What a beautiful term, "Self Evident." We are each self evident. We may perhaps never question that we exist. The difficulty I have is that what I'd like to explain is self evident to me and so explaining it can be challenging, much like trying to explain the color red to someone else who is accustomed to seeing only shades of black and white. This is not to say that seeing only black and white is a bad or lesser thing. It is instead saying that for one who does see red, it's difficult to want to go back to seeing black and white and sharing the color red brings the appreciation of the seeing itself and reminds one that red is as true and beautiful an experience as sight itself.
I begin my own thoughts from the basic premise that all existence must be within one creative source. Such a perspective, or even premise, will allow anyone who is willing to truly think through their own questions to see that what I will be saying is truly self evident. The challenge is to accept our own nature which is largely foreign to the ways of thinking that are part of the life experience we are all in right now. At the same time, it is clear that there is no right way to live other than to live. A happy and sad life may provide exactly what is needed for that part of all at this time. So I understand that to discover the nature of our own existence is no more important that any other way we may seek fulfillment. The road to self fulfillment is exactly that, a road forged by the individual and who better to choose one's path that the individual who will be walking that path.
That said, the fact that I'm writing this suggests that my self fulfillment includes the offering of my thoughts in the form of this material. I prefer to see myself as I truly am and not live in a context that is not reflective of who and what I truly am, even if that self truth is not at first comfortable. We tend to not change that which we accept as truth and yet life is change. So I feel that if I am changing, it's best to do that with an awareness of my own thoughts, feelings and emotions which are what drives the change anyway. Since I very much respect this approach and have found it to be worthy of such respect, I share it not because I feel it's necessarily what is best for everyone, but because it's of value. I expect that for those who are at a point in their lives where such an approach is becoming more of what they need, this will provide the encouragement to pursue their own individual path and ideas that can serve as springboards to new personal discovery. So while it may not be any more important than any other approach, it is important to those who are beginning or are on an independent path. It's of limited value to be like others with whom we find no sense of nourishment or self fulfillment.
Why Explain Our Views? Agreement and Connection
What is real? What people feel is real mostly, if not completely, requires some form of agreement with other people. To have only one's self to rely upon to determine what is real is not something that the average person is able to grapple with. Those who do are usually considered to be mentally ill, which is not always the case. It's not a particularly safe feeling to be very different from others in our views of what is real. Even those of us who do see things very differently doubt themselves and sometimes even wish they could live ignorant of what they feel they understand. But ignorance is not bliss in the long run. What is, is, and to run from that is like trying to not be who you are deep inside. It's not a durable sense of happiness because it's in denial of what is really true.
As evidence of how important it is for people to find agreement amongst others in terms of who they see the world, we need only look to organized religion. Those of you who are reliant upon organized religion need not be offended by what I'm about to say or even feel in any way lessened by my comments. In many ways I would like to be part of such fellowship, but that's just not part of my nature. Also, remember this, I truly believe that everything is of value. I do, however, feel it's better to understand what we are doing than to be blind of our own reasons for what we choose in life. I will speak from my own life experience to lessen the seemingly negative impact on organized religion of what I'm about to explain.
There was a time when it was important to me to help others understand what I felt I understood. I had a great need to help others. For a long time I had glimmers of ideas that I needed others to understand and agree with. I felt that others could really improve their lives by what I was trying to convey and I was aware that was my most dominate motivation. Because what I was saying was so different from the ideas held by those I would speak with, I often felt unsatisfied and even a sense of rejection. In the early days the sense of rejection would lead to self doubt about the ideas which made so much sense to me. I would find that part of me tired of thinking so differently and yet my past showed me that to deny these deep feelings was not gong to make me happy.
This helped me to see that I wasn't just interested in helping others, I was interested in a greater common bond, a bond that didn't usually come from sharing my spiritual ideas. I often felt very alone because of this. I recognized that I needed to pay more attention to why I was really choosing to discuss spiritual ideas that usually didn't seem to create a closer bond with others. Was it really helping anyone? I truly felt it was, but it wasn't helping me in the sense that I wasn't feeling good about the spiritual discussions after they were over. While talking, I usually felt like what I was doing was very heartfelt and like I was providing a great service and yet afterwards I felt empty and alone because it was clear that I had few people to lean on with similar ideas and that no amount of talking about would change that dynamic.
