Monday, March 30, 2009
I've been doing some thinking lately. Dangerous, I know. But typical of me being who I am. This is sort of a cumulation of a couple of philosophical/deep discussions with Paul recently. There are a multitude of reasons why I love him very much, and one of them is that I can talk to him. Not talk at him or talk to him while he pretends to listen or passively listens, but really talk to him about what's going on in my head and he actively listens and gives me insights that facilitate me being a more aware, more complete person.
I've always been completely fascinated with who we are as people, what makes us who we are, and why I'm different than another person who experiences similar circumstances. What makes me who I am, basically. The word "Character" has a multitude of definitions, and I believe being clear about what you mean is vastly important as words are beautiful and poignant, but highly individualistic in their interpretation. I'm using character in the sense of "the aggregate of features and traits that form the individual nature of some person, especially the moral and ethical traits".
I agree with the fact that true depth of character, true depth as a person is cultivated through deep pain and traumatic events. Events that shatter your world view, the construct of how you create yourself, and the how and why of what you believe. These events are outside influences from your environment that have a large influence on how your character is developed, but there's a turning point when these traumatic events where you can take the lessons learned from it, analyze them, and learn from them, creating a better you - or you can simply push the issues aside and not develop as a person.
Lots of people do this, neglect critical analyzation of themselves and their character - people who don't deeply think about their situations or themselves, who let life happen to them, who don't delve into the deep end of who they are and why they are the person they are. They go to work, they have relationships, they eat and breathe and have fun. But to not explore and be critical of who you are as a person - to give up the opportunity to develop that depth of character seems highly wasteful to me.
The only thing we have in this world that we can (marginally) be sure exists, is ourselves, and that sometimes seems like a mirage to me. But for the most part - the only thing I have a constant connection with is who I am as a person. Developing that, keeping a constant progressive trend from one level of awareness to another is why I'm here - it's why I exist. The so called search for enlightenment. Facts and Deductions, analytical reasonings about external stimuli in the outside environment is useful, but everything starts self analysis. The thought that only true enlightenment starts from within.
I spent the past couple of years going through deep depression, being in a marriage that wasn't working, fighting with the truth of who I was and who I wanted to be, spending the seemly short, but psychologically eternal 12 hours or so of starting a divorce, and then enduring Richard's suicide, and subsequent recreation of myself and my life. As a result of all that I've gone through quite a bit of self re-creation and some significant pain. Once again, I find myself in the calm after the storm extremely grateful for all I've experienced. I think of what I might have been like if I stayed in Kansas and married some plain boy and lived and bred and died within a couple hours of where I grew up and I shudder a bit. Not experiencing the immensely varied, turbulent, violently chaotic and rich life I've had would have wouldn't have allowed me to be who I am today.
Like I've mentioned before in posts, negative experiences teach leagues more than positive experiences. I know this is more of a musing post, but it's been a reaffirming realization lately that I'm thankful for everything I've ever endured - the "bad" almost more than the "good". It's been a reoccurring thought since I was a child -
"If you never experienced true pitch black dark in your life, you wouldn't be able to appreciate the brilliant light that accompanies a perfect summer day. "
I'm grateful for the strength and depth of character I've been allowed to develop that's resulted from the harder periods of my life. I stand in awe of the amaranthine nature of self-discovery and the leviathan depths of character and soul we possess as human beings. The beauty of the nature of the construct of the human consciousness is transcendent - nothing short of marvelous.
"What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us." Ralph Waldo Emerson.