Monday, February 19, 2007

Dawning comprehension


I participated in the Landmark Forum this weekend hoping I would discover new tools for tackling those fears and problems that I felt were taking up too much of my energy. I wanted to free myself up to pursue a happier, more fulfilled life. I walked away with full and complete comprehension of three things: that I would always experience fear, that I would always have problems, and that the tools I wanted were too small, too specific. Instead of discovering the magic wand that would make fears and problems disappear, I now have something more important: the tools to live an extraordinary life despite these difficulties. Now all I need is practice!

One of the things that really hit home with me this weekend was the distinction between knowing a thing, and comprehending it. I have a tendency to collect knowledge, to learn as much as I can about something in hopes of finding the answer(s) to my questions. But answering my questions about a thing does not mean I comprehend it, that its mystery has unfolded for me, that I have truly 'gotten' it.

This weekend I learned how incomplete my understanding of what it means to be human is. How incomplete my understanding of the human condition is. A lifetime of empathy, two years of therapy, years of gathering information and evidence, of reading books like Tolle's The Power of Now and Heidegger's Being and Time and Batchelor's Buddhism Without Beliefs--I learned much from these things, and I intuited some wisdom from them, but my understanding was (not surprisingly) incomplete.

My viewpoint was too fixed, too limited, too focused on questions and answers and meanings. I was asking questions and then neglecting to question the answers until the point of irreducibility. For example, the question at the heart of all human angst is: What is the meaning of life? And the answer I arrived at was: Life has whatever meaning I ascribe to it. And I was close, oh god I was so fucking close, but my understanding was incomplete. The answer to the question What is the meaning of life is, Life has no meaning in and of itself. Life is simply life. This is irreducible--it has been stripped of all romantic notions and religious interpretations. One might even think that this answer also strips life of all hope of meaning anything. However, (and this distinction is the most important part) our lives, individually, have whatever meaning and purpose we choose to create for our lives.

My life has whatever meaning and purpose I choose for it. Now that is a powerful statement. And arising out of the flowering of that powerful and empowering comprehension is a question far more powerful and pertinent than What is the meaning of life. It is, What meaning and purpose do I choose to create for my life? And the answer, right now, is, I don't know. Yet. I need to find a problem that I feel is worthy of my life, of dedicating my life to. For now, I choose to create the possibility of being consistently awake to the fact that I am perfect, complete and whole as I am, of passionate commitment to loving myself as I am right now, and being open to the possibilities that love brings into my life and the world. Baby steps, right?

(I enjoyed re-reading my blog entry from 9 days ago. I've taken 'choice' to the next level, I think.)

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3 Comments:

Blogger kujmous said...

You will never truly understand anything until you take the time to teach the subject to another. Now you must find a student.

...and a ruler.

4:23 PM, February 19, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear K,
You are exceptionally fearful and exposed here. I am seeing a woman who is at the moment similarly vulnerable to her fears. We're going to read your reflection together. Perhaps it will help her -- and you.

Michael

6:43 PM, February 25, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes Kay, you are perfect as you are, as we all are. People tend to forget that outward appearence really doesn't matter, and what's really important can't be seen with eyes, can only be seen by the heart. Society tends to judge people based on appearence. When they finally relize this, the world will become a better place. You commented about purpose of life? I've always felt, a major part of it is how we influence others, how we're a role model. You have shared so much beauty with your readers in Love, nature, life etc. Is this being a positive role model? yes it is. I can only tell about myself, how I look at many things differently since I've been reading your materials. As I've called you before "My Teacher"
I offer my sincere thanx for you being you.

BTW Happy Birthday

Jim

7:42 PM, February 27, 2007  

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