When you get up in the morning until the time you go to bed at night, you are in some kind of an event. Every one of those events produces some kind of information in bits and pieces. It is to your advantage to become an observer and a participant. At first that is a real juggling act, but you will find the wisdom you search for as you practice participating and observing. … To willingly accept living in the world with the energy expended and the returns received is very important. Gregge Tiffen (The Journey Continues: In Search of Wisdom – September, 2010)
We live in search of wisdom. Yep. The purpose of life is this: adding to and building upon the wisdom that we brought into this life in this body at this time. There you have it. Now you can breathe. The mystery of all mysteries is solved. No more searching for the purpose of life. Whew!
Yet, within that mystery of mysteries, are the questions that rise on our unique and individual quest: WHAT am I here to learn? HOW will I learn it? At the same time we explore these questions, the body’s survival depends on our participation in life – money, careers/jobs, relationships, home, health, mobility, community, recreation, creative outlets, etc. And, our body couldn’t care less about wisdom (learning is not its job – survival is!).
The body’s job is to participate in these activities of life. It does so, mostly willingly, when we feed it, rest it, and give our body the care that it needs. The body is like a car – it requires fuel and needs its systems to be well maintained so that it can function properly.
Your body is the vehicle consciousness uses to get you around town from one event to another.
And, that takes us to engaging consciousness, as the observer. Knowledge, learning and the wisdom that’s distilled from our participation requires that we observe as well as participate. The awareness that comes from observation supports us to adjust, adapt, and learn. We carry that learning forward as we’re guided to the next event.
When we participate rotely, without observation and awareness, we don’t learn. We may even put ourselves and others at risk. Who among us hasn’t suddenly found ourselves at our destination and not remembered stopping at the stop signs along the way? Yet that very awareness is an act of observing (and hopefully a reminder to be more mindful of our drive next time).
As the participant in an event, we engage in ‘doing’ the event. As the observer, we bring awareness and our ‘being’ to that event. With practice we can expand our capacity to observe concurrent with participating. Call it awareness, mindfulness – whatever you choose – it is through observation that we learn. And our learning puts us at choice.
Sometimes it’s simple: I observe that I’m not enjoying or benefiting from an event. I draw that conclusion from observing that noticing some form of physical discomfort or that I’m antsy or not paying attention, etc. From that awareness, I can choose whether or not to continue, and perhaps shift my perspective. Absent observation, I complete the event, end up in a cranky mood or exhausted, and wonder why I feel so bad.
From participating in and observing our experiences we learn, we adapt, we grow. Wisdom from the knowledge gained in the events and experiences of life is what we are here to attain. It is all we take with us when we leave this vehicle behind, continue our journey in the unseen realm, and carry with us wherever we go into infinity and beyond. What could be a more awesome return on your energy investment than THAT?
What will you practice observing as you participate this week?