To truly be alive is a real art. It involves a lot of depth, understanding, and compassion. (By the way, psychological depth, great understanding, and compassion are not three separate things; they are all one.) Most of us have been indoctrinated with superficial second-hand patterns, thoughts, and traditions. Most of us live in (and “as”) an endlessly repetitious series or sequence of thoughts. That is what we call “living.” However, that may not be “living” whatsoever. Most people say that they are doing fine and are OK, but, in reality, they are not. They are full of fears, uncertainty, depression, dull mundaneness, and one series of stale thoughts after another.
Thoughts are stale. All thoughts stem from the past and are protrusions (i.e., projections) from (and of) that past. Patterns from the past can be rearranged to seem rather new but, fundamentally, they consist of the stale past. From that past, we look. Most people look through — and from — images of the past that they hold (and are). They recognize, they re-cognize things… such that they perceive according to the symbols and patterns of thoughts that they have absorbed and have clung to in (and “as”) the past. Thoughts are merely symbols and, therefore, are very limited and circumscribed. Symbols, being representations, are always residual, limited, and rather stale. However, most of us were indoctrinated to live in (and “as”) thoughts. Little wonder why so many say that they are enjoying life when, really, they are not. It’s like hugging or clinging to a Stop Sign and saying that the sign fills you with joy. You might fool some people, but you can’t fool me. That Stop Sign, like a thought, is a symbol, and a symbol is always of the past, limited, fragmentary, and nothing to get in rhapsody about. Most of us are of a consciousness that goes from one series of thoughts to another, never looking or perceiving wholly beyond thought/thinking. We go from one sequence of symbolic images to another. Even when we are out in nature, we perceive things through (and with) the screen of thought/thinking; we see things according to mere pre-learned patterns and labels; this may not truly be “seeing” at all. And yet we think that we are doing fine.
Remaining as stale, mundane, second-hand thoughts and patterns is never fine. It is the road to mediocrity, dejection, and robotic-repetition. One has to have the moxie, the fortitude, the guts, and the integrity to go beyond the indoctrination that was implanted in (and “as”) one. But most people are unwilling to do that. They are caught and find it easy to remain rather dead in the net or web of second-hand circumstance. Intelligently going beyond mere thought/thinking is frightening to them, because thought thinking is what they are; it is what they have accepted and is what they cling to.
Thinking in an orderly fashion is very useful at times. However, it is prudent to often go beyond thought/thinking. To merely remain in (and “as”) thought/thinking is sorrow. Period.
This one actually stung a little, Tom. But that’s not bad.
Yes, regarding getting stung, (so to speak)… It’s not bad at all; that’s good actually. It likely means that something was really seen there.
Thanks, Susan! 🙂
I like you’re article — I think you mean don’t be average but go beyond you’re boundaries and make our society a better place to live.
Yes, make society and the whole world a better place! But they’re not “your boundaries”; the boundaries are actually what you are. Yes, don’t settle for “average.” 🙂
Tom I think that it’s very important to differentiate between a sign and a symbol> Signs are representational – like a ‘don’t cross’ sign on a busy highway… Symbols resonate – what I mean here is that they carry energy/information and are timeless in terms of being able to embrace meaning – and example would be a tree of life symbol – every culture on this planet has a tree of life – and this symbol embraces Life as well as attaching the person to both earth and sky not just in the past or present but also in the future. Do you see what I mean? I love that photograph – to me it captures the meaning behind the vernal equinox – which is all about momentary balance – but is also symbolic of the rising waters (one hopes) and the coming of spring.
Whoops – I forgot to mention that I agree with you about signs leading to stagnation – they surely do.
Yes, one sees what you mean, Sara… “symbols resonate” and are not the same as signs. But my blogs have to be terse — otherwise, most people won’t read them — and one cannot be going off into all the possibilities. As far as symbols go, one needs to be very leary of them. So many of the orthodox religions, for instance, have their special symbols that many people are ardently mesmerized by; yet the world is still in conflict and turmoil. They march to war, kissing their symbols (on the battlefield); it’s insanity really. We need to go beyond all signs and symbols and perceive without what others poured into us. Most are what was poured into them… and it’s tragic really. Even symbols (no matter how wonderful they may seem) make for minds that are second-hand and merely imitative. We need to go beyond all that. 🙂
Love – “psychological depth, great understanding, and compassion are not three separate things; they are all one.” ❤ Sweet article and powerful words. I also love your fragmentary raindrops photo! So artistic! 🙂
Thank you much, Kym! 🙂
Yes, psychological depth, great understanding, and compassion are not three separate things; they are all one. But they don’t discuss that kind of thing in ordinary schools; most schools deal with fragmentary things (in a very mindless way, unfortunately); then they give out diplomas!
Thanks, Jazz, but it’s only two-dimensional and superficial.
Thinking is incredibly difficult these days … though it has gotten better since January 20th, reading or hearing the news is a constant brain strain; either that or I’m left shaking my head over people. I like your raindrops photo – it is beautiful.
Ah yes, the news, often is a horror story of human insensitivity and violence. But, on NBC News, there are often some positive and loving/charitable incidents investigated; like that sweet, caring woman who, two full days each week, energetically donates her time and money to cook for those in need. And the local community got together and surprised her with a brand new red car. (Now that is so very cool!)
Regarding “thinking”… so many people think without realizing that thinking is usually (constantly) going on in some form or another.
Thanks about the photo, but it’s only 2-dimensional and superficial.
I am on Twitter for some nature sites and the news and one regular feature I like is “Steve Hartman goes On the Road” as it is filled with human interest stories, usually about people of all ages, in all walks of life, and what they do to help others out. His stories remind me there is good in the world.
Yes, there is still plenty of good in the world! Thank goodness! 🙂
Tom, Your photograph and words are a tight meld. I very much enjoyed this post.
Thank you, Michael. Much appreciated! 🙂
so powerful, the first line especially!
To be truly alive even for limited moments is wordless.
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