Every day, we are bombarded with what I call word-tools: symbols for the mental categories we call concepts. Why shouldn’t we be immersed in them? After all, what else is there?
What should I do?
Why should I do it?
How will I do it?
What do I need to know, get, and manipulate in order to do it?
Goals, reasons, methods, knowledge, and resources – they are all concepts created by us. We are surrounded with concepts as they “guide” us through our days and affect our relationships with ourselves and others.
But what is a concept? Where does it come from? How often do we look beneath the surface of this world of words that masquerades as “everything”?
When we accumulate more and more concepts and then associate them based on logic and reason, we call it “knowledge” and come to feel that we know the truth. We feel we can be certain and gain security as long as we work within this structure, within the world of word-tool construction.
Widening my awareness, while allowing myself to consider reality outside my concept-based belief systems, led to sensing people and nature more deeply. It opened doors to questioning and to a vast potential that I hadn’t known existed.
I began to see how firmly I had entrenched my certainty about knowing “the truth”. I had been living almost completely within my own radar screen. (See The Value of What I Don’t Know in Part 2: Connectivity.) Only my surface self existed – the one that deals with the goals, reasons, methods, knowledge, and resources of the world. I see now that I had closed out vast possibilities by regarding ideas as unquestionable because they were logical.
Why might I want to question my certainty? Because I keep running into person after person who appears to have a “the truth”, a single, all-encompassing truth that is vastly different from mine. If we look, we find so many “the truths” that are different from those of my family, my friends, my community, my religion, my culture, etc. We all appear to think we know “the truth”, and I for one often find myself spending lots of energy defending it.
How can there be so many versions of “the truth”?
I am trying to discover for myself, and to shine a light on, why so many “the truths” seem to exist in contradiction to one another. I view concepts and words as a part of understanding why we’ve formed these many opposing “the truths”. It has to do with what concepts/words are, where they come from, and how their limitations contribute to the tendency to see them as everything.
As I have become more aware of the nature of our word-tools (concepts), I have come to know myself as a whole being and to feel the peace of Connectivity with other Beings and with the world around me. I have walked away, just a little, from a life dominated by the stress of having to constantly make sure something or someone is consistent with the this-not-that of a concept. (See What Is a Word?)
I have walked, and continue to walk, toward a joyful flow of living in which I experience the color and vibrancy of life and the fullness of the moment, without as much of the resistance, tension, and defense I felt in the past.
Life feels different now. I found it by opening up to less-limiting concepts that were new to me. I looked within and weaved new concepts with daily experience of a state of awareness that is nonconceptual, a state that existed prior to words.
I know that you can experience this too, if you haven’t already. I know it because you have the same inner state of awareness I have, an awareness that is the source of all types of knowing, cognitive and non-cognitive.