“You don’t have to get it right to get it.” — me
Maybe things are getting out of hand when I start quoting myself without the ruse of a pseudonym (Chen Jen, Zhouzi). But since everything I say is derived in any case, I suppose it doesn’t matter.
I am often tempted, believe it or not, to just offer up a single sentence and leave it at that. There are so many sentences which, though they may not say all that much, say all that need be said. The one quoted above, for instance, if considered deeply enough, could bring the mind to that fathomless void which invites a final leap. At least, it does it for me.
I’ve been here before, of course; I seldom have anything ‘new’ to say. But some things seem well worth repeating for my own sake. I am, after all, just teaching myself.
You don’t need to get it (in the sense of understanding ‘truth’) to get it (truthful experience). Genuine experience of our human potential is not contingent upon our having found the ‘right’ way or the ‘true’ way. As I am fond of saying, life does not resolve itself to the categories which the understanding consciousness requires. There is more than one way to skin a cat (or woo one). What works for you is the ‘right’ way.
I spoke of a void because the understanding consciousness essentially rules our interface with the world, and to suggest that it does not here hold sway turns its world upside down. It is a very difficult thing indeed to stop believing we must find truth to realize what is true of us. And yet to do so, is to leap into a radically new way of being in the world.
This perspective is the one espoused by Zhuangzi when he suggests that all our contradictory theories about the right way to live, all the many taos, cancel each other out into a sameness. He does not declare any one of them, including his own, to be right and the others wrong, but that all of them are ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ according to one’s perspective. This perspectival relativism allows him to affirm them all. It may very well be that we must commit ourselves to a particular tao. Zhuangzi chooses a tao of inclusiveness and finds his freedom there.
It is not that every tao is equally able to lead us to freedom; many probably lead us into greater bondage. And yet this discriminatory judgment, if understood as we understand getting it without getting it, likewise brings us to the fathomless void. One man’s bondage is another’s freedom. Let all the flowers bloom just as they bloom. This is what makes the woodland meadow what it is and the world what it is. The stakes are not high; there are no stakes at all. When we can say “So what?” to all our differences we are well on our way to realizing that “All is well”.
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