So what was going on? Was I tying to get agreement and if so, why? I most certainly was trying to get agreement, mostly because with agreement we gain commonality and a stronger bond, which is a good feeling. Also, when we reach a mutual understanding about life, we have a greater faith in what we believe. But to need others to help me believe in what I thought I already fully believed was just a statement to me that I didn't really believe what I was saying to the degree that I thought I did.
What I also realized was that understanding the deeper nature of life was important to me. Anyone close to me would need to find that of interest of else they would lose interest in our relationship. They wouldn't be nourished by it, nor would I. I also felt that to withhold the expression of what I was passionate about in order to retain relationships was not respectful of my needs, who I was, or of my belief that we are here to share ourselves. It was up to others to decide the value of the relationship they had with me.
Now I came to realize that I was not much different than anyone else in an organized religion who tries to help others by sharing their views. The dynamics were very similar. The sense that we are helping others and the seeking of agreement of others to foster a sense of security about our own ideas and create closer bonds of friendship due to shared interests. The only significant differences I could see was that I wanted people to think for themselves and bond out of a sense of a mutual search and willingness to question all that we feel that we know. The quote, "The great obstacle to progress is not ignorance, but the illusion of knowledge" comes to mind. I would see that as applying to others and remind myself that I too did not want the sense of knowledge to keep me from discovering what new truths were available for me to discover.
Self Awareness of Our
Motivations and Independent Thinking
When we are aware of why we do what we do, change occurs much more readily. We are clearer on what we are doing and why which helps us direct ourselves more appropriately. We can find better channels within which to nourish our needs. When it comes to a true desire to understand the nature of reality, it's important to remember that many answers do not come out of a consensus with others but out of great inspiration.
Einstein did not seek consensus over truth. He sought to understand and used his own thinking process to help guide him in his search in spite of its apparent conflict with prevailing thought. Without the willingness to go beyond prevailing thought we would never get past our own limited thinking. What is, is, and can be challenged over and over and will always bring us greater understanding, not less. We may come to see just how little we really understand, but that, in and of itself is a greater understanding.
So one of the risks of having a system to support us in our current thinking is that it can hold us to it just as much as it may liberate us from our former thinking, that is, unless we are willing to challenge it as well. There is a great security in agreement and consensus that has within it the ability to keep us from growing past it. I suppose that is why I feel it's so necessary to challenge our own beliefs and ideas and yes, even and perhaps especially, what we feel we know.
The complexity of thought within one human being can hint at what is a good example of the nature of existence. Your focus is in reading this now. At the same time there are very likely traces of other thoughts that race through your mind as you take in what you read, grasp it in your way, find similarities and differences in your experience, while all along continuing your reading and comprehension. It is what you are doing. It is not as passive as it may first seem. You are assimilating new experience which is exactly that, an active assimilation, albeit in you own unique way. Add to this the flittering thoughts of perhaps others, hunger, bodily sensations, breathing, and even the use of your vision that so intricately focuses, recognizes the patterns of black and white, putting them together as letters, words, sentences, all of which you do while creating meaning from them.
Now none of this would be
possible without the miraculous flurry of activity of cellular processes that
so nicely mirror the creative structures that the one creative force emanates.
Cells, by necessity, work together, coalescing to form cellular structures or
cooperative groupings or organs that also cooperate together to form the body
that we get the luxury of living in without having to consciously direct or
even keep in mind. What we see are structures within structures, within structures
and also, structures, upon structures, upon structures. This cooperative nature
of structures is existence, whether it is the structure of cells and material,
or the structure of thought.
What I perceive myself to be is a reflection of my current awareness as it interacts with the structures that I myself have created, though I may not be aware that I have created them. That's the beauty of experience; that we may create the structure within which experience may flow, then immerse our self in it without being distracted by the awareness that we have created it, and are creating it. As I expand my awareness, my views of myself change. Just as a child's view of life and their self changes, so do we all.
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