How Do We Know….

Indeed, how do we know anything? How do we decide what to believe?  So much of what all of us believe to be true is just “stuff” people told us when we were growing up.  “Stuff” they thought was true because it’s what they were told.  But not necessarily true, this stuff.  Therein lies the rub, of course.  The more of everything one observes to be, essentially, hearsay, the more everything comes into question.  I think this is a good thing, myself, having been stuck with it as a lifetime process, but on the other hand.  Much safer to go along with the provided interpretations, accept what you’re told because they say so.

Life is what you make of it, Paul Simon sings in a new song, so beautiful or so what.  The thing about that is, sometimes the what you can make out of your life is very small and only you can see it.  The Dalai Lama acknowledges quite straightforwardly that in order to be happy, humans actually do need physical stability in terms of adequate peace, food, shelter and support.  Not everybody actually has that, as we know.  Given that as a basic parameter, we find that sometimes the focus has to be precise and exact, in the moment and with no distractions- we have to surrender to the simplicity of our place in the complexity.   Only then do you know how you deal with adversity and pain and success and joy, what your outlook is and in a broader view, where that is likely to take you.  Only you know at long last that the only real control is over parts of yourself, part of the time.  With substantial chunks devoted to chasing the Wild Ego, the Happy Hormones, and the Bizarre Brain Chemistry.  It does take time to understand that even the rough parts are beautiful, and everything is temporary.

Even knowing all that, though, it’s still hard to keep  calm awareness and vigilance going when you’re eyeball to eyeball with the physical manifestations of all your fears.  Naturally this is just the delightful classroom the cosmos has set up for our pleasure and edification.  If we weren’t afraid of whatever it is, it wouldn’t be an issue, would it?  Such an elegant concept, such almost impossible execution.

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