Tuesday, September 4, 2012

We Forget


We know.

As children, we're told that we don't know anything, especially our place. But that's not true. We understand the world and our place in it. We understand that the universe is an amazing and mysterious place, far beyond our power to comprehend it. We intuit that life is an adventure and in order to get the most of the adventure we have to attend to, experience and appreciate as fully as we can.

In understanding this, we are above our thoughts about the world and our role in it. Those thoughts, conclusions and assumptions simply don't matter as much as our fascination and wonder. We dwell in "Wow!"? more than "Why?"? We listen without predisposition, motive or bias. And life listens to us in the same way. This is the essence of Transcendent Love, this quality of attention.

We know. And then we forget. As we grow up, we actually grow down, from transcendent to subordinate.

We forget that while the universe created us, upon our creation we thenceforth create the universe.

We forget that the stars we see are not really the stars, but their long, curved tails of light. We forget that we can't step into the same river twice. We forget that everything is like the stars and the river, constantly moving, changing, new and unique, always ahead of and different from what we perceive.

We forget that we are not two; that things are not separate and autonomous as they appear, but that all is related, of common origin, relative, complementary and, thus, connected. We forget that starlight depends on darkness, wet on dry, prickles on goo.

We forget that we try to stabilize our world by recreating it, by ignoring differences and assuming similarities, because our fear of the unknown causes us to want to experience things as patterned and coherent.

We forget that we name, associate and reason: we abstract. We kill with reductionism that we may live, thus reduced. We forget that whatever we say a thing is, it isn't; that the finger pointing at the moon is neither the moon nor the "finger."? We forget that our language makes us what we are, that we have a 10-cent vocabulary with which to describe $10 experiences of $100 events.

We forget that we're limited creatures, that we cannot know what's really going on here on Planet Earth. We cannot know what events really are because our senses are limited and biased by our environment – the environment to which they've adapted and within which they've evolved.

In the process of forgetting our limitations, we also forget that our assumptions are limited. The most absurd assumption is that of objectivity. We forget that events don't determine experiences, experiences determine events.

Forgetting how we're limited is one thing. To forget how we're limited is to forget content or what we're dealing with. It causes us to misinterpret events and respond inappropriately. But forgetting that we're limited is far more serious. To forget that we're limited is to forget context, our very nature. When you lose sight of who you are you cease being able to distinguish truth from falsehood, the real from the unreal, love from hatrid.

The philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard, said "The present state of the world and the whole of life is diseased. If I were a doctor and asked my advice, I should say: Create silence."? Silence is the space in which we listen to ourselves, and it is by such listening that we remember.

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