Remember the old story about the guy who was in the search for the meaning of life and his purpose and why he was here and so on. And so he travels to a distant land seeking answers. When he meets people on the way, he’s told that the wisest man was at the top of the very tall mountain living alone in a cave. So the guy walks great distances and climbs tall mountains till he finally reaches the top. There, sitting in the lotus position is an old man with a very long beard. The guy walks up to the man with great reverence and asks his question.
“What is the meaning of life?”
Now at this point, every answer I ever heard from the old man was either conceptual and the guy had to go back and think for himself and figure it out…or it was a punchline. I don’t know why but I kinda liked the story of somebody who would travel to find somebody like the wisest man in the world. I mean who would not like to spend even just a few minutes with the wisest man in the world. Didn’t he deserve some kind of answer?
For some reason, something I was watching on television reminded me of that story. And I just couldn’t shake it. There is something about the story in of itself that was gnawing at me. It stayed with me all the way into the night. Fortunately, right when I go to bed, when I’m trying to fall asleep is when I sometimes do the best thinking. So that night I lied there contemplating the story. I must’ve laid there thinking about this for an hour when suddenly it hit me. I think I get it.
That the old man is us. The real us. The assets at the very core of our being that seems to fade further and further from view as we get older and older. Sadly, it starts about when we start school, when our fun times with games and wonder and imagination is replaced by books and rules and tests.
So lately I’ve been trying to crawl up that mountain, looking for the lady in the cave. I know she’s inside of me. Maybe if I were just allowed to play more with my friends, playing games that we made up, and creating new rules as we went along. When we pretended to be someone else, somewhere else. I would have been able to start looking for the lady from a closer place. It just seems that the more I played the more I got to know about myself and how I really wasn’t like anybody else.
See, I was damaged and I knew it. It wouldn’t be until my first attempt at college that I was diagnosed with dyslexia. Now today it’s accepted as a real and all too common thing. But back then I was “just being stupid!” or I “wasn’t trying.” Little did they know…
Now however, I see my struggle as a gift. My individuality means a lot to me. I just honestly think I would’ve found my wise lady in the cave sooner had I been able to stay in the realm of playing spontaneous games that required mutual responsiveness in real “in the moment” time. What better way to discover the way you feel about things, really. Not to mention, learning about the consequences of my beliefs or opinions. I would’ve loved to of had disagreements and points a view that I had to defend or justify. Just to have the experience of going through a disagreement or argument that would require introspective thought, and the opportunity to discover what I learned about myself from those experiences.
Now, believe me, I know that as adults we are not necessarily able to just go knock on the neighbor’s door and ask if they want to go play. Unfortunately many children can’t do that anymore today either but I digress. But, what we can do is whatever makes us happy, and
brings us joy. We should revel in the things we love to do at least a little bit every day, instead of just on weekends or after retirement. It’s important because I think we get more in touch with ourselves with every new experience we have.
So please do yourself a favor and reward yourself by going out and experiencing something, anything. There you will find the answers you seek.