Hello, my friends,
"I think, therefore I am."
Rene Descartes was a 17th century French philosopher, mathematician, scientist and writer, and the above quote is probably his most famous.He was very influential in his time, and much of his thinking continues to have a profound effect on our lives even today, sometimes for the better, sometimes not.But that's a whole other discussion.
I'm no expert on philosophy, although I think philosophies are a lot like opinions - everybody's got one - and I figure one person's ideas are just about as good as another's, more often than not.Anyway, as I pondered Descartes' well-known statement, I had to wonder, "So, what?"
It seems fairly obvious that if we are conscious, awake and aware, we must surely be real.If we can think, we must surely exist.And if we ever doubt it for an instant, all we have to do is stick ourselves with a pin - nothing gets one's attention like pain and suffering.
The Bigger Question
For me, then, the important thing to ponder is not, "Do we exist?"(Trust me - we do.)A more valid and meaningful question is, "Why?"What's our purpose?Why are we here?I'll bet I'm not alone in having struggled with that one.
Let's turn Descartes' statement around, and make it, "I am, therefore I think."One of the things we humans like to believe about ourselves is that we are unique in our self-awareness, in our conscious knowledge of our own free will.Apparently, we alone, among all living things, have the ability to choose the life we live, simply by choosing the focus of our thoughts and the direction of our energy.
I decided a long time ago that the purpose of life is to grow and evolve, to strive to continually learn and get better, so I've made lifelong learning a very high priority, and I find tremendous joy and fulfillment in that process.I've also observed that my best judgment is displayed and my best decisions are made when I live from the heart, rather than the head.This tells me something that I think we all know intuitively when we listen to our inner voice - that the highest calling, the best guide for living, and the truest expression of our human potential is to love.
Where To From Here?
There isn't much about the world "out there" that we can be absolutely sure of.We have no way of knowing with certainty what's real and what isn't. (As I sit here looking down at my own foot, I'm not even sure about IT!)But when I close my eyes, I know that the person INSIDE this body, the "pure essence of me," is real.The only things I'm completely confident in are my own mind and heart, and my ability to think and feel.
I recently read that "Divine Mind is the one and only reality," and I believe that's true - everything, including us, is simply an expression of something greater, something beyond our comprehension.Let us focus, then, on the good.Let us create within ourselves our ideal lives, and our ideal world.Let us love every thing and every one.
"I think, therefore I am."Maybe so.And yet, it's not whether I think, but how I think, and how I let that thinking manifest itself in my world, that determines my joy, my bliss, and the value of my life.
Wishing you health, happiness and peace,
Dr. Frank Bowling