Saturday, October 6, 2012

How do you know?

Have you ever wondered about the lack of an "instruction manual" or even some sort of basic, "pre-loaded software" (if you will), for living a successful, and fulfilling life on the world of our nativity?

When I arrived on Columbus Day back in 1962, My mother complained that I was a somewhat difficult birth (due to my near 10 pounds, and her slight 105 lb. 4'11" inch frame). She was also quite adamant about the fact that, the only thing I arrived with were some "baby condo fluids, and various assorted goo type substances".  She assures me even to this day, that my arrival, was in no way accompanied with a set of instructions, nor did she present me with a "Mykal 1.0 Owners Manual" for how to live a meaningful, successful life. 

I arrived on a planet which was already deeply established, and deeply entrenched, in it's own customs and beliefs. I did not, to the best of my knowledge, have any say over the world I was born into, and everything I have learned while sojourning on this world, has come from those who were already here when I got here, and each one of them already filled with their own distorted notions of what Mykal's life should be.

I have read a lot of material about what comes after this life, and have come to the conclusion that it really does not matter.  What comes next is simply that, what comes next, and we will know it when we get there or we will not know anything at all... either way - problem solved.  I feel sure that time spent concerned with what comes next is time we cannot get back, just as time spent concerned with what has come before.  So I have begun asking one simple question about everything I encounter, and everything I am told and it is this...

How do you know?

Beginning with simple stuff such as "stove hot" I can ask how do you know and I have at my disposal methods of inquiry which can answer this simple question.  I can touch the stove and know for myself first hand what "stove hot" means to me.  I can watch as you put your hand on the stove and know what "Stove hot" means to you, but that does not add meaning for me, except knowing what "stove hot" means to you.  The "stove hot" experience is a manner of testing theory and putting it into practice which allows each individual to add to the overall experience of the planet, while adding to the personal experience as well.

I once had the pleasure of being told that if I didn't change my ways I was going to burn in hell, and I was able to ask point blank "how do you know?"  That was my first experience with just how agitated a true believer can get with a simple line of questioning, because it appeared to him that I was questioning his faith.  "The Bible says"... and he went on to expound on a book he had read, written thousands of years ago by those he had never met, about someone he cannot prove existed, and that was where things got deep.  It's a simple question, how do you know?  One which when answered with "this book says, or that person said" simply does not suffice.  

Now I am not here to question anyone's beliefs, only to establish for myself a clear picture of what my life means to me.  I do not know what your life means to you, and I can ask about your experiences in order to hear your story, and your direct experiences are a wonderful gift when shared, but much like the taste of honey, you have either tasted it, or you haven't.  If you have tasted honey, I do not have to explain to you what it tasted like, and if you have not there is no way I can ever explain to you what it tasted like to me.

As I look around, I see so many people locked into a world where they take on faith what someone tells them, and even in the face of direct experience they deny what they learn if it does not line up with what they believe to be true, based on what they were told is true.  This is heartbreaking to me, especially when I see it leading to destructive behaviors which harm those around them.  If you choose to believe what is written in a book, that is your business, just so long as you do not push your beliefs on me.  If you say you will be greeted by angels playing harps, or 99 virgins, that's your belief and you are free to believe it as long as it does not infringe on my experience while I am here on this planet.  It is when your beliefs infringe on my experience that we reach an impasse and you need to back away.  But as you do, please ask yourself the one simple question... 

How do you know?

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