Monday, April 23, 2007


I've been making the realization more and more how dependent we all are on each other. I enjoy how many other people have learned these lessons before me, but it doesn't belittle my learning and experiencing life. I'll read things by philosophers and poets who suggest that "no man is an island," etc, but these are things you can't just read and know. You have to experience it. Phronesis, Aristotle calls it. It makes sense to me why Aristotle said you shouldn't teach ethics to people under thirty. They just won't quite get what you're telling them. It doesn't make enough sense for me to stop, but it's a cool thought.

Regardless, the other day I was riding in a car with a few friends on a sunny day and I was realizing how content I was. Just people I care about who care about me in return. We weren't talking about anything in particular, just enjoying each other's presence. I could live in that moment in my mind forever. Of course, moments like that moment of extreme contentment aren't sustainable, but they're enough to inspire one to want more, to learn from it. What is there to be learned?

I am not an island, as Donne suggests. I am a gregarious creature. Contentment, for me, comes from being loved and loving in return. That is the ultimate goal. I've been searching for years to find contentment in nothing but myself and the notion of Jesus Christ, and I've made progress in that area, but it's about other people and other ideas. Those years with Christ and me has made me have a solid foundation of self-esteem to build upon so I can be able to love fully. I'm still not complete in love, but I experience it on Saturday and it was beautiful.

I've been incorporating the Buddhist idea of metta into my everyday life, and it has some interesting applications. The Buddhist belief has a lot of really wonderful things about it that bleed into Christianity quite well. It's helping me live out my faith in Christ and love people better. Metta is one of those concepts.

As my roommate Eli said so eloquently, "We are what we dwell on." Metta makes you dwell on the love that surrounds you. It is communing with peace and compassion in order to love yourself and others more sufficiently. Meditation in general does wonders for your soul. It is incredibly difficult, in my practice, to clear my mind of everything and focus on one single thing. The mind is a difficult thing to train. I focus on my breathing and my heart rate. I focus on the wind blowing on me or the birds chirping. If I dwell on being at ease with myself and my surroundings, that is what I will become. People say you can't change yourself. You are who you are. I say you are who you wish to be. You are what you dwell on. Life is beautiful, so lets all love it.

No comments: