Friday, April 26, 2013

Tao #1 : How to Seek Without Seeking

"Ever desireless, one can see the mystery.
"Ever desiring, one sees the manifestations."
This idea could apply to anything from finding a significant other to pursuing spiritual enlightenment to seeking new discoveries in physics. The common thread is that there are big, mysterious forces out there that we really want to understand; yet the harder we try to understand them, the more we get mired in complexity. 

Have you ever noticed that in fields like science, in which thousands of smart people have been chipping away at the mysteries of the universe for hundreds of years, the best we can do is explain one mystery in terms of another and then call it a day? I suspect that, as a society, we don't question this unsatisfying situation because it gives a lot of people an excuse to fiddle around with gadgets all day and then collect a paycheck. However, it's worth questioning--not because you should reject science and all its everyday utility, but because your own peace of mind depends on a deeper understanding of your place in the universe.

If you're looking for answers outside yourself, you're not getting the full picture. You may be getting an "objective" picture, but you're not getting the total picture. The total picture is somewhat objective and somewhat subjective. You have to look inside yourself, too, if you really want to see Reality at work.

Or maybe not. Having too much desire for understanding can cloud your perceptions. You have to realize that many things are not entirely in your control. Deep, total understanding of Reality is probably one of those things. Just like a significant other or a new scientific insight, enlightening insights come on their own terms. You can open your mind to them, but you can't force them in.

With this kind of open mindset, you are ready to learn.

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