Friday, August 26, 2011

Accepting Life with Simplicity

What does it mean, to "know" somebody? Does it mean you know what kind of human being that they are? Or does it mean that you know what they are and are not capable of? These are questions that are often on my mind these days. People drift in and out of your life. Some of these people mean more to you at the time than others yet, after a few years, that meaning slowly starts to evaporate. What made a person special to me? Or to anybody for that matter? At one time, I might have thought they could do no wrong, and yet be absolutely surprised with their behaviour later, shocked even. But if the importance I give to events, people, or places rises and falls according to - to what exactly? What is it that assigns that importance, that makes a woman, or a certain cafe or song on the radio, more valuable to me?

The importance is something I assign by myself, and whilst when I was younger such importance was underlined by desires, bravado or any other emotions, today I feel something higher driving this cost-exercise. I say higher, simply because that's the first kind of description I can give to using my head in making decisions. It's the uppermost part of my body, and so it is 'higher' than, say, my stomach. But that doesn't mean my head doesn't tell me to assign importance to anything or anyone at all, it simply warns me against assigning importance unwisely. So going back to my earlier question, what does it really mean to know somebody; anybody? Well, it could be that you've have built up enough knowledge of their past behaviour to assume that they will continue to behave that way in the future.

Naturally, like many things, that doesn't mean a thing for the one time when they do things differently, but maybe that's all we can ever hope for. Rather than a set certainty, based on some unshakeable principles, perhaps all means of knowing someone truly are just hopes which are encouraged by past behaviour. In the end, our desires cling to the straws of what we find with our senses. We clutch at straws and in our desperation see them as strong ropes that will save us from drowning. It's quite sad really, and it shows how vulnerable human beings are, even in our thoughts and minds.

I see this vulnerability every day: within myself and amongst the people I meet. We walk around, thinking with certainty, arguing, jostling, and getting offended or causing offence, because of the way we see things. We are always convinced that we see things as they are. But perhaps the only thing you can really do is nothing at all. That's a very Zen-like thought I'm grasping at, this late at night. I lie in bed now, accepting the world with a simplicity that would have horrified me only a few years ago. Perhaps this is the only way we can receive the surprises this universe stores for us.

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