In any process of learning, growth or change, it’s terribly easy to get caught up in the illusion that you’re becoming “more”.
We send ourselves to school to get titles and degrees – to acquire knowledge and develop the intellect. We comb the far corners of the world to explore, see or experience more. We strive in our jobs and careers in order to become richer, promoted faster, or accredited and known in the process. We save and scheme and plan for a bigger house or more luxurious car, to live in a better neighborhood, or to send our kids to superior schools. Elite athletes train to break records, celebrities vie for more time in the spotlight and press than their peers, and politicians must outdo their opponents in fund-raising and face time to even get in the game.
Such is the metaphor for success in the modern world: climb, rise, move up, escalate, soar, transcend. Most days it feels like if you’re not advancing, you might as well not even get out of bed.
This is a serious pitfall for any seeker, because [click to continue…]
There inevitably comes a time on any journey when you question everything you know. Everything.
First, there’s the healthy questioning of what you were taught growing up. By this I mean the belief systems you were conditioned with — the result of religions, cultures, schools, races, rules, or even simply your generation. This is normal and natural since as we mature, our direct experience either does or does not align with these beliefs to support them and as the world changes, such beliefs either do or do not stand the test of time.
When direct experience doesn’t align or worse yet, is wildly contradictory to what we were taught, we realize such beliefs are someone else’s truth (or possibly even a complete lie) rather than our own. Most of us learn to trust our direct experience instead and build on that.
A personal life philosophy can work well for a while. Our seeking, searching, and questioning will eventually lead to answers, and direct experience will usually support our new found beliefs based on those answers. Until one day it doesn’t. That’s when you might arrive at a deeper, scarier, lonlier level of questioning.
I’m talking about that level of questioning. Yeah, the level you get to when you think, “What if all this I now believe to be true actually isn’t?”
In other words, “What I’m wrong? What if I think I have it all figured out and I don’t? What if it’s all wrong? What if what I now hold dear that made sense five minutes ago is all hocus?”
The following brief parable emailed to me by a friend brought this up: [click to continue…]