Posts Tagged ‘the underlying essence of things’

Letting Our Minds Wander

February 24, 2015

The true essence of re-booting is far more than whatever I say it is or you think it means, and the same can be said for just about any life concept. Too often, we limit our thinking to what we know in terms of concrete experience, but like an iceberg, that curbs our understanding to the 1/8 that our conscious awareness comprehends. Just like children who have to learn in stages, there is more for us to learn. For kids, because so much of life is unknown, they are open to believing other possibilities exist—unconstrained by their knowledge of the world.


As we grow older, we relinquish much of our ability to project beyond what we “know.” Instead, we rely on generally accepted wisdom, our own experience, or what someone we respect tells us is “so.” Without realizing it, our definitions about who we are or how life works crystallizes into rock hard formations. This process has many useful aspects to it—it’s practical, clear cut, and enables us to move forward without dithering around all day. The problem arises, however, when we use approaches suited for managing a finite matter (such as following a recipe or driving from Point A to Point B) to our understanding of nebulous concepts such as “love” or “family” or “success” let alone our definition of ourself.


What we need is to think abstractly. Over and over, I’ve seen people limit themselves to the accepted definition of a term; it doesn’t even occur to them to wonder about the fullness of the concept. This is where our curiosity and imagination come into play. “Is there more to this than I realize?” This is where we can tap into the 7/8 bobbing beneath the surface. It’s not readily apparent, but it very much exists. Has anyone ever said to you, “I didn’t know it could be like this?” Whatever “it” is went beyond their imagination or experience.


Tapping into the essence of something is akin to studying (not just looking at) a painting, listening intently to a piece of music, or relishing the gentle touch of another, all of which can express meaning far beyond what words can convey. In a similar manner, allowing our minds to wander moves us closer to similar conceptual breakthroughs. For instance, utilizing our curiosity to ask ourselves, “What might the concept of ‘family’ entail beyond what I believe it is? Is what I “know” even a good definition? Is there another way to think about this? To be a family, what could that look like, how might we interact, what could be our baseline premises, above and beyond what I understand them to be?” (By analogy, remind yourself that electric currents existed long before Ben Franklin flew that kite.) Identical questions can be asked about love. “What can love look like? What does loving someone actually mean and how does that translate into my actions and attitudes? How does this idea compare to what I have, right now?”


Since playing with these emotionally fraught concepts can be confusing, I suggest you return to my examples of the music or painting. Don’t get lost in the words. Don’t limit yourself to hardline definitions. Music and art hint at much bigger understandings; they encapsulate the essence of a subject. How much more you see is up to you; look beyond the lines drawn, listen past the melody; the only way you can get there is to allow your mind to wander.


Is what I’m saying making any sense?


What I’m working my way towards in this post is to get you accustomed to the possibility that you are far more than who you believe you are. There is much more to you than what you understand to be the case—even in your most secret of secret thoughts. One of my favorite movies of all time is Sabrina starring Harrison Ford and Julia Ormond. Early on in the movie, Sabrina is preparing to go to France, devastated that her big crush (played by Greg Kinnear) doesn’t even notice she’s leaving. At a certain point, Sabrina’s father reminds her that there’s much more to her than this obsession. She has no idea what he’s talking about; he can see far more than she can.


We’re just like Sabrina—you and I. There’s way more to us, too.


The essence of who we are expands far beyond the life we’re currently living or our current understanding of who we are. To make this more manageable, let’s step back and think about somebody you know, someone you care about who has a lot more going for them than they realize. Have someone in mind? Good. Now, what is it they’re not seeing that you can see? Do they even realize that 7/8 of their essence bobs beneath the surface? What do you think could happen if only they allowed their minds to believe that part is there?


Might the same be true for you?


Homework assignment: When you go to sleep tonight, I want you to allow your mind to drift. Summon images of unexplored territories, paintings you love looking at, music that inspires; tap into the essence of them and use this as springboard for yourself. “Who am I? What am I missing?” The answer awaits…



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