Awakening, Approximation, and Precision

Humans have an amazing belief in approximation and acceptance of approximations. How good is good enough? How precise do we need to be? A certain degree of approximation.

What we find is that humans are often content with a relatively crude approximation of something, with special cases of closer approximation.

Education is the process of learning to be able to attune to various kinds of experience. When the capacity for attunement first awakens, it does so in a relatively crude (approximate) form, as a painter/artist first blocks out large and general regions in her or his starting canvas (or whatever).  A certain somatic faculty, or intelligence, emerges. (Soma is more than reflexive flesh-body; "soma" is CONSCIOUS flesh-body; you are somatic.)

Capacity to recognize detail comes with the accumulation of memory -- provided the person pays attention. You've got to pay attention to accumulate memory and see detail.

The capacity to BE educated, however, depends upon a certain awakened attention and arising intention that WANTS to wake up in that way.

There's an old story about a certain person who approached a certain guru to ask to be his disciple.

The guru said, "You have to really want it."

The supplicant said: "I really want it!"

The guru said, "No, you REALLY have to want it!"

"I do!" the supplicant said.

"No. Let me show you."

And the guru stood up and said, "Follow me."

And they walked until they reached the riverbank.

The guru said, "Kneel at the edge of the water. Face the water."

The supplicant did as he was told, and with a gentle but decisive motion, the guru pushed the supplicant's head into the river and held it there.

In a few moments, the supplicant began struggling to get up so he could breathe. After a few moments, the guru let him go and the supplicant came up gasping.

"What did you do that for!!?" cried the supplicant.

"You have to want it that much!" said the guru.

Those of us who have worked through mountains of our own dysfunction (which means we were under mountains of dysfunction), feel what that story means.

That is why suffering is sometimes described as a form of grace: It gives us a strong impulse in a certain direction that the casual person generally doesn't have -- like the supplicant gasping for air.

copyright 2017 Lawrence Gold

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