Saturday, August 11, 2012

Certainty is an act of Imagination

Every moment is an opportunity for drama. Consumed with physical and emotional feedback, we play out scene after scene from the moment we wake and even throughout the roller coaster of dream life at night. As with traveling in a foreign land, each difference from our expectations can bring thrill or frustration; each aspect of experience or sensation that we cannot control or explain offers us another chance for self involvement and crippling attachments.  We confirm our suspicions, we seek out the familiar among the unfamiliar, we attend to our reactions with endless interest.

Being fully present in the moment does require a level of engagement that is intense, but without the drama of self-centeredness that seems to block vital qualities of awareness.  Noticing what I feel, physically or emotionally, is not the same as being ruled by that or literally living from that reactive state.  I am beginning to see certainty as an act of imagination, a construction that we each build with the blocks of experience available to us. It is complex to function within the wash of conflicting feelings and insights that arise when I don't pin down meaning, or block out the untamed data as it comes in. Yet that is a most wonderful way of experiencing the self in action.

There is nothing wrong with knowledge, experienced or learned in other ways. But knowledge is not in a vacuum. To be useful to me, it takes seeing context and conditions and accepting the array of possibilities that can literally change what I think I know. Letting go of knowing as "certainty" and understanding that illusion does not mean unreal, just profoundly impermanent.

And as when traveling in a foreign land, as soon as I begin to make generalities, I know that I am blind to the truth, which is myriad and ever changing. I consider the variation when opening one bottle of wine after another, made from the same grapes grown in the same row of vines, harvested the same day and filtered and fermented the same length of time. This just reinforces my growing sense that an open and curious mind gives access to the broadest palate of experience, and an intensity in living.

What else are we here for, if not to experience our own lives, through the filters we have developed along the way? We can let the filters be like blinds and shutters, that we can adjust once we see them clearly. We cannot really set this aside, but can live with blinds and shutters set in position, or take on learning to see them for what they are and adjust them for the light at any time of day or night. We can still protect ourselves from groping in the dark or being blinded by the brilliance of direct sunlight depending on what we require for visibility or privacy.  Imagination can help us make these adjustments and enjoy where we are in the moment.

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