Philosophical Advise On Tasting And Life
The other day, I was having dinner with Sanjay and he casually asked me "So what's the meaning of life?"
Since he had left for India, we have both done a share of reading and further reflecting on this question that arises now and then, as a shadow beacon that reminds us to check directions.
The common answer arrived to by all the philosophical masters that I have been learning from invariably is "UNDERSTANDING."
Necessarily starting with yourself, it's the self-examination to understand what truly guides you, what actually makes you react a certain way, what is behind the emotions the arise, the deeper motivation that propels one to certain actions, desires, fears.
If you truly understand and are honest with yourself about why you are reacting a certain way, then by "knowing thyself" and knowing your true motivations, you will be less at the mercy of reacting to that which is put before you by the outside world, that on a daily basis causes us to swing in a pendulum of emotions that take over our mood and our day.
Taking these basic notions to practice, it's easy to see that I, like probably so many of us, base the vision of my life on a series of assumptions -- a series of events that I assume and want to will to happen. I see a number of experiences that I am attached to having, like sharing a mutual love with a partner and experiencing motherhood, just to name a few.
Of course it's easy to see what the masters point out, that by wanting these experiences, and wanting these experiences a certain way/on your envisioned terms (after all, I don't chose to simply get knocked up today), it creates a conflict. The desire for these core experiences, which perhaps we take comfort by viewing them as instinctual, that it's a source of the emotional pendulum because having these experiences necessarily means depending on someone else -- over whom/which we have no control. It creates a conflict, a contradiction that prevents one from being able to experience the "Now", to not be controlled by the rage of emotions which end up instantaneously narrowing the width of our view of the world.
But, if I am honest with myself, it is what I want. I am not willing not to want these experiences.
Of course, this could not be the answer that the masters meant by Understanding.
Last weekend, I went to Takh Nah Hant's lecture at a buddhist monastery. We were surrounded by monks who did choose to give up these basic life experiences and devote themselves to self-examination in pursuit of understanding the reality. But their life did not appeal to me, and therefore, chosing their way of self-examination would be something that would actually be a sacrifice and hence cannot be the "Reality" that the masters describe would be for our highest good.
I think at this point in my understanding of what is "Understanding", I am reminded that I am trying to answer something that necessarily is three dimensional (at least, since it involves the essential, if I may use the loaded word: immortal part in ourselves) using a two-dimensional perception of my mind.
To reflect on "Understanding", I think I need to look at it in the same way the ancients used the concept of a "symbol."
A symbol was used to convey, in image form, that which would speak to our higher self -- call it by whatever word makes you comfortable: soul, spirit, nous, atma, manas... Because our kama manas, the human mind, functions in linear terms: the duality that necessarily creates the conflict and contradiction that so many of us recognize and whose gripping control we wish to escape.
The kama manas is the spell that takes over and makes me see the world/item/person/experience as good or bad, happy or sad, angry or patient.
The "Understanding" is the recognition of the essence of what you dream of, of what you desire: It's the taste of it, the whiff of a feeling of how you feel when you experience that what you want at the core.
To "Understand" is to recognize when you place on that ´whiff of a taste´ a framework of a form in which that taste should take place. When you add to that taste an idea of a package in which it should come -- that's when the conflict is created.
So, for this journey, I am to remind myself and watch myself that I am not placing a form on the taste of the experience that I want to have and just let the experience come.
To remain open to how the image of that which I can taste will manifest myself, without the attachment to when/how/who is my present answer to what is the Understanding that allows one to see the reality of what and how you are living that at least lessens the reactionary emotional pull of the conflict from the contradiction of not having control over the who/when/how of what you want.
So here I go, with intent to allow the "taste" of the dream manifest in whatever form it is to arrive.