How our experiences nurture our souls
“No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.”
― Gautama Buddha, Sayings Of Buddha
There is really only one way to know something for ourselves and that is to know something for ourselves.
I know this is very over-simplified. But I also know it is true: The only way to really know anything is to take the information that is coming into our spheres of consciousness and see what its meaning is for our own personal experiences.
It is as if each one of us needs to be our own personal scientist, exploring and researching reality with our individual study techniques that we have formed over the course of our lives. This personal study is a very important act because we know that following the masses can be very dangerous.
Environmental destruction, slavery, genocide and injustices of all kind come from blindly following the masses instead of evaluating reality for ourselves in order to come to our own conclusions. After all, we each have a heart and we each have to touch in to the information stored there if we want to even begin to find an ounce of truth during this short human journey.
Here is why I have been thinking about this concept of each person finding truth for themselves: I have been reflecting lately on the 20 pounds I have recently gained; this led me to thinking about all the different weights I have been in my adult life.
There have been many different sizes for this body of mine since I was 18. And what I suddenly realised is that there is no correlation between my body size and the amount of happiness I feel. There have been times when I was at my thinnest but also at my most miserable; right now, at my largest, I feel the best I have felt in a long time.
The same goes for the correlation between the amount of money in my bank account and the amount of joy I feel on a daily basis. If I just look at my experiences throughout my life, more money has not equalled more daily joy.
Now of course, this is not an original thought. The fact that money cannot buy happiness is a very old teaching. But this morning I felt the truth of this teaching in a very visceral way within my own experience of reality. I see now that this is what is really important — that we find the truth of these lessons in our own experiences.
No one can learn anything for us. We need to do it ourselves. We need to try stuff out, experiment, fail, succeed, get confused, have insights, think we know it all, feel sure we know nothing, keep trying, connect the dots of our life journey, and then rip up the page the dots were written on.
If we just drift along with what mass culture tells us then all we will find is a lot to be ashamed of. We will always not quite look right, not fit-in, not be rich enough, not be successful enough and of course, never ever pretty or handsome enough.
If we internalise the messages that a big body and a small bank account equal shame and failure we will be limiting our knowledge base to a pea-sized nugget of wisdom that holds no power to nurture our souls.
The only thing that can nurture our souls is our knowledge. And the only way to gain that knowledge is to have experiences — to feel good and to feel bad, and to start drawing our own conclusions about what the meaning of those feelings are.
Numbers don’t equal happiness and love can’t be weighed.
Try it out for yourself and see what you find.