How is it that so many people today want a quick fix, an instant solution, the immediate answer, or the "magic bullet?" The most enjoyable aspects of life are those that are a journey, even with the trials they bring. A reward that comes too easily is hardly a prize. Enlightenment, although trite in today's usage, is still all about transcending the mundane, the physical boundaries that bind our bodies, the intellectually programmed notions of limitation. It means the spiritual nobility of the truth in "knowing." But what is there to know?
We with a Western mindset expect an answer to every question. Although we're aware of questions for which there really are no answers -- such as "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?" -- most of us persist in our expectations that a question deserves an answer. And just as persistently, we often ask questions that distract from or fail the test of a genuine inquiry because they're circular, such as the egg question or my favorite: "How high is up?"
We all have many implicit assumptions about life, our perceptions, our beliefs and everything else that's perceived as knowable. We rely on these assumptions, as we must for many aspects of life, such as recognizing appropriate behavior. When we see inappropriate actions, we tend to think of them as being inherently wrong, rather than acknowledging that we're making a judgment -- or more specifically, that that judgment was programmed into us by our societal beliefs. Most of us also fail to recognize the implicit nature of language. A common example of this is the notion of everyday descriptions. To say that a table is square assumes that it isn't rectangular or round. Still, many don't notice descriptions of this nature, and therefore follow-up questions that ask for both the length and the width of the table are regarded as curious to say the least. (A square presupposes that the length and the width are the same.)
How is it that thinking people can ignore the critical nature of inquiry and so easily cop to a simple -- even oversimplified -- answer? It may make them feel enlightened, but it's quite the opposite. Perhaps that's a partial explanation for why so many people today are addicted to a special form of perennial self-help. Not that that's all bad, it's just that at some point they must stop simply taking in information and begin acting on it, or it isn't helping them.
Ask the Questions
The Hermann Hesse novel "Siddhartha" tells the story of enlightenment. It isn't something a person can give to anyone else. The closest the greatest guru can come is to ask the questions that will lead us inward to search for meaning. This quest is the journey. The answer isn't out there -- trite but true. Instead, it's within each of us. We don't get there by meditation alone, though, and that's why there are so many different yogas. In our modern world, one full of continual informational stimulation, the yoga of the intellect begins by questioning assumptions -- all of them. One-liners, quips, sound bites and the like typically fall very short of the truth.
I would encourage all of you at this time to take a look around and within. Ask yourself sincerely: What is it that I believe that I could not let go of? Then ask yourself: What is it that I know based wholly on my own experience? If you're like most, you'll discover a very large gap between the two.
I believe that the story of who we are is told in our lives. If we look long and hard, we all discover the answers to our deepest questions because they are revealed in our experience. Here's to your experience for it is ultimately who you are in the here and now -- an experience experiencing!
I welcome your opinion and thanks for the read.