The first rule of life is to live truthfully. The second rule of life is to live compassionately. Until we get those two rules down, we are only pretending to be alive, wrapped up as we are in denial and greed. The third rule of life is to live in the service of balance and harmony. We do that in conjunction with the fourth rule of life: Live to reduce complexity and to increase simplicity. In this way, we become a shelter for energy, spirit and vitality, and a champion of silence and awareness. And are ready to step into each situation as it arises as those capable of-- and committed to-- seeing what's what, hearing what is called for, and doing the right thing, in the right way, at the right time, moment by moment, as servants of our original nature, with sincerity and spontaneity, and no thought of contrivance, advantage or gain, one situation at a time throughout the time left for living. And that is all there is to the greatest adventure we could possibly hope for-- all for the low, low price of seeing what we look at and hearing what is being said.
I live by whim and fancy. I fancy this and do that on a whim, and here I am, the result of accident and chance, or coincidence and serendipity, or synchronicity, as Carl Jung might say. For lack of anything better to do, I selected Joseph Campbell's Romance of the Grail: The Magic and Mystery of Arthurian Myth and Thomas Cleary's Wen-Tzu, Understanding the Mysteries, Further Teachings of Lao-tzu, because I always read more than one book at a time, and why not? And discovered that the two books are the same book, saying the same things separated by a thousand (or more) years. The truth they extol is timeless/eternal and relentlessly ignored through the ages: "Instinct and intuition lead the way, innocence and sincerity find it, resolution in the service of integrity see it through." Life experience leads us there, personal ambition, desire and fear push us past it, and we never stay there long enough to have it made and know that we have it made, and never budge for nothing, not no way, not no how, forget it, we are where we need to be, go on without us, we aren't moving from the still point of the turning world.
I project my melancholy onto the world, and see what I see through the lens of sadness and sorrow. I read the headlines and sense the sadness and sorrow, and can't see how anyone could read the headlines and not sense the sadness and the sorrow. And whether the sadness and sorrow is out there, really and truly, or "just" in here, really and truly, is one of those "Where does the line lie?" kind of questions that refuse all attempts at answering. Sadness and sorrow are valid ways of interpreting what I see and hear. Other people with a different bias, or an affinity for rejecting all invitations to experience sadness and sorrow, would have different interpretations. Their different ways of seeing what we all look at do not invalidate my ways of seeing what we look at. We look at the same world and see different things, canted as we are toward reading things in light of the impact of our experience, and evaluating where we are based on where we have been. A red and white striped beach ball will trigger different responses among people with different experiences of red and white striped beach balls. We can't say any of those people are wrong for seeing things as they do. They can't help seeing things as they do. If we can see that, it will moderate the way we respond to them and their response to the beach ball, and to the beach, and to the ocean, and to the world... And that might enable us to work with them toward responding to the world in ways that are good for the world, and for each other, as we make our way, our ways, through our life, in ways beneficial to the good of each other and of the whole.
How we see things is a function of how we look at things. When we "read a scene," we are also "reading things into the scene," based on what we expect to see and what we assume and infer about what we see. We rarely see anything "just as it is," but also in light of what we bring into the scene with us out of our past experience with everything that we have experienced. We "add things" to every scene, and "miss things" in every scene, because of the way we look at what we see. Everything reminds us of something, connects us with something, triggers something, some memory, some feeling, some response, which deepens/expands/enlarges, or reduces/diminishes/disappears, aspects of what we look at-- bringing into play the old maxim, "Thou Art That" in ways unintended by the originator of the phrase. Being aware of being "hooked" by a scene/object/person/place/idea frees us to explore ourselves, the "inner," as well as the "outer," the "other," in each interchange, and provides an opportunity for reflection/realization/transformation that opens us more fully to the adventure of being alive by showing us what all there is to see for those who see their seeing, feel their feeling, think about their thinking, and know what all they know and don't know all along the way.