Spirit Grooves Blogs

Published on December 3, 2014

This series on music I call "Inscapes." Let me remind readers again where the word "inscape" came from and what it means. It came from the great poet Gerard Manley Hopkins and it means a lot.

An inscape is anything -- music, poem, photo, sign – whatever – that flags us down in our busy life and directs and points us inward (however slightly) toward the nature of the mind itself. Inscapes are pit stops on the road of our endless distractions, time-outs that refresh us and take us to the world of beauty within our own mind. Inscapes somehow catch our attention, distract us from our distractions, and allow us, even for a nanosecond, to rest in the true nature of our mind or anywhere in that general direction. I believe we do this all throughout the day whenever we can.

Although there is general agreement as to what is beautiful, our particular inscapes can be personal and some perhaps even unique just to our personality alone. And a terrible analogy is that of when my back goes out. There is no huge effort involved, but just the smallest "ping" and my back is gone again. Inscapes are like that, tiny signs on which a lot can turn.

I go walking in the woods, an escape from my busy day, and I am hurtling along, having just emerged outside from the busyness of living. It takes a while, but pretty soon some little leaf on a tree or flower in my path catches my attention and directs me inward. Before I know it I am inside again, breathing, relaxing.

I have found once more who I am and what is important, if only for a little while. It can be a nanosecond of rest. Sometimes I think that these brief moments of inscape in our day are what keeps us all from going crazy. In other words, beauty, art, music, poetry, etc. are not just extras. They are essential to our mind's well-being.

We do this all day long, every chance we can, and not just out in nature. We take a breath of rest and drop into an inner world and state beyond the rat race we too often run. We call it "beauty," but it is how we find beauty that is just as important, how we go inside. And that is where the concept of inscapes shines.

There is always some way, a pointer, a sign that we key-on that lets us slip inside what otherwise we had forgotten about in our busyness. And we are there again, alive, remembering to breathe and to smell the roses. For a time we are inside and free, while the outside roars on without us for a spell. And while that time of rest may be an afternoon, more often it is as short as a blink of an eye, but it is rest all the same, and it adds up.