With a week left until the end of 2017, closing reflections naturally arise. Many of us are forced by our intricate minds to replay and rewind through our year’s top highlights, judging each movie as it plays before our eyes.
In this reflection process, we select the memories and learnings we feel are the most integral to our growth and abandon others we feel are either useless, or we no longer want to associate with.
Questioning what we did then with the ‘person’ we believe we are becoming now.
With each memory, we perpetuate our addiction to concepts – formed ideas of what things, people, life are, or should be. Forgetting often that, like water, everything – including ourselves – is constantly in a flux of change. We are stuck in a world of concepts and often we know not what concepts we are adding to the load, or undressing to lighten the load.
Concept after concept, everything feels rather like a story.
And because of this, it is becoming increasingly difficult to extrapolate what is really our own story, or our friends’ stories, or our family’s stories, or our culture’s stories, or our ancestors’ stories, or our genetic stories, and so on. And even harder still, figuring out how many concepts are governing our understanding of the world, our relationships, our day to day interactions, and our sense of ‘self’.
The ultimate question for me this year has been, how many ideas prevent me from really seeing the world?
Or truly being able to love in it?
Love is in itself a concept. And for many – or most – of us, we have a carved understanding of what we believe it to be. This frame of understanding is what we refer to each time we choose to ‘love’ or ‘not to love’ – if you believe there is a choice to do so.
I used to believe I knew what love was, because every time I did as I was instructed by my parents, they would ‘love me’. What I didn’t know then was that I grew up with a farce understanding of the concept, a transactional approach to love and much of the world.
Love then felt easy – all I had to do was fulfil another’s expectation of me.
My understanding at the time was rather simple: ‘If I adapt myself, and do as I am told or what others want of me, then I will be loved’.
‘Love’, the concept I understood at the time, drove me down a long path of not feeling good enough. But on the bright side, it helped me attain professional success and be generally liked by a diverse ray of people. But it didn’t bode well for my relationships, and it most certainly wasn’t helping me grow.
In 2017, I came to learn after a years journey traveling through Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Portugal, India, Thailand, and Bali that concepts were really rather blinding from the ecstasy of existence.
When your days are incredibly unpredictable, joy lies in the magic of unknowing, and the adaptability of your sense of self and what you think life itself is. The second I got attached to any concept or the way something should be or feel like, I became instantly concerned or unhappy.
Because things didn’t ‘fit’ the way I had learned that they should ‘fit’. (Silent prayer for all the men I tried to make ‘fit’ along the way, and those who tried to make me ‘fit’ along the way)
I understood that the more distance I took from knowing, or making things fit, the happier I became.
And the more time I lived in the unstable, uncertain unknowing, the more joy and love I really began to feel. And in time I began to understand that adaptability in life is what brings joy.
This adaptability helped me become more honest about my own evolution and transformation, and thus more honest and understanding of the evolution and transformation of others. And so the freedom I gave myself to be my whole self, whatever that was, helped me also give space, time, and more freedom for others to be themselves.
And with that acceptance and allowing, love grew exponentially in all my relations.
Suddenly the freedom to process in front of others, and others having the freedom to process and evolve in front of me, lead to a depth of intimacy I could have never predicted. It became clear that love really was the default state of existence, and it lives in the freedom to be ourselves in front of others, and the freedom to accept others as themselves, whatever that is at the time.
Life just feels so much easier and so full of love when lived by the “no concept” concept.