Knowing when to quit is knowing when its done. And that is as important as knowing what to do, and when, and where, and how to do it. Put those five elements together, and we have a life well-lived, regardless of what we achieve, accomplish, or succeed in getting done. Adam and Eve brought contrivance into the scene. Actually, that comes with us all on our exit from the womb. Contrivance is the original sin-- trying to improve our status, and increase our advantage, and insure our gain, so that we always have more tomorrow, and next year, than we have today, and this year. As though there is some advantage to having the advantage, something to be gained from making gains. What is the measure of a life well-lived? Why isn't that enough? How many well-lived lives make the annual Who's Who list, or are to be counted among the Fortune 500? The people who cheat to gain entrance to the National Honor Society, are missing something essential in integrity and spontaneity, honesty and self-transparency. But, they certainly belong to the heritage of Adam and Eve, in doing what it takes to get what they want, no matter the cost, regardless of the price. What does getting what we want have to do with a life well-lived? Why want anything more than that?
What keeps us going? The question opens the door to a chaotic hoard of questions begging to be answered. "Why is that important to you?" "What other reasons can you come up with?" "How do you know there isn't something else you are missing?" ... And the end of them all is the answer opening another door to the Mystery at the Heart of Life and Being: "I don't know." We don't know what keeps us going, or why some of us stop long before the end of the line. We just do. We just go. We just quit. Why? We don't know. What separates the goers from the quitters? We don't know. Our life is grounded upon mystery from start to finish. You would think we might be more curious about the Mystery-- that we would make it our quest to get to the bottom of things, or at least make a game effort, by probing the unknown essence connecting us all. Where would we start? How would we proceed? How might we approach the Mystery at the Heart of Life and Being? What can we know about what cannot be known? Who all have sought what cannot be found? What did they find? What clues does the Mystery scatter about to point, or suggest, the Way? The Way to the Mystery that cannot be found. Why bother taking up such a search? The people who shun "hypotheticals," in favor of practicality, are operating out of the hypothesis that hypotheticals distract from the business at hand. The value of the business at hand, and what makes it valuable, is exactly the province of hypotheticals, and the purview of the Mystery. Opening ourselves to the Mystery upholding Life and Being, "puts us in our place," and reminds us that we do not know what's what, or what it means, or where it's going, and that humility and curiosity essential companions in feeling our way along The Way in service of the Mystery at the bottom of it all.
Learning to listen, learning to see, learning to be mindfully aware, learning to be compassionately present, learning to be attentively alive to the here and now... is all one multi-dimensional perspective shift. Perspective shifts are fundamental to waking up. Realization, illumination, enlightenment, awakening... are all perspective shifts. It's the swing point between seeing what is and seeing what also is with an optical illusion. Changes in perspective change everything. We cannot see anything without changing the way we see it. We start with the proposal: The way we see something/anything is not the way it is, but the way we see it. As we change the way we see it, we change our relationship with it, we change who we are in relation to it, and we change what it is in relation to us. Which way is it really? The question no longer applies. "Really" "Reality" are not steady states of being, but ways of perceiving the people and things which make up our world. All of reality has an independent existence apart from how we see it, and we cannot get int its essence, its "just so-ness" to see/know it "as it is." We can only see/know "how it appears to be." The same thing applies to ourselves. Perception is a function of perspective. What we see is a function of how we see. How we are sober is not now we are drunk, or high. Angry or happy. How are we "really"? It depends on what kind of mood we are in. On what time of day it is. On a number of shifting variables. So what? So what we see depends on a number of things, and cannot be trusted to disclose "what is." So blanket judgments/statements about anything are conjectures/inferences awaiting further clarification, and our perspective is an attitude awaiting further clarification. We are, at every point, waiting for the mud to settle and the water to clear. And we are never more than a perspective shift away from seeing, hearing, understanding, knowing, doing, being, becoming, in order to do it all again. Waking up is like growing up, a process unfolding over time, without end. Sisyphean tasks for the ages.