The Crook of Understanding

by Christopher Lovejoy on October 29, 2017

your point of view is quite interesting;
I appreciate you for sharing it with me;
I’ve never thought of it like that before

I recently completed my reading of a book that gave me some deep insights into the nature of understanding from an Eastern point of view. In reviewing its topics, I found myself elevated to a place where I could ask some rather probing albeit unusual questions.

Many of these questions challenge me to pull away or even break from the conditions and traditions that bind me to my patterns and routines, leading me to a place in society where I can view the world with the humble yet alert consciousness of a shepherd.

In contemplating these probing and provocative questions, I am confronted with ample opportunities to explore, examine, and expose inadequacies as a guiding light in and through this world.

Would I rather be dead or alive?

Would I rather be dead on the inside or alive on the outside?

Would I rather be dead on the outside or alive on the inside?

Or … would I rather be alive on the inside and be alive on the outside?

Would I rather be the same person day in, day out? Would I rather keep doing the same thing over and over every day, while learning little or next to nothing from what I am doing? Or would I rather have the feeling that I am doing new and various things with each passing day?

Common wisdom tells me that I come alive (and stay alive) when I make a daily habit of exploring and exposing the nature and essence of my being, with and from and through experience, as and when I make a daily habit of experimenting with the course of my everyday life.

Am I knowing and feeling the difference between {be alive} and {be alive}?

That is, am I really and truly living the difference in my everyday life?

If I am not being informed, am I being inspired, and if I am not being inspired, am I being informed?

If I am not feeling composed, am I feeling excited, and if I am not feeling excited, am I feeling composed?

If I am not feeling contented, am I feeling enchanted, and if I am not feeling enchanted, am I feeling contented?

I stay alive when I stay inside the depths of intimacy and I come alive when I rise to the heights of ecstasy, and so, if I am not being intimate with the other, am I feeling ecstatic for the other, and if I am not feeling ecstatic for the other, am I being intimate with the other?

Affirmation: at the heart of soul, I am alive, and through the soul of spirit, I am alive, and I trust, in the course of living my life, that I am in a process of learning, loving, and living this difference.

Would I rather engage myself in the ultimate revolution, on the outside, or involve myself in the ultimate rebellion, on the inside? Would I rather program the conditions of my personality or would I rather keep showing up as my individuality without the programming of conditions?

Where outer revolutions are reactive, inner rebellions are creative; where outer revolutions attempt to impose, inner rebellions serve to expose; where outer revolutions typically end in violence and bloodshed, inner rebellions keep the peace, both within and without.

If I were to meet Zorba the Buddha today, would I know him if I saw him? Would I know enough to interact with him, to involve him with the heart of my soul, to engage him through the soul of my spirit?

When I contemplate the import of this affirmation ~ be, know, do, have, feel with the whole of your heart, as lightly or as intensely as you can ~ does it serve to move me as meaningful in any way?

The reference to Zorba the Buddha is a dead live giveaway to the book I was reading. Truth be told, Zorba the Buddha is an invitation as much as a personification, where West meets East and West says “yes” to East (and vice versa). To say that the material and spiritual dimensions of life are equally deserving of attention and consideration is almost a cliché, but one we are often wise to keep in mind.

To wit: have I been giving equal space and time to soul and spirit, love and life, being and becoming, informed and inspired, sacred and divine, quality and vitality, fate and destiny, encounter and experience, contentment and enchantment, intimacy and ecstasy?

Have I learned the difference between knowledge and knowing?

Does knowledge ~ construed as “know (on a) ledge” ~ mean anything to me? If it does, am I prepared to step off this static ledge into the spontaneity of being, knowing, doing, having, and feeling?

The wisdom of the Tao impresses me with the image of a desiccated scholar obsessed with knowledge. I feel close to graduating from the school of hard knocks and this question keeps coming up for me: where do I typically find the juice of life ~ in knowledge or in knowing?

Am I wholly prepared to take full responsibility ~ 100% response-ability ~ for being true and free, in soul and spirit, tasting what is ordinary above and beyond the ordinary desire to be extraordinary?

The word responsible is loaded with so much obligatory baggage that its every essence has been infected with the virus of shoulditis. Please understand, I am not saying “do not be extraordinary”; I am saying “be ordinary in your own way so that you can be extraordinary”.

Bonus exercise

If I were 5% more response-able for my life today, I would …

1. _____________________________________________
2. _____________________________________________
3. _____________________________________________
4. _____________________________________________
5. _____________________________________________
6. _____________________________________________

When I finished this exercise, I was astonished by the relevance and precision of my responses.

Thankfully, there is always room for honing more response-ability.

Do I understand that the freedom of response-ability ~ the freedom to receive, reflect, and respond with the intention of doing so without pretense, and with grace and ease, requires the gradual and eventual release of the conditioned conscience into full consciousness?

In contemplating this question, I am stretched to imagine being wholly conscious in every moment without recourse to the crutches of true and false, good and bad, right and wrong, in my speech, my behavior, and my conduct. Sounds awe-fully refreshing to me. How about you?

In my search for meaning and significance in everyday life, just how comfortable am I with moving fluidly and flexibly from what is known to what is unknown to what is unknowable ~ and back again?

In realizing the warm energy of my understanding with innerstanding, am I happy with the seemingly endless vertical journey I’ve been taking from lusting to loving and back to lusting with loving?

Admission: I am one of those people on a perpetual search for meaning and significance and it is safe to say that they are both best perpetuated perpetually, moment to moment to moment, day after day.

Revelation: much meaning can be found in a lust for love and life.

In following the final journey of awakened, enlightened, empowered humanhood into the depths of Now through the peaks of Now, have I realized, wholly and fully, in soul and spirit, that my becoming is timed for practicality even as my being remains timelessly practical?

I love these paradoxical pretzels; this one is especially relevant to me and potent for me.

In my return to innocence on this final journey, have I realized, once and for all, that my second childhood is one that contains and carries, in soul and spirit, the fragrance and flavor of an indefinable, indescribable mystery and mastery suffused with ineffable awe and wonder?

Sigh.

No ~ at least not yet ~ but I remain open to raising my white flag in a final surrender.

And so, I ask myself, again, with a humble fervency of respect for who and what and where I am … would I rather be dead or alive? Would I rather be dead on the inside or alive on the outside? Conversely, would I rather be dead on the outside or alive on the inside?

Or … would I rather be alive on the inside and be alive on the outside?

These rhetorical questions remind me to stay alive to come alive and to come alive to stay alive.

Ultimately, in my knowing and my flowing, understanding with innerstanding is key.


To share information and inspiration on what is happening on this troubled yet promising world, I drew up two lists of sites that are serving the causes of personal, global and/or cosmic awakening.

This post has been filed under Context in the Ultimate Outline.

Note: my evolving outline on approaching a realization of the ultimate in personal fulfillment can be found here, accessible from the nav menu under the page “Be Here Now”.

Note: this ever growing perspective began here: Ultimate Perspective

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