Friday, December 24, 2004

The Story

The other day something quite illuminating happened. I walked into a store, and saw in a distance the headline on a newspaper - "man stabbed by fork" on a local newspaper. Immediately in my mind, the following thoughts popped up .... "ah ... local newspapers ... always full of trivial news ... like cats stuck in trees ... wow ..... someone stabbed with a fork makes the front page of the paper! .... wonder if it was an argument at the dinner table? .... hmm, eating forks are quite blunt ... still, it's pretty trivial" and so it went. This little story spun out in my mind, as I waited for my companion to catch up with me.

Then, I walked through the barrier and walked past the newspaper, reading the lead paragraph as a walked by.

To my surprise it said "man stabbed in the throat with a garden fork". Well, that really shocked and horrified me .. the thought of someone being stabbed in the throat with something as large and weighty as a garden fork ... what a terrible thing to happen!

And just as surprising to me as finding out what had really happened was watching what had occurred in my mind, reeling off this story, all based on assumption, and how wrong that story was.

And then I reflected that however much we know about a situation, our understanding is still based on assumptions, as we can never know all the causes, conditions and aspects of something, so our view is always partial, and to that extent, actually not how it is.

Only how it is to us, at this time, based on what we know, and how we 'choose' to interpret it.


1 comment:

Al said...


Papanca is nothing less than insidious. No wonder the ancients ascribed the attributes of a snake or a devil to it, spinning their tales. Slithering through our minds making us think, hear, see what may or may not be there. Now add iron and steel and our over developed logical fore brains, pack millions of us together in tight places, with limited resources - no wonder the world's a mess!
I think that's why when we do go to our little corner and sit meditation it is not a selfish act, we are truly contibuting to make the world a better place.