superficial, so not that. Thread is better, sewing, mending the torn-apart seams of perception—possibly. It is the right question—what is holding it together?—and the question alone might be the source of inquiry. Surely a search for the elegance in a mess of weighted compensations, and river-washed shapings of the context of life, is enough of a spine. Perhaps?

Nora Bateson's excerpt from the opening chapter of her book, Small Arcs of Larger Circles.

Seed questions for reflection: What comes up for you when you lean into the inquiry, 'What is holding it together?' Can you share a personal experience of a time you looked at fractured order through a lens of unity? What helps you see the delicate filigree of life without needing to lock it in explanation?

Add Your Reflection:

9 Previous Reflections:

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    On Mar 26, 2019 Anne Adams wrote:
    Perhaps it's already together, and has been forever so - Then the question is: How can we know, feel - CELEBRATE - it?

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    On Mar 24, 2019 Jagdish P Dave wrote:
    According to my understanding inquiry made with an open mind and an open heart holds different forms of life including nature together. In such togethernessall man-made boundaries melt away and we realize harmony, unity and oneness.

    I experience of de-fragmented unity when I let my heart be touched by the caressing hands of people in my life and when I reach out and place my caringhandson someone's achingshoulders.

    Inner silence without words of explanation helps me to see the delicate filigree of life. Seeing the inner light needs the inner eyes to be open without clouds of thoughts.

    1 reply: Amen | Post Your Reply
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    On Mar 24, 2019 David Doane wrote:
    What is holding it all together is a force more than material reality, beyond time and space, beyond quantum reality. It is a force that is eternal and infinite, with no beginning and no end. It is a force called by many names including Consciousness, Eternal Source, Great Spirit, Being, Yahweh, Brahman, and God, each a word pointing at something that is undefinable and incomprehensible. All that is is a one piece delicate filigree, and the challenge for us is to see it as such and not disintegrate it by our words or action. Alan Watts said we divide in thought what is one in nature. It is we who fracture the delicate filigree. I have grown in my ability to at times look at fractured order through a lens of unity. I know that explanation accomplishes nothing and is frequently stultifying, so I'm seldom tempted to lock the delicate filigree of life in explanation. Rumi stated that silence is the language of God, and all else is a poor substitute. I prefer awe regarding the delicate ... [View Full Comment] What is holding it all together is a force more than material reality, beyond time and space, beyond quantum reality. It is a force that is eternal and infinite, with no beginning and no end. It is a force called by many names including Consciousness, Eternal Source, Great Spirit, Being, Yahweh, Brahman, and God, each a word pointing at something that is undefinable and incomprehensible. All that is is a one piece delicate filigree, and the challenge for us is to see it as such and not disintegrate it by our words or action. Alan Watts said we divide in thought what is one in nature. It is we who fracture the delicate filigree. I have grown in my ability to at times look at fractured order through a lens of unity. I know that explanation accomplishes nothing and is frequently stultifying, so I'm seldom tempted to lock the delicate filigree of life in explanation. Rumi stated that silence is the language of God, and all else is a poor substitute. I prefer awe regarding the delicate filigree of life.[Hide Full Comment]

    1 reply: Amen | Post Your Reply
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    On Mar 23, 2019 aJ wrote:
    Love, (not “the feeling” but “the decision” ... The God, Who ISLove), holds everything together. Hate, the exact opposite of Love, tears apart ... destroys ... seeks to intimidate and control. My faith in Truth helps me to see the delicate nature of life without needing to lock it in explanation. God can explain ... I cannot ... but, perhaps, one day It will become clear.

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    On Mar 22, 2019 sheetal wrote:
    We attended funeral of a friend's mother this morning. It felt like everyone around became aware of their own time coming..sooner or later.
    As i opened this passage it dawned on me that thread of life ends at death, and the realization that we are all slowly coming to the end of the thread, holds life together. Then, there is unity...all of us are dying! Not out of fear of death, but out of the urgency to live fully, till it ends, which means to love fully irrespective and beyond our beliefs, actions, stature in life or words we are known by or we speak. This love which words may fail to explain is what delicate filigree of life can hold.

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    On Mar 21, 2019 susan schaller wrote:
    The ink of interrelationship, the magical river called language, connecting us to each other, to things and to those who have been dead for centuries. Yet words are not as full as we can be and are. As both St. Augustine and the Buddha said, "They are just fingers pointing to the moon." Only I can experience the moon, but I am so grateful others and their words pointed me toward the light and away from the dark.

    1 reply: MarkW | Post Your Reply

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