“We need to respect the fact that it is possible to know without knowing why we know and accept that-sometimes-we’re better off that way.”
Malcolm Gladwell, Blink; The Power of Thinking without Thinking
There is a focus these days among many people on being centered, on grounding oneself, on finding comfort within yourself and in the world at large. When we see this in others we might say “That person is in a really good place.” But this statement limits the understanding of what this state of being really is, for there is no physical aspect to it except in its results. In certain Buddhist philosophy the entirety of our physical universe is no more than a thought held within our mind.
Both organized religion and science begin with the idea that there is an absolute reality and that by defining what this reality is we will be able to understand how to use it for our own good and purpose. Both are attempts to define our universe according to natural law, intelligent design, or a logic that is in itself a construct of the human mind. And yet neither science nor religion can provide answers to so many questions that we as a species have been puzzled over since first we appeared on this planet. Why? When? Where? We can only define the answers within the smallest corners of our universe that, in and of itself, is most likely a small corner of a greater universe.
It is our imagination and intuition that requires that we ask these questions of ourselves. Because we can imagine an all powerful God or a big bang creating our universe we can attempt to define those things in order to understand our existence. But even in our reasoned answers the lingering question of what fueled the bang, or where God came from remains a mystery. Intuitively we feel there must be an answer. It is the notion of infinity, in both directions. If something exists there can always be more or less of them. There is always an earlier time, there is always a future.
Descartes claimed that intuition allows us to deduce the existence of God. Aristotle claimed that intuition was the source of knowledge and thus allowed us to grasp universal meaning. Plato claimed that intuition gave us ration and allowed us to use reason to comprehend the true nature of reality. All of these definitions begin to explore the questions that both science and religion have no answers for.
I believe that there is meaning to existence. This belief leads me to the further belief that there are energies beyond our current comprehension that can lead us forward. In this belief there is a hope that allows me to appreciate the moment, the colors of the world, and the calm of knowing that things are as they should be.
And so the ultimate answer, should there be one or many, must lie in our imagination and intuition. In opening ourselves up to possibility we can allow belief in things we cannot rationalize but know to be true. This allows us to truly appreciate each moment, to center and ground ourselves in “a really good place”.