Wednesday, March 17, 2010

"Understanding life? " Seriously, do I give a toss??

 "Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans" John Lennon

So you know I'm given to the proverbial gazing. Some people who are also thus inclined might call it analyzing or reflecting or philosophizing but I shall stick with 'naval gazing'.

Here's why.  I've had this radical thought.  At least, it's radical to me.  Now, please pay very close attention 'cos if you don't, you'll miss it completely as it comes in a very short sentence. Ready?

When you think of something, 
you think of it as other than you.

If you didn't get that, I suggest you stick with it until you do or the rest of what I'm about to say will probably not make sense.  (I know, I know, some of you are wondering if anything I've said so far does, but stick with me and you might be enlightened a tad.  No, I take that back.  You're enlightened or you're not.  No degrees of enlightenment, I'm afraid).

(Think: Thinker, Thought, Object of thought.).

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So, why is this thought that my brain stew has bubbled so radical?

Not only do I promise to underwhelm you with the answer, I'll bore you even further by telling you how I came upon it.  (This must be your lucky day).

Anyhow, here's how it works.  You have a thought, say, you think about your hand.  And clearly, you're thinking of it as something other than the 'you' that's thinking it, the thinker, if you like.  In other words, the thought  has separated you, the thinker, from the object of your thought i.e. your hand.

Or take a thought you have about yourself ten years ago.  You're thinking of someone other than the you that's currently thinking the thought.

Even when you're thinking the thought 'I' or 'me', as for example in, "I'm typing", the person who's typing and the person who's thinking of the person who's typing are not the same.  At least, not in your mind.

You see, thought is a separating device.  It separates the thinker from that which is thought about (the object of the thought).  If it didn't, it wouldn't be a thought.

Right, you say, and what's all this got to do with the price of underwear?

Calvin Klein Men's Steel Micro-Low Rise Trunk,Watermelon (R75),Large   Hanro Women's Simply Satin Hi-Cut Brief, Black, Medium

Here's where I tell you how I came to be thinking this radical thought.  (BTW It may be radical to me but it's not new by any stretch of the imagination.  Many spiritual sages and philosophers came upon it long before killing was turned into a spectator sport or philosophy was given its name).

You see, someone had raised this question in a discussion: Is contrast needed to understand life?

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Now, please don't get phased or distracted by this thing called 'contrast'.  I assure you it's irrelevant to my insight.  What is relevant, however, is this thing called 'life'.  I mean, what is it for goodness sake?  Or more importantly, what do people mean when they talk about 'life'?

If you're still with me, you'll see that I'm about to tie up all the loose ends with one gloriously astounding observation that's making a rare, once-in-a-light-year appearance.  Yes, here it comes (drum roll):

As soon as we think the thought 'life', 
we've separated ourselves from it.

And that, of course, would be absurd, wouldn't it?

Now, it's a separation in a manner of speaking of course because life is all there is and it's not possible to separate yourself from 'all there is', unless you think that you're not part of 'all there is', in which case, what would you be? Part of 'all there is not'?  That'd be an absurdity to the nth degree which is impossible because, like enlightenment, the switch is either on or of.  You know?

Which therefore brings me to a rather dreary yet sobering conclusion:

Why bother trying to understand 'life'?  That really would be naval gazing, wouldn't it? I mean, our time would be far better spent just life-ing, wouldn't you say?

Or, if I might borrow some of Lennon's words

"Life is what happens when you're busy naval gazing"



  1. Scott DuBar ( said...

    When you ask "Why bother to try to understand life," you seem to be suggesting a mental or academic type of understanding. In this case I would wholeheartedly agree that there is no point to trying to understand life in that way because life is infinite; the mind if finite.

    However, I would argue that true understanding happens only when we transcend the mind and identify ourselves instead with the true source of our being.

    But that's just my two cents...

    March 27, 2010 9:11 AM

  2. In case anyone is wondering, the comment above was left in the previous post so I've copied and pasted it in this post to which it is related. And here's my response :

    "...when we transcend the mind and identify ourselves instead with the true source of our being." is something that is so worth doing but is, in my experience, not likely to happen through naval gazing or intellectual deliberation as you've said.

    I feel the greatest sense of oneness/transcendence when I become very mindful and that can happen in sitting meditation or it can happen when I am engaged in other activities.

    I have to say that this kind of experience goes beyond understanding. It is as if the intellect gives way to an awareness that ‘sees’ without attempting to organize. Make sense?

    I really do appreciate your 2 cents worth. I consider it extremely valuable :)



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