Things I Know That Make Life Worth Living
Originally published in: A Philosopher’s Stone
1. I know, or know at least much of, what I don’t know.
There are many questions that are perhaps meant to be asked, but not answered.
I know that I will never be certain or absolute in many things, and that there is beauty in this as well as reason beyond what I can consciously understand.
To that end, I know I possess understanding that I am not necessarily conscious of.
I know that I’ll never have definitive knowledge as to why I’m here on this earth, or about what my “purpose” is, but that there is something.
2. To this end, I know what I do know.
I know what feels good, and right, and holy, and that I don’t need validation from others to make these things true: love, truth, honesty, companionship, community.
I know that we are all part of a whole, perhaps pieces of one-ness, and that what is good for me is good for others.
I’m equipped with a knowing of how to be, which helps when I have no freaking idea what to do. This is the case, no matter how difficult it may be to accept.
I know to serve, to be grateful, to be benevolent. I know to love myself fiercely, and that I won’t be able to love others until I do.
I know that there is a lot I don’t know which I can know. Information, healing techniques, math, science, history, all of which can help me, and all of which I can learn from others.
And all this information, this knowledge, that I can know? I can also apply and use it in ways that no one else can because there is no one like me. No one with the same experiences, merits, challenges, or memories. No one who can take “common knowledge” and mold it to help this world in how I can.
3. I know to ask questions.
To lean on others and see in them the teachers they are, but also to not take for granted that what they tell me may be the truth.
I know that I would like for there to be guidelines, a users’ manual to this thing whole “life” thing.
I would love to listen to someone and have everything mapped out: this is what I need to be good, and happy, and perfect. These are the exact steps to follow to reach enlightenment.
But, because I know that this doesn’t exist, that perfection is imperfection, I know to ask questions. To ask questions of myself, about what and how I am, to ask questions of others, and seek to challenge and love and support through these things.
4. I know what not to do.
I know not to lie, to steal, to cheat, or to be selfish.
Also, I know that I will inevitably catch myself doing these things, and that in these moments self-forgiveness is so so important.
5. I know that things change.
That everything is impermanent. And that, because of this, I am freed to live my life on my own terms.
I can give myself permission to see things as they are, as an observer, rather than the overly reactive this-is-how-I-want-things-to-be person that everyone has been.
I know to appreciate and accept whatever comes, even when I don’t remember in the moment.
I know that everything is the same, that much of my sensation is just a by product of biochemical reactions between my mind and body, and that I have the ability to make my mind work for, instead of against, me.
6. I know that I, we, are far greater than we could ever imagine.
That out capacity extends far beyond even the glimpses of gargantuan awesomeness that I’ve seen in myself and in others, and that this is exciting to think about and pursue.
7. I know that the more I know, the more I’ll realize how much I don’t know.
The more I progress, and learn, and practice, the more I am humbled by how much I don’t know. I realize my insignificance, and paradoxical importance, in the world and in every moment.
I can see it in my greatest friends and teachers. Those who I think have everything figured out seem content largely because of their surrender to all the things that they don’t and can’t know.
8. I know that I am trying my best. And that is enough.
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