View from a bamboo raft during my travels in China

View from a bamboo raft during my travels in China.

As individual human beings in a sense we tend to be highly centralized on ourselves, fixated and almost entirely caught up by whatever is going on at the moment. By being caught up all the time we lose valuable perspective in regards to what is important, what we should expend our energy on and lose a sense of joy and wonder in regards to life. That said, self-centralization is understandable since whenever something happened in the experience of our lives there we were. Our sense of ‘I’ feels as if it has always been with each of us, for as long as we can remember.

The way in which this being caught up in events occurs is similar to a person who is watching a movie. That person gradually becomes caught up in the events occurring in the movie. They forget about the movie theater, the people around them, even the chair they are sitting in. They may become caught up in the emotions portrayed as being experienced by the actors, even deeply experiencing those emotions within themselves. And then, when the movie ends, they shake themselves as if awakening from a dream, suddenly awakened to themselves and see that it was just a movie. Not real. They realize that it all was no more than a play of light on a screen.

My Personal Experience
The word ‘realize’ is interesting. It’s from French, closely connected with the word ‘real’ meaning to understand clearly. A person who is caught up in a movie, at its ending suddenly awakens to what is real and what is not. They suddenly understand clearly the reality of the situation. From my personal experience I know how easy it can be to become caught up in the stresses of life, to become caught up in worry or fear. To be caught up in petty disagreements, arguments and positions. Such things in general are so very unimportant, mostly unnecessary and sour the joy of living. They take away from the vibrant experience of existence.

It is like one moment I’m relatively clear in my awareness of a consciously confirmed recognition of existence. Then next, suddenly I realize I’ve become caught up in a narrow subjective centralized experience of the world. In the process I’ve forgotten the wondrous fact of existence. Isn’t it amazing that everything has undertaken the formality of existing? Could you even describe what ‘existence’ is to another person? Could you say what it means to exist? We live with this wonder each and every moment. Yet how often do we allow it to inform our perspective on life or our current situation?

Mountains & Rivers
It is said that mountains and rivers should not be viewed in the mirror. Here ‘mountains and rivers’ represent the external world and ‘the mirror’ represents our subjectivity. We can directly experience existence by simple non-discursive non-judgmental awareness. You may sit in a garden and experience the plants and birds, the sky and the clouds, and feel the sun on your face. The moment cognitive thought or discursive awareness occurs existence begins to become filtered and narrowed down. The mountains and rivers become viewed through the mirror.

Judgments, subjective positions, distinctions and opinions narrow the experience of existence down even further. Suddenly for one person the sun is hot, for another is feels great, for another the grass is itchy, one person wants to leave because they are bored and want to go do something else, this flower is more beautiful than that, those people are noisy, the buzzing fly is annoying. Suddenly there is this being caught up in narrow self-centered concerns and the wonderful pure experience of existence, of what simply is, is lost.

Existence is a wonderful gift. The meaning of life is the celebration of existing. Don’t let meaningless unimportant quibbles cloud your mind and become the movie that you become caught up in all your life. Gain some valuable perspective by realizing that the mirror is not clear. It clouds the mountains and rivers as if seen through polluted smog. Therefore, cultivate an awareness of the very wonder of your own existence and let go of opinions. Mostly they are imperfect and limited generalizations that do not server you well at all.

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