Have you ever sat and wondered all the generic question you learned in your freshman English class? Like where and why and how and who and what? I mean truly asked those questions without associating any context to them?
Judging by my personal experience in life, I’m guessing not. But it’s funny how these words can be the springboard to the broadest questions in the world. But that’s not how we like to think. We often prefer to attach them to specifics so we can narrow their scope. It’s what we have been trained to do from the time our mind could think beyond itself.
The structure of how we think tends to be one that collapses in on itself. We are trained to critically analyze things from early on in our education. To take something broad and hone in on its specifics. So, because of this, rarely do we ever get to ask ourselves the broad questions and truly meditate on them because our minds are so focused on breaking down the broad into the specific.
Take for example something like love. It’s a buzzword of sorts for people like myself in their early twenties. Relatives and the world often ask us questions about our “love life” as if we should separate that from life itself. Love, when compartmentalized into an attachment with someone else, fails to provide a true sense of what the overarching reality of love is. When we jump straight to the specific, we limit our ability to access the broader and more universal concept. And when we don’t understand the universal aspects, we can’t fully know what the characteristics of the specifics are.
In terms of the universal way of love, my best bet is quite simply this… Love, in a universal far reaching context, is perhaps best characterized as the ability to abandon ones personal and selfish identity to make way for an identity that gives itself to the harmony of the rest of the world. This is seen clearly through natures act of pollination, where certain animals, namely bees, carry out a fertilization process for flowers. This process, done by the bee, sustains the flowers life.
Once we tap ourselves into an awareness of the universal definition, we see its reality laced throughout the specifics.
There’s a difference here between coming to a conclusion and having an awareness. So often we want to have an answer which is what leads us to put the specific before the broad. We want the objectivity that comes from understanding the specific because it is safe. Ruminating and meditating and focusing on the universal doesn’t provide that type of certainty. It instead yields an awareness that transcends past objectivity, and, in turn, creates a better grasp on life simply because it isn’t trying to grasp it but instead to truly encounter it.
By focusing on the universal, the specifics that the broad definition of something take on become inherently mysterious.
This makes partaking in the specifics, as we do, so much more incredible. As we begin to see the specific as the embodiment of the universal mystery, instead of an answer to a nagging question, we begin to see it itself as this beautifully brilliant orchestration of universal themes making themselves known to us in intimately personal ways.
In my life there have been times where I wanted to figure out the specifics of a situation. I wanted to know who the specific person I would end up spending the rest of my life with was, where I would end up living after school, what job I’d get when I graduate, what people thought of me. I’ve, on countless occasions, longed to know the specific of something without first knowing the broad overarching theme.
And it’s paralyzing.
But life is begging us to experience something different. Something much more powerful than worry about ht specifics.
On a summers day, when the heat is sweltering and your shirt is sticking to your shoulders as you do yard work, your hands covered in dirt, your mouth dry with thirst, you might happen to come across a bumble bee. And at first glance its buzzing can be an ominous warning of something that, in a lot of minds, only wants to sting you so you better run or swat at it or leap up in sheer terror…
However, when you ease your mind of the specifics of the bee and tap back into the weird, wild and wonderful reality of things selflessly providing for other things… You are slowly made aware to this undeniably brilliant orchestration of coexistence alive and active in the world. And all of a sudden, you don’t see the stinger anymore.
Because you see the pollination.
When you focus on the specific, you lose sight of the bigger story the specific is tied to. When you focus on the broad and vast and cosmological you slowly but surely see the underlying and poetic nature tied to reality. The story of cooperating and coexisting and working to truly understand one another. When we see the universal, we truly can begin to see what the specific is trying to tell us and how and where it is embodied.
Focus on the questions: who, what, where, why, and how.
Not in regard to anything specific. Just focus on them. Start with simple question attached to those words and see what your mind has to say about them, where your mind takes you, how you got to those points, and then lastly why you think your mind went there.