The Mindfulness Blog

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Primary Source

Who is the primary source best able to understand you ?

Many of us are able to serve as primary sources for others, but what about us ? Do others know our "why"-- why we say what we say, or why we do what we do? Do we know our "why"? Can we ever really know our "why"? Does it even matter? Lots of questions.

The old adage is that actions speak louder than words-- watch what I do, don't listen to what I say. That conventional wisdom may work for our understanding of others, because it's the best we can do. But is it the best we can do for ourselves? We can certainly watch what we do and draw inferences from our conduct-- like we do with others. But what about the things we can't easily see, like thoughts or emotions?

That's where mindfulness and meditation come into the picture-- at least, for me. My "why" is discernable only if I first take time to observe my thoughts and emotions with unattached and non-judgmental curiosity, and let them pass. Then I can get a glimpse of me-- not my thoughts. And not my emotions. They may temporarily occupy my attention, but they are not me.

We all have a "why" that is unique to us. Curiously, however, many of us can't articulate our "why". Is it one unchangeable thing that remains constant, throughout life? Or does it change? If it changes, how often does that happen, and is there a particular reason?

Teachers will sometimes suggest a "why". Sometimes they'll ask us to choose for ourselves, and sometimes they'll flat out tell us our "why". Sooner or later, most of us figure it out for ourselves.

Who's your primary source, and do they know your "why"?


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