Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Stop making sense to start making sense
Life doesn't make sense. Huh.
This image is of a graffito in the bathroom at Cafe Sol in Rogers Park. My first thought when I read, "life doesn't make sense," surrounding the yin/yang symbol, was, "unenlightened cleverness."
On realizing that I was reacting and passing judgment, I made the choice instead to look and listen.
What did the artist understand about his own work?
Did a woman sneak into the men's room to do this?
Why the juxtaposition of this statement? This symbol?
Is it "Life's" job to make sense?
Is Life supposed to make sense?
What is Life??
I began to repeat the words as if I were different people:
-as the lamentation of a drunkard, blaming "life" for a whole litany of issues;
-as a businessman, conservative in his choices, who loses his business then watches a drunkard (the guy in the first example) ahead of him in line win the lottery;
-as a dad who just warned his child, "Stay out of trouble," who then sees his child crippled by a stray bullet.
Then I said it to myself as a sage, explaining to the prior iterations of myself that life doesn't have consciousness or order, only "is-ness." We have consciousness, and we create order. Often we do this hastily to regain a sense of control. I wonder if reacting is what I do to gain a sense of control: see, react, move on with that reaction as if it were fuel or gravity: some sort of force that drives or influences my future choices.
The first mistake is reacting too quickly. the second is to failing to recognize you know very little but stand to learn so much.
In a short while in the kwoon, I have begun to look and see differently. In my past I have been reactive. Rather than let myself take something in, absorbing it to process as it mingled with my other experiences and awarenesses, I would just react. I still do this when I drive in the city. Granted, someone intentionally (or otherwise) creating graffiti is physically harmless; someone unintentionally (or otherwise) driving poorly involves potentially serious danger.
Both are mere ideas. Neither are causing actual harm yet. Yet both make me think.If I react, I just get mad and opinionated. No growth. I must acknowledge my present state, create distance, stay aware, remember that none of us is perfect. Then I can begin to ask questions, play with answers, and see what discoveries there are to find. Then I can develop understanding, compassion, and wisdom...and laugh at myself when I pass judgment, forgive myself and the other person, and grow.
Will the other driver grow? I don't know that, can't control it--just like life. What I can control is how I choose to perceive life. So, Graffiti Dude or Dudette, I don't know your take on your own work, but your choice has awakened me.
You may be right, you may be wrong. We have these in common.