The other side of the conversation.

Quick one.

It’s important to keep people in your life that don’t agree with you but are thoughtful and reasonably intelligent. Otherwise you just have a bunch of people sitting around thinking the same thing all of the time and you have no growth at all. Argue with me. Debate with me. Make me think and I will be your friend forever. Just be prepared for me to do the same.

What do we know?

I think one of the biggest obstacles that we have to overcome in our lives is recognizing the difference between what we know and what we think we know.

How can we tell the difference though? We tend to be ruled by what we can see, taste and touch and as humans we are limited by our senses. Intellect and experience are built on these things and so our entire lives are colored by this pattern. These limits are part of the human condition and are part of what it means to be us as a species.

What if we want to be more than simply that though?

I have been beating myself up most of my life, trying to find what it takes to be more than simply the sum of my parts and while I feel like I’m reasonably intelligent, I’m sure I’m nowhere near where I would like to be. Where is the Leonardo Da Vinci, the Aristotle or the Archimedes that lies deep in all of us? Would I even know it if I was stuck by a level of insight that I was unable to attain before?

I don’t know. Maybe I should just focus more on what I have rather than what I wish I had. But if I did that, I would stop asking questions.

Intent and Expression

I’ve been thinking about this subject a lot lately. I’ve met someone very recently that has absolutely no problem telling me whatever is on their mind, almost completely unfiltered. It got me thinking about how hard that trait is to find these days.

Some people might view a trait like that as having far too many potential downsides but I don’t. I’m a thinking, reasoning adult who should be able to handle just about anything a person has to say. I’m thinking we should all be able to handle the unvarnished truth when presented with it. Facts aren’t personal by nature, they just exist. Facts don’t inherently want to hurt you but they may because of our feelings about them.

I wish more people had that trait. Honesty presented as just the facts.

Losing our sense of wonder

The title says it all.

I have seen so many people that have started to lose this as they get older. I feel like our sense of amazement and wonder at the things we see and hear are what help drive us toward our own personal growth. Does growing up squeeze it out of us? Do we allow it to be trampled out of us as we frantically try to dodge other people in our lives? It seems like a shame to me. I mean, how can we grow if we don’t see a horizon to walk toward? And I’m talking about well rounded, positive growth not just the things that exist in our comfort zone.

I don’t know where my own horizon will lead me too but I will approach it with a sense of wonder and maybe even a little excitement. It’s all I can do.

Forging Meaning and Building Identity

I’m not going to sit here and say that I enjoy bad experiences. They tend to do awful things to your psyche, affect you physically and generally make things harder on you than anyone would enjoy. They make you cry, they put that knot in your stomach, they make you think things about yourself that no one should, they make you lose loved ones, and sometimes they even make you feel like you are dying over and over again inside. No one wants these things, but they are a fact of life.

I can look back at all of those moments in my life that made me feel like that and every single one of them challenged how I saw my life, how I thought of myself. Every one of those experiences forced me to look at things in a way that I never would have thought to otherwise. As the present becomes history, all of those events become memory and help to forge who I am. I am gifted with the daily decision of either letting my past defeat me or embracing it and allowing it to make me stronger.

But who wants to embrace pain like that? I sure don’t. Pain is just that, painful. But what else can a person do? Lay down and die? Let the world tell you what to do? Let others dictate your happiness and sense of self worth? No, that is not for me and nor should it be for anyone else. You are you, and you take what lessons you can from all of your experiences. Awareness is key, for without it you are doomed to miss the lessons and repeat the trials and tribulations over and over again until you become aware of the lesson’s existence.

One day I will look at all of my life with fondness, yes even the bad parts. There is a reason behind this. People in the western world tend to get the concept of Nirvana wrong. Nirvana isn’t an existence free from pain and knowing only joy. It’s knowing joy and finding the seeds of your joy even in the hardships that life throws your way.

Now it’s time to move on.

The things we think we want

I’m sure we’ve all been there. That place where we feverishly work toward a goal we wanted at the time and when we got there we discovered it wasn’t what we thought it was or it wasn’t as fulfilling as we expected or, worse yet, it actually hurt us in the long run. I see it in all kinds of places, in all walks of life and I can’t help but wonder how often I’ve been there myself. How often did I even notice I was there at all?

Our perceptions are limited by our experiences in that we tend to see things that we expect to see and miss the things that we aren’t expecting. How then do we include the unexpected into our lives? My first guess is to always leave space in our lives for the things we don’t foresee. Easy to say but difficult and time consuming to accomplish. It’s a tough subject and one that I expect (no pun intended) to be thinking about for a long while.

A Thought

Where does emotion end and intuition begin?

I often think about that. Our emotions pull us in all kinds of different directions with powerful feelings but our intuition seems to be a bit more subtle. I can’t help but feel that the stronger the pull in a particular direction the more I should inspect it as it’s more likely to be just a feeling rather than true intuition. Heh, emotions. One of our greatest strengths yet one of our greatest weaknesses.