21 August, 2009

Are You Living Your Life or Just Trying to Understand It?

I’m going to make a very bold statement at the beginning of this blog and I hope that I won’t lose you immediately. In fact, I’m going to be making several bold assertions – many of which you may want to disagree with immediately. My request of you is that you stick with me and finish reading the entire blog before weighing in with your judgment and agreement/disagreement.

In our humanity, our predisposition is to immediately judge each thing said, or written, to determine if we agree with it or not. I’m requesting that you set aside that predisposed way of being and take on considering that the possibility of what I’m saying is the truth – not so much as “really, the truth”, but more so just a valid point of view as a powerful place from which to look at something. Just be willing to consider that anything written here could be true and suspend judgment until after you have read the complete blog.

In life, understanding is the booby prize.

Both “understanding” and “beliefs” are barriers to our freedom. The problem is, we can be going along living our lives, but as soon as we switch over into an analytical mode concerning our lives, in that instant, we are failing to live. You see, living is an experiential thing. Living requires interaction, feeling, movement, and always, always being present. That’s the part that gets us every time – that “always being present” thing!

Those of you who have had supernatural experiences will be able to get this concept rather quickly. You had an experience. And, work as best you can, you can try to relay that experience to someone else. But, in all of your explanation, the person to whom you’re relaying your experience will never experience that same experience in your sharing it. At best, that person may have had a previous similar experience and be able to comprehend what you are sharing due to likening his experience to yours.

The subject of Life doesn’t lend itself well to academia. We try to make it fit. We can come very close with the sciences of biology, physiology, anatomy, chemistry, quantum physics, etc. But, each of these only draw parts of a picture – one that must be completed by adding each of the other parts and then you’re still absent some things. No matter how hard we try, we can explain life but only in terms of providing relational understanding to another – never experience.

We could use the analogy of a road map. I can draw for you (or at least make a good attempt at doing so) a map of the city in which I live. I can show you on the map where it is that my house is located. I can show you where on the map you could go to find particular places of interest. I can show you on the map where you will run into the ocean or the bay and I can show you where you will find mountains and beaches and parks. But in all of my demonstrations, you can’t actually get anywhere by sitting behind the wheel of your car and driving onto my map! My map, is only that; it’s just a map, a blueprint. It’s a representation of what exists but it isn’t a collection of the actual things that exist. You can’t actually visit me at my home by standing on a particular location on the map! We can agree that would be ludicrous. And, yet, that’s much of how we attempt to “live” our lives.

You see, a man may have a belief about the type of job he should have, how he should act once he has the job, where his job should be located, what will be expected of him, etc. But his belief will actually prevent him from experiencing that job once he gets it. Instead, he will be living his “belief” and dealing with how things are as compared to how they should be based on his belief. His belief about the job will totally destroy his ability to experience the job unless he chooses to abandon his beliefs about his job and simply experience his job exactly for what it is and exactly for what it isn’t!

So, in a nutshell, I’m asserting that having a belief in God, kills God. You might argue that one must believe that there is a God in order to experience God. I’m asserting that you must not have beliefs about God if you are to ever experience Him. [Please note the difference. It’s not the believing in God that causes the problem. It’s your beliefs about God that can interfere with your actual experience(s) of Him.] Do you believe in human beings? (I’m assuming that you answered that question affirmatively.) The thing is, you’ve experienced human beings directly – you know them and you know that they exist. Therefore, your beliefs about human beings are totally unnecessary.

You can have a belief about God. But, then if you were to experience God; I mean really, really experience Him, you’d probably find it difficult to come up with a single, worthwhile belief about what you’ve experienced. I’m asserting that what you would experience as God would far surpass anything that you could every come up with simply as a belief. Just like a route on a map, a belief may provide you direction to get to somewhere or something, but to actually experience that thing, you must not be tied to the belief – you must only allow it as a pointer.

The greatest roadblock to having the experience of something in our lives is the acquisition of knowledge about that thing.

As an example, the more that you know about God, the less you will be able to experience him. The more insight you have into me, the lesser your experience of me will be – if at all.

I realize that sounds like a bold statement but here’s the thing. As human beings, we want to put things in a box; label things if you will. The more we know about something, the more confined the box gets. We narrow the walls, the ceiling, the width, all in an effort to categorize that thing. In all our work to define and distinguish that thing, what we’re really doing is diminishing it.

As human beings, we listen to others and we view their actions through filters. The filters we listen through are those we put in place based on the information we have acquired about others. For example: if I know from past experience, that my mom has never ventured out into water – whether to swim or boat – I might make that mean that my mother has a fear of water. This could be the case or it might not be. If I don’t ask her, or she doesn’t specifically tell me the reason, all that I know is nothing. What I think I know is simply made up. Yet, because I’ve made up this meaning or story, I listen to my mom through the filter, “my mom doesn’t like water” OR “my mom has a fear of water. Therefore, when my mom & dad come to visit me on the West Coast, I never schedule any activities around water since I “know” that my mom has a fear of water.

What is true here is that my mom watched her father and brother-in-law both die in a double-drowning in a river where her family was swimming. My mother was four years old at the time. While she never learned to swim, my mom loves to be in and on the water. Does she have some fear around water? Probably. Does it stop her? Definitely not!

What’s in play here is that if I don’t allow people to be who they are, without listening to them through the filters I’ve put in place (or, in other words, without giving up my knowledge and understands and beliefs of them), I will never have the full experience of who they are. Also, my filters won’t allow for people to have room to change or grow. Therefore, I could never experience my mom as someone who enjoys being on the water. In fact, I wouldn’t experience her at all in that capacity. I would only “know” her as the story I invented in my head. My “knowing” will always diminish her and it will entirely prevent me from experiencing her for who she truly is.

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