Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries
Last week I described how the truth is a bit of an arbitrary concept at the best of times; that all meaning is made up and that the Absolute Truth is whatever you decide it is!
In other words: we ourselves give meaning to everything.
There is a story of a young man who embarked on a dangerous and time-consuming journey to find a wise old man and ask him the meaning of life. When at last he confronted the wise one and had asked his question, the old man replied, “Life is just a bowl of cherries.”
At first stunned speechless and then furiously angry, the young man said. “That’s it? I’ve come all the way here, past oceans and mountains and deserts and jungles to find you and ask you the meaning of life, and all you have to say is that life is a bowl of cherries??!!”
The old man smiled, shifted his robe, and replied, “All right, so life is not just a bowl of cherries.”
— from “Urban Shaman”, by Serge Kahili King
“Meaning” is possibly the most subjective value of humanity, yet it has the most far reaching of consequences!
Notwithstanding its subjective nature and the fact that “meaning” is entirely dependent on the observer, it is often a strict guideline for moral and behavioral codes and societal values:
Entire cultures, religions and belief systems are based on the meaning we give to certain events, occurrences and actions!
The way we give meaning to things heavily depends on the belief systems we grew up with – and on how those beliefs are challenged – if ever!
As a culture, western society has moved from “Man and woman get married; couple gets children” to “People get children; maybe they’ll get married” and even though it’s taken a while, same-sex couples can now get married in many, if not most, western countries. Nevertheless there are still cultures where one man can marry more than one woman and there are many countries still where same-sex couples are more likely to be killed than accepted.
Clearly, we don’t all give the same meaning to the same thing!
Now, nothing in this article is about right or wrong in any way.
It’s simply about meaning.
How do you interpret things?
To bring it down to a more individual level: I have a friend who’s been wondering whether or not to continue with her job. She works at the local council, she’s happy there, nice people, nice salary – but she’s also thinking of turning her focus to her healing practice.
We recently had a lengthy chat about her situation and it was clear to both of us that she was being held back by fear of how things would evolve financially if she quit her regular job. The fear of lack was really tangible and it was blocking her connection with any other source of Abundance beyond her regular job.
A couple of days later she got in her car and turned on the radio just as they were playing a golden oldie: Queen’s “I want to break free”. She called me at once. This was the sign she had been waiting for, the universe had spoken.
“Jump?” I hazarded
She was momentarily confused, but then said, rather indignantly, “No!! To keep my job! Because that’s where my freedom is!”
It’s all a matter of perspective!!
I once shared a hotel room with a colleague and we both wanted to attend an event early the next morning: a meditation session that was going to be held before breakfast.
I set the alarm, but it didn’t go off. I woke up five minutes before the meditation was due to start, so I quickly turned to my room mate.
She took one look at the clock and said, “Seeing how we are too late to make it in time, that’s gotta be a sign from the Universe, saying we don’t need that meditation.”
And she rolled over to her other side and went back to sleep.
I, on the other hand, had really had my heart set on going. The room where the meditation would be held was just down the hall and all I had to do was wash my face, put on something comfy and cross that hall. I could have my shower afterwards. So I, in turn, looked at the clock and concluded that I had awoken just in time to make it.
Exact same event. Opposing conclusions.
And opposing outcomes.
I’m not saying one outcome is better than the other. But they were clearly different! And they were different because we had given different meaning to our timing: Too late vs Just in time!
The meaning we give it isn’t just relative to our respective desires. In our case, we actually told ourselves that this was the meaning the UNIVERSE attached to it! My friend with the council job did that, and here, in this meditation instance we had done it as well.
In fact, we even used it as a way to underscore how, lo and behold, the universe is indeed capable of giving every man what he desires, even if what they desire is opposed!
Now, as an anecdote, this is really fun. But if you look beyond the obvious, this is really a biggie: not only did we each give our own meaning to the event, but we then proceeded to give credit to the Universe for having created the event.
A choice which is as arbitrary as the next one, because we could have also decided to give God credit for it, or our Higher Selves, or — and now I struggle to come up with a really mundane ‘source’, because as a spiri-peep, I look for meaning in the esoteric and not in the mundane, but we could also have deemed it an entirely random event. Or a coincidence…
And that’s exactly my point!
Where do you look for meaning?
What system do you turn to, to give guidance to your thoughts and beliefs?
And how often do you hold that guidance system up against the light of “Truth”?
I won’t deny for a minute that I look for guidance in the spiritual. Because it works for me. But I didn’t just blindly walk up to a specific belief system one day and say: “Okay, I like how that looks, I’ll buy that for a dollar!”
Actually, that’s exactly what I did say after finding Serge Kahili’s book “Urban Shaman”, but after immersing myself in that system -which I did because it resonated with things I already held true– I tested it and tested it and then I tested it again!
I didn’t take Serge’s word for it that Huna Lore, as belief systems go, is a nifty one to embrace.
I embraced it because it worked for me.
Does your belief system work for you?