Saturday, November 20, 2010

Having a sense of meaning about things is nothing like understanding in the intellectual sense at all.  I can be immersed completely in a sense of meaning in a moment or circumstance and still find the question 'what does it mean?' utterly bewildering.  A sense of meaning isn't about explaining something away -  It is an experience in my body, the way I can *feel* a physical location with all of my senses.  A sense of meaning is an ambiance that permeates the way I am experiencing my life.

Within the experience of meaning the layers of what is true exist without compromise, including all our ambiguities and contradictions.  We can experience simultaneous joy and sadness.     Our intellect urges us to pick one or another,  to smooth the wrinkles of our understanding and make a linear explanation of ourselves.  But, I know for myself, that I need more than one world at a time to feel whole.  I can't trim out anything, I can't synthesize anything - I need a vehicle to experience all of it simultaneously - and when I am in that state of being I call it 'meaning'.  The things around me are luminous with their own aliveness.

For some, sense of meaning comes to them through the architecture of religious and spiritual beliefs which create context for the ways life falls apart and changes and causes suffering despite our best efforts at living spiritually or consciously.  But a sense of meaning can come without religious structure.

My wellbeing thrives on being sensitive to the subtle aliveness of the things around me.  For me, I find that connection in poetry and story. A quote I found by M.L. Richards (in Poetic Medicine by John Fox) says: "Appreciating poetry is probably like appreciating anything else.  It means having the generosity to let a thing be what it is, the patience to know it, a sense of the mystery in all living things, and a joy in new experience."

There are many ways to invoke the magic of appreciation to connect us and bring us into our own lives more fully.  What is your way of being in all your worlds at once, travelling between your layers and living with a sense of meaning?


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