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Seeing the Way

Only the perfect man can transcend the limits of the human and yet not withdraw from the world, live in accord with mankind and yet suffer no injury himself. Of the worlds teaching he learns nothing. He has that within which makes him independent of others.
If the eye is unobstructed, the result is sight. If the ear is unobstructed, the result is hearing. If the nose is unobstructed, the result is smell. If the mouth is unobstructed, the result is taste. If the mind is unobstructed, the result is wisdom.
— Chuang Tzu

In the quest for clarity, we must remove the distractions and occlusions that get in the way of truly seeing. Mostly, this is our monkey brain at work, but often the circle of influence around us plays their part too. It isn’t a stretch to think of examples of the times we’ve opted for anything but seeing (the phone currently cradled in your hand is a great tool for this). We all want clarity, but take great pains to avoid it. Such is life.

Seeking wisdom in a world full of madness seems frivolous on the one hand but absolutely essential on the other. None of us get out of this alive, but we may transcend our current hyper-distracted mind with a bit of applied focus. Easier said than done: I mean, I just got a puppy. I’ve blown up part of my home with yet another remodeling project. I’ve got a brother with terminal cancer. Who has time such pursuits as wisdom when your world is upside-down?

The thing is, life is always full of such urgent distractions. We have to pause a beat, even in the most maddening of times, and find clarity and purpose. Without it we’re simply winging it through life, and find ourselves looking around and wondering where the time went. We must fill our lives with the essential for our lives to be fulfilling. The things I listed as distracting from purpose are themselves essential for a full life. You likely have a similar list. The aim isn’t to remove these things, but to rise above them to see the forest for the trees, that we know where we’re going. To know, deeply, that this is the way for us.

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