Katie Did and Katie Does
#Resound11: Discovery
Categories: #Resound11

Prompt 15 – Discovery: We learn new things every day. Processes change at work. We meet new people. We cook new recipes. We are constantly learning and growing. But sometimes we learn something that qualifies as a discovery. A piece of new information – a feeling, a song, a place, an event, a book, a random fact – can sometimes change our view on the world and our place in it. Discovery can bring on positive change, but sometimes discovery is hard. Sometimes it causes conflict. But after a discovery, something about you just isn’t quite the same. What discovery did you make in 2011? What kind of impact did it have on how you view the world today?

Discovery is a funny thing. Sometimes you don’t realize you’re in the act of discovering until long after the act is complete. And sometimes, you don’t think new information or experiences are having as profound of an effect on you until much further down the road when you remember that moment as one of the turning points to a new way of thought you’ve embraced.

I’ve been on somewhat of a spiritual journey throughout the past five or six years of my life, and on that journey, I’ve met many people who have offered different viewpoints on various components of–stated in the broadest sense–one’s own enlightenment and the collective consciousness of the human race. Sounds deep, I know. And it is. “Enlightenment” is not easy, or the obtainment of it would not be described as a “journey.” Like any destination you travel to, you meet people and see things along the way that help make up the complete journey. You take and leave things as they come – some stick with you, some fleetingly fall away. But each experience, or person, helps make up the big picture.

Any sort of process that requires inward reflection is just that – a process. It’s ongoing, and never really has an end to it. I’ve practiced yoga, read various books, and have met different spiritual teachers along the way that have helped shaped my view of this process and of myself. But this year, I was introduced to one of my teacher’s teacher. And from that emerged some of the greatest discoveries I’ve made about myself, and potentially about the world around me.

I say “potentially” here because I don’t know how I feel about or if I believe what my teacher’s teacher (let’s call her Diane) believes to be true. I prefer not to go into the specifics here, as the material is so dense I can barely wrap my head around it, let alone be capable of regurgitating it to others. The broader point I’m trying to make is that through Diane’s beliefs, I started to think about the viability of my own beliefs and their potential loopholes. I started to mull over the things I’ve always thought to be true and how the things around me may in fact not be what I think they are. Or, maybe I’m putting a personal filter on them through my own eyes, based on my own experiences. That thought alone is a simple concept that we should all try to keep in mind from time to time – perception is reality. But what if our perception is wrong? Or not completely as we thought? What happens then? How do we feel? What do we think? How do we react or adjust? And is changing one’s perception of what’s real a domino effect, whereby when one thought is altered, they all become altered?

After hearing Diane’s viewpoints and comparing them to mine–and seeing they don’t match up whatsoever–I quickly realized how frightening the idea that what you may think is real is not what’s actually occurring. Perhaps that’s why so many of us choose to look the other way on issues that have implications too scary or too big to comprehend. Or some of us may not look deeper at an issue or question its validity if it seems amiss. Some of us choose not to pay attention to politics, religion, wars or other social issues because it’s too much to bear to envision what some of the long-term consequences on our lives are. And for those of us that do pay attention to these issues, we want to believe that what we see as the truth will eventually come to light and someone will alleviate our fears. But is what we think to be the truth actually so? Will we ever know if it is or not?

These are profound questions and not easily answered, or maybe they cannot be answered at all. But if nothing else, there was a broader point that resonated with me as a result of hearing Diane’s views: we each hold different beliefs, some vary greatly more than others. We may become uncomfortable when hearing someone else’s views that are different from our own, and that is a good thing – it stretches your mind and makes you remember why you believe what you do, or perhaps it makes you realize maybe you don’t put as much stake in a certain belief as you thought. Sometimes discovery isn’t as much about discovering a truth, as it is about discovering different ideas. Being open to new ideas and schools of thought can keep us fair and empathetic to others. And what more can we ask of each other than to be conscientious of and fair to one another?

I also want to point out that, aside from the world views Diane shared with me that got me rethinking my own, the spiritual work I did with her helped unearth some deep-seeded feelings I didn’t realize I had been carrying around with me. My discovery on these internal issues was like someone pointing out to me that I’ve been wearing a lead weight tied around my neck unbeknownst to me. Taking a look at some of these issues I’ve been carrying with me nearly all of my life helped me take a calculated look at how I’ve brought on or welcomed certain situations–and people–into my life rather subconsciously. Essentially, I saw my own responsibility in how I have created my life, for better or for worse.

Looking at oneself can be an exhausting and overwhelmingly difficult process, but what you reap from this type of work–be it through spirituality, religion, psychology or other means–can be rewarding beyond what you can imagine. And, truly, what comes from this sort of inward and outward reflection of yourself and the world you live in often results in regular discoveries–sometimes pleasant and sometimes not–that help you grow and develop into your highest potential as a human being.

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