Supremely Tidy

Our boats need to sail in the same direction, or so the proverb goes. If a man takes all of the desires, thoughts and impulses which live inside him and ties each with a piece of string, very soon his inner world becomes visibly ensnared and enmeshed. The rule in our everyday lives is to look outwardly clean and display that same care in our home and workplace. It is always about the external, trained to us by rote long, long ago. How filled we are inside our minds with pieces of garbage, food that has been left out and is now rotting, dangerous objects with jagged, sharp edges, and essential appliances desperately in need of repair — it matters not, for we are insensitive and unaware to most this reality.

Regardless of what movements like religion have become and to what they are ascribed, there are those who look onto these teachings as fossilized shells of something originally quite different. One of the clear examples, though jaded by a formation quite unique in modern times, is the system and sect of Buddhism called Zen. It has remained a practice which emphasizes the need for both the inner and outer to reflect one another, for the sake of its pursuit of what you can call by many names. The truth is that modern education and society ignores this aspect of ourselves in many ways, leaving us to discard or minimize the importance of the need to tidy the space within.

But of course we wonder which came first — the chicken or the egg? Infants become boys and by the time they have a basic and rudimentary development of their minds, they have already imitated, adopted and absorbed a myriad of ideas to which they now hold as inwardly true. As a special species which requires its children to be cared for and chaperoned for a stretch of time which is measured by years, we are left unconditionally influenced by whatever nurturing forces exist. With a device for thought and conception, we spend the first few laps of our lives feeding on the innumerable and almost incalculable layers of detail which comprise space, time and the laws which entwine them. The next few are dedicated purely to the inculcation of a personality that can be safely accepted and admitted by the world of men and mortar.

So a man, finding himself at the crossroads, looking back on a past which we cannot trust or depend on, must decide to deconstruct this tower of straw and mud, building in its wake something entirely of his own. No longer can he allow himself to be wholly satisfied by the quality of his default reactions and decisions, for they are formed from a perspective which is built of ideas which are stale and alien to his own intimate verification. He finds that he contradicts himself from one moment to the next, though he is more than happy to point out the contradictions of others. He hears the thoughts that pace and swirl through his head and begins to wonder if they should be embraced like before or ignored and tossed out the window.

There is an idea, madly popular as of now amongst some, that our thoughts attract our fate. Yet the reality of whatever truth is in this idea lies in that what we are, and how we are, brick to brick, defines our spot in the totality of all that is. The universe is supremely tidy, giving each things its place and due according to both its nature and, for that which is also sentient, its merit. While a force seems to exist, beyond our comprehension, which organizes the outer world according to a design of its own making, we, the only creatures on this earth endowed with thought, are left to responsible to govern and make good of this inner world.


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