Thursday, November 6, 2014

Seek after that which is not yet known

Seek not to follow in the footsteps of men of old; seek what they sought.
—Matsuo Basho

1:27 How genuinely we experience life is determined by the level of our conscious awareness. Unless we’re open and willing to directly experience the truth of something for ourselves, there is no way for such an experience to take place. If we rely on hearsay, or fill in all the blanks with beliefs, no genuine experience is likely to occur. Any time that we can open up and not know, we clear a space for understanding something beyond our habits of thinking. This is how someone like Picasso might suddenly be able to see the world in a new way. And evidence of gravity was there all along for Newton, but it took a certain transcendence of his own “knowledge” before he could conceive of it.

1:28 From a state of not-knowing, people like Galileo and Einstein were able to undertake the open questioning that allowed them to discover and invent new ways of thinking about the universe. Take note that their discoveries weren’t just new ideas—anyone can come up with new ideas. What each of these people had was an insight, which is a sudden wakening in the mind or consciousness, a personal encounter with real possibilities. Their insights were grounded in reality—the result of something actually experienced—and they changed the way we relate to the physical universe. Although it might be harder to recognize, the same kind of openness that fostered those insights was also the source of Rumi’s poetry and Gautama Buddha’s massive enlightenment.

1:29 Humanity advances through the contributions of individuals. Before any contribution, there is insight, and before insight, there must be openness. The opening power of not-knowing is found wherever creativity is active. Whether they’re aware of it or not, artists abide in not-knowing when they create, athletes need it to get into the “zone,” lovers use it to allow total communion with another, and scientists must continually return to it before they can make any new discovery. This key to the very source of creativity is available to every human being in every circumstance, and we can all use it to help find our way to a deeper and more genuine experience of ourselves.
No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.

—Albert Einstein

Excerpt From: Ralston, Peter. “The Book of Not Knowing.” North Atlantic Books, 2010. iBooks. 

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