He emerged from the moors – not as a young man – and he competed in a series of seemingly improbable physical challenges – sprinting, endurance runs, climbing, throwing. He ran faster and longer; he jumped further and higher; he threw further – than any other. And then he merged back into the moors from whence he came. Moving away from any specific details which I might be in danger of getting ‘wrong’, let me reframe the story about Wilson.
He discovered powers from someone and from what he experienced in life and of life. He tuned in to what was happening in his universe and he learned to use the powers of the Universe. What did he come to know – not simply in his head but also in his very being – what was it that he was able to translate into being his Being? What powers was he able to access not only in the act of running and jumping and throwing, but also in the moving living breathing of his life; his emerging from the moors and his merging back into them?
Whatever scale we observe life at (atomic, cellular, individual, community, planet, galaxy, universe) we find repeating patterns – fractals. It is through noticing the patterns, that it becomes possible to discern what is shaping or influencing them. Wilson did this. He noticed the patterns and he noticed the nature of the ‘actions’ and ‘behaviours’ of the universe around him; then he moulded his way of being to become them. He became a living being example of them; he became the pattern of ‘life’ that is self-sustaining, rejuvenating, enduring; the periodic pattern of life that resonates in a balance between action and stillness; in and out; up and down; creation and destruction; doing and resting; emptiness and fullness; engaging and disengaging.
Of course I am making this up – just as Wilson was a fictional character. Or am I – was he? Did all this come from nowhere? Or did it come from the enquiry I was engaged in last week, into what is taken away and what gifts are given by ‘adding in’ and ‘letting go’; or did it come from the story I read earlier today that a friend sent me, that reminded me of Wilson which then reminded me of my Dad who first told me about him; my Dad, whom I rang to clarify the story about Wilson, which sent me on to google to search for The Wizard which introduced Wilson to us; all of which took me back to a time in which I didn’t live and yet today, I found myself inhabiting that time and wondering about how come the creator of Wilson came to create character and what went before in his life and onwards back in time …. I am in all those other places and times and yet I am here in this place, ‘Rocksalt’, Leith. It is 3rd February 2011. This is the nature of the universe. It is relative to me and centered on me, just as it is relative to and centered on you.
One could say that the elements for this article have been alive in me, in the universe, without form, existing as potential, arguably forever, ‘waiting’ for the right ‘something’ to interact with in order to show up. I have been busy waiting for ‘something’ to come to me ….. and then I realised that something was missing ….. space. So, this morning when I added in ‘space’ by coming to somewhere less cluttered, all other elements ‘decided’ it was time to move into an (arguably) coherent form – this article. In quantum physics we know that things stay in an indeterminate state, where all possibilities are open, for as long as possible…. and then only at the last minute, does ‘form’ emerge albeit, momentarily. Is this what has happened in giving birth to this piece of writing?
William Wilson was a character in the comic, The Wizard, coming to life in 1943. He was a character of the imagination and yet, as with any fable, ‘truth’ shines through – at some level, be it literal, metaphorical, emotional, philosophical, archetypal. It is as if, through story and imagery we can come to a knowing beyond the limiting noise of words of explanation. When I, as a 12 year old, read ‘The Truth about Wilson’, I was utterly captivated by the possibility of the apparent truths he conveyed – about how to maximise the resting potential of the ‘space’ between each power-ful, action stride in his running. That space is the hanging moment when a runner is literally in the air between one foot pushing off the ground and then the other landing to do the same. We can view this space as empty and therefore useless or a waste of time OR we can view it as full – rest-ful, full of resting and creative potential. And when we hold it as the latter, how compelling and attractive do those moments become? It is out of these rest-ful moments that power-ful creative action becomes possible.
I am grateful to Wilson that I am re-minded of the potency of spaciousness. I understand now why I struggled to get to the point of being able to write this month’s article and why Wilson re-entered my life: I was running with my feet so close to the ground, and my cadence so fast that I had no gloriously, spacious resting moments hanging in the air between my pounding strides. And now… the space is full of emptiness, as am I; and the page is full.
© Louie Gardiner
3rd February 2011