Pretty much blew my writing wad this morning in trying to address the much-ignored suggestion in spiritual endeavor: "Find out for yourself."
What a two-edged sword! It might be funny if it weren't so serious: On the one hand, there is a savvy voice within that agrees whole-heartedly when it hears "find out for yourself." That voice says, "Yes indeed, there's no substitute for experience." But when seeking out the experience for which there is no substitute, what's the first thing anyone does? They ask somebody else...read a book, consult a guru, go to a wonderful lecture that someone else will give.
It's not the asking that screws up the water works. It's the believing and clinging to the answers that blurs the scene and hogties the possibility of finding out for yourself. Philosophy, religion, hope, belief ... these things may make for a good start but they make for a lousy finish when it comes to finding out for yourself.
Sometimes it truly marvels me that anyone would bother to create a canon of 1,700 formal koans when koans like this are a dime a dozen. Life dishes them up like food at an all-you-can-eat restaurant.
Find out for yourself ... dontcha just love it?
Find out for yourself ... dontcha just hate it?
If we say, "I understand" and bask in the glow of that understanding, life cocks a skeptical eyebrow and may suggest gently, "Wait a bit."
If we say, sometimes piteously, "I don't understand," life cocks a skeptical eyebrow and may suggest gently, "Wait a bit."
What other choice is there in the matter of finding some peace and easing our uncertainties; can god, by whatever name, honestly kiss things better ... what other choice is there but to find out for yourself? Do heavenly hosannas or weeping wails hit the mark? If there is another choice that hits the mark when it comes to a peaceful life, I honestly don't know it.
Find out for yourself.
And if there is another way, I hope you'll let me know. Finding out for yourself is no cakewalk and if there really is a better mousetrap, I'd love to get one.