"Who am I living for?
Is this my limit, Can I endure some more
Chances are given, Question Existing."
~ Question Existing, Rihanna
We all have a name. Many ID cards (& Bills) confirm this - but knowing our name doesn't always mean we know who we are. We may schedule our daily to do's on iCal or by hand -- but going through the motions doesn't guarantee we understand our purpose. We fill out forms (address, social security number and date of birth) by heart - but filling in the details about what life's all about requires the heart to remember our true nature.
The meaning of life is a hot topic for world philosophers, theologians and everyday seekers. Existentialists like Martin Heidegger, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Simone de Beauvoir focus much of their work on the role of "ambiguity" in the overall meaning of the Human Condition. As an existential term, ambiguity refers to the inscrutable elements at play within a most familiar subject: Existence. Like driving in a thick fog, ambiguity makes it difficult to see the road ahead.
Even on a clear day, though -- life throws curve balls! According to the Buddha, life is ephemeral, and, therefore, almost impossible to nail down in finite definitions. In this model, perpetual change emerges as the one sure thing. In everlasting waves, we're surrounded by karmic riddles. Paradoxical pith so puzzling that the right solution takes eons to figure out. Rendering strategies like: wrestling variables and vacillating limbo -- as virtually fruitless in the quest for truth. To save "Gotham City" from the murky angst we must defog the existentials -- translating what Heidegger called the "question of being" in to a stealth plan of action -- measurable over time. Indian spiritual leader Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh suggests: The world is not a problem; the problem is our unawareness.
To alleviate ambiguity, amplify awareness. Or more simply, as the brilliant Poet Rainer Maria Rilke proposes: Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer. In contrast, we so often pursue "why" (me) and what's next types of questions. This style of thinking fragments the Mind + Body connection and engenders a feeling of separateness from Self and the present moment. To follow Rilke's advice we must learn to surrender dualistic thoughts and Live the questions now as if l.etting i.n v.isceral e.xperiences as a dance of feelings. In order to label the sensations (think: somatic name game), the mind and body become immediate teammates in the pursuit of understanding.
To pattern new responses we must first cultivate new pathways. The next time a certain mood stimulates a habitual reaction, press the pause button and study "it". Ask: How do I know it? Where is it? What's it look like? Subjectify "it" into a feeling or character in order to engage the Mind + Body Dialogue. It's a simple acknowledgment, "Oh, this is where (mad, sad or glad) live in my heart" or "Aha, you are the feeling that makes my shoulders tense up" or "Hello, anxiety, I would like to introduce you to my new friend peace". In this light, paying attention to the interaction between our inner and outer environments sets the stage for Mind + Body Awareness.
Certain aspects of life are difficult to understand. In the mystery, seek out the magic. Simple truths stand the test of time. Just look at how the lotus blossoms in a muddy pond. Magnificence unfolding. Take from this example: Even when life gets messy -- we can still find beauty in the present moment when we become aware of the here and now. Henri Matisse, one of the most influential Artists of all time, paints just the right picture: Derive happiness in oneself from a good day's work, from illuminating the fog that surrounds us.