April 22, 2011 at 7:44 AM 2 comments

Encounter. I have recently been introduced to a wonderful way of thinking about that word. Mm… encounter. I can feel it, strongly pulsing in my body. I feel it resonate. I taste it, salty in my mouth. This word gently nudges me into a new mindset. Encountering versus recognizing. This came to affect me when my professor commented on my class blog, and she quoted a book. I am so grateful that she was willing to share that with me. I still feel the word, humming inside of me, swerving in and out of my mind and through my aorta. It is everywhere inside of me. I feel like the only way you will fully be able to experience the gears turning in my mind is if I share with you the very same quotes shared with me, from the book “Invoking Mnemosyne“.

“Something in the world forces us to think. This something is an object not of recognition but of a fundamental encounter. What is encountered may be Socrates, a temple or a demon. It may be grasped in a range of affective tones: wonder, love, hatred, suffering. In whichever tone, its primary characteristic is that it can only be sensed. In this sense it is opposed to recognition…”

“To recognize an object, a concept, a subject is fundamentally different than to encounter it. Recognition is characterized by resemblance, repetition, “a first step toward a much more general postulate of representation. IN the act of recognition, we confirm our beliefs, our knowledge about ourselves and our world, as that which we already understand. When we recognize, we see “that which offers itself as common-sensical, obvious, natural, given or unquestionable. and, that being the case, we’ve no real need, no inclination to think.

With an encounter however, we are forced to think. Encounters disrupt, dislodge, disconfirm our usual modes of being, our habitual sense of the way things are or ought to be, including our sense of our selves. ”

My professor went on to say, “I think when we hear ourselves say, “that reminds me of…” we are recognizing.”

My brain was whirling with thoughts and activity, but moreover I could feel something happening inside of my core. Something shifting and allowing light onto experiences I have had lately. Is it possible to re-encounter something in our lives? I believe it is. I believe that if we aren’t careful, if we aren’t aware, we can very easily let something sacred and sensual slip into recognition. We can allow all of the things that we think we know give us a sense of security and protection, which slowly forms the encounter into recognizing a situation/religion/problem/person/emotion.

Do we encounter love or do we recognize it? Do we encounter God, or do we recognize God? Do we encounter our friends, family, and co-workers or do we recognize them? Do we freak out when the patterns we recognize change, because we have lost the way we encounter various scenarios in our lives? What would happen if we let ourselves encounter the world, instead of recognizing it? What would happen if we felt the world, instead of letting the things we think we know about it shape our world views? What if we encountered God, on a personal level, instead of recognizing the rules that are placed on us by what the world thinks they know about God?

What if? What if? What if? What are we encountering, what are we recognizing? Do we encounter differences, or do we recognize them?

Happy Adventures,


Entry filed under: Food For Thought, Gratitude. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Compassion Something About You

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Grace Jones  |  April 23, 2011 at 11:45 AM

    Good thoughts, Heather!
    While I was reading this I couldn’t help of think of the song we sing at church.
    ‘what if my love was loud, sharing this joy I’ve found. Would hearts refrain from giving praise.’

    I think if we live our life showing others the joy we have from encountering Christ, others would want to know Him more.

    • 2. Heather  |  April 23, 2011 at 11:44 PM

      I love that song. ❤


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