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Episode · 1 year ago

Lecture 13 THE EXERCISE OF WONDER

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This lecture calls our attention to the process of habituation, which renders us insensitive to beneficial things that have become familiar and predictable. We need to avoid taking these things for granted and losing our ability to be thankful for them, insofar as they help us live and thrive.

Meditation Time, Lecture Thirteen, the exercise of wonder. There is always an upside and a downside, and we should mindfully acknowledge both into the broadest possible view. Neither the ignorant child who sees everything through roast tinted glasses, nor the disillusioned adult who thinks everything is gloom and doom, can be regarded as wise. Take, for example, the natural process of habituation. As things become familiar and largely predictable, we in turn become increasingly insensitive to them. Our focus then shifts predominantly do other things that are, by contrast, unfamiliar and largely unpredictable. Admittedly, the natural process of habituation is a good strategy...

...for managing our consciousness, which is a limited resource that can be overwhelmed with excessive stimulation. It is bad also, nonetheless, because it does our mind and proportionately weakens our capacity for wonder toward the multitude of beneficial things that we have grown accustomed to. In a word, we take them for granted instead of appreciating their positive contribution to our existence. To offset this unwelcome aspect of the process in question, we should make a regular habit of reserving some quiet time to thoughtfully and thankfully review everything that renders our life possible in all the human ways we are viscerally attached to. In doing so, we can expect our sense of identity and satisfaction to deepen and expand considerably as we take stock of the many beneficial things that help us lead a satisfying existence. We should...

...proceed from the ground up, so to speak, beginning with the supreme power that drives the creation and evolution of everything. This power is beyond all religious or philosophical persuasions. It unites them in the primal notion of a founding principle that is the generative force behind every past, present or future phenomenon in the universe. Science has methodically documented the rules of its outer manifestations, while remaining blind to its inner dimension, which must be understood in the most inclusive and elusive fashion, as it contains and exceeds our human experience. Ultimately, no one can be unaware and fail to be in awe of this founding principle without betraying us of human level of reflection. Next in the hierarchy of beneficial things that deserve our utmost attention and appreciation is this twofold reality. One, the...

...environment that we depend on for our survival and two, the community to which we belong, as we stand in solidarity with others to face the challenge of living an enjoyable and meaningful life. This twofold reality is indeed of great benefit, despite the rigors and iniquities that we may suffer along the way. It should inspire us to act more respectfully and kindly toward everything and every one in the world around us. Integral to the gift of civilization bestowed upon us as of flawed yet advanced level of government, industry, culture, science and technology. This affords us a privileged opportunity to become paragons of human greatness who shine like beacons with outstanding probity, benevolence, expertise, wisdom and happiness. Had we been raised in isolation and allowed to survive without love, save the minimum...

...amount of assistance to help us through the tender age, our human potential would have been sadly reduced to that of a beast. As civilized beings, our calling is to try our best to become these paragons of human greatness.

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