Greetings to all from the deeps of January. One year has finished and another begun anew. One more chapter has closed and a new one lies before us waiting to be written. For a change, most of us are having hardly any trouble letting go of the year just past. We make our way a bit more swiftly and surely across this year’s threshold. We collectively take a deep breath before plunging in, hoping that that which is to come will somehow be better than that which has gone before.
What can be the key to our continuing progression, materially, psychologically and spiritually; a way of making some sense of recent experiences, both internally and externally? Comparing the reading of a text to the experiencing of life, let’s consider how one works through a worthwhile book. Some chapters may be more enjoyable than others, some may be downright scary. How to persevere and progress to the end? Simply put, by turning the page. No matter what we encountered in our reading, we would know the story was worthwhile and sentence by sentence, page by page, we would keep on with our task until we had made the wholeness of the book our very own. We would not judge the book’s worth by the content of a single sentence or chapter. In fact, our personal preferences would be suspended for the duration because we know that the book, taken as a whole, would be much more valuable than any partial impressions we might form about it before reaching its end. We would no sooner judge the book from the impression given from a single sentence or chapter than we would consider judging a movie by a single frame or scene. Wholeness or completeness is crucial for a correct evaluation.
The challenge is always to do our best to achieve wholeness or completion, to reserve judgment until things are viewed in their entirety. We are all, individually and together, on the journey of becoming whole. Whether or not this journey has an actual ending remains an open question. The point is to realize that our judgments, beliefs and understanding of ourselves or the world are partial, i.e. incomplete. These opinions and beliefs are but markings. They help us make temporary sense of where we are on our journey in much the same way that we might use a bookmark to help us locate our place during a good read.
The problem arises when we enshrine them as permanent truths. Then, we risk becoming fixed, frozen into a specific outlook or attitude. Traumatic events only increase the likelihood of our becoming immobilized or of even regressing in consciousness. Our awareness becomes stuck, not able to broaden or deepen, unable to maintain the necessary level of flexibility and openness that a successful completion of our journey will require.
Ultimately, perhaps, there are no final truths, just resting places along the way. As long as we keep turning the page, sentence by sentence, chapter by chapter (even book by book), we can always expect that clarity and wisdom will grant us their boons in the long run. If we get confused or even scared along the way, we may rest assured that a little further down the road an increasing wholeness, a further reading of the story, will always bring a more complete understanding and perhaps, hopefully, even an eventual acceptance of why things have proceeded the way they have. We simply keep turning the page!