This morning I had a thought, and then a counter thought, and I noted that the counter thought came from “deep down”: “While I know X to be true, deep down, I know that Y is more important.”
Then I put aside the consideration of X and Y and considered “deep down”. What is that peculiar place?
An awareness takes shape somewhere within us, a voice forms, and it seems to speak a different language, a familiar language that we translate until––sometimes in an instant, and sometimes over days and weeks, but eventually––meaning appears.
We call the source Deep Down and we imply that this is a place of truth, especially when we speak of others: “Deep down he knows what he did was wrong.” And when we take the time to reflect, Deep Down is the place of conviction: “Deep down I knew I had to quit my job and start painting again.”
In the abstract or with a third party, no one doubts the voice that comes from Deep Down. And often we go further. We celebrate it and suggest that it represents a mystical power. We go to psychics and readers to tell us what is knowable, deep down.
But most of the time in our waking lives, throughout our busy days and our complicated obligations, we diminish the oracle as the voice of fancy and, by one of the many clever shortcomings of the rational mind, we argue, we propose, we assure ourselves of falsehoods. But it is always there, this voice, this awareness. And the truth is, it is not “deep down” at all. It just comes from a place other than our brain, and so our brain––that equally mysterious source of ideas and thoughts––positions the oracle somewhere distant, through mist and shadow, far from the pragmatic grid plan of the city center.
And still the voice is there, always there, and yet we leap from distraction to distraction, calculations, conjectures, and logic. We ritualize the denial of the voice until it becomes separate from ourselves, some Siren on the far side of the chasm calling for you to leap.
If you think the voice of Deep Down is the voice of fancy, try this: sit in your living room and surround yourself with a television, a smartphone, a computer, a magazine, and a puzzle––whatever and as many objects you can gather that engage the rational mind––and measure how much time you can pass without choosing any of them. However long you make it, wait! Before you engage, go outside and sit under a tree for that same amount of time, and once you are free from the distraction of choice, see what your mind has to say. See what comes to the surface when all else fades away.
Whatever it is, you’ll know that it’s true, deep down.