I believe a lot of things – and trust my senses, which are not always reliable sources of accurate information. I believe that what I perceive IS what IS. Yet, I occasionally make sensual, judgmental, and thinking errors – optical illusions, incorrectly heard communications, biases and prejudices, and etc.
Sometimes what SEEMS to be is not what it SEEMS to be.
It SEEMS to me that I’m sensing a lot of “what is” – rocks, houses, my glasses, the sound of the truck outside my office, and etc. — “WHAT is that?” I ask. “SomeTHING, that’s WHAT!” I answer.
In Second Degree Illumination, I justify “things” with reasons WHY they are as I perceive them. My need to know WHY satisfied, I go on to justify HOW my justification is correct. This keeps me safely inside First Degree Illumination.
To get beyond the First-Second Degree bubble, I could ASK a question that elicits more questions – particularly those that question the question. While at the edge of the bubble, answering questions tends to serve to satisfy my need to know – delivering me back into the First-Second Degree safety bubble.
As I begin to question my trust in my senses, thinking, and beliefs, let’s investigate the relationship between WHAT and HOW in my world of perception…
Let’s start with definitions we might agree upon:
The WHAT and HOW of it all
WHAT is the result of how things behave – their condition. In my world of perception, the formula for WHAT is:
HOW, on the other hand, is PROCESS – the WAY things behave. “How does that work?” for example, seeks to discover the process involved in making some thing behave as it does. In my world of perception, the formula for HOW is:
HOW = DO = PROCESS
The rock here in my hand, for example, seems to be a “what” – a thing. If you were to ask me, “What is that?” I’d say, “A rock.” Yet, it is a rock to me because it behaves according to my definition of HOW a rock behaves – its process in ME. A diamond behaves differently than my hat does, for example.
Further, my mental/emotional process for a rock in my hand differs from the same process for my hat or my daughter.
Is there any THING that does not have a PROCESS or BEHAVIOR that identifies to me WHAT it is? In other words, might all “WHATs” actually be “HOWs” in disguise? Might I be confusing BEing with DOing when asking, “What is that?”
HOW about TIME then?
Thanks to the element of time, EVERYTHING in this universe above absolute zero temperature moves – it’s in process. Might all four questions, WHAT, HOW, WHY, and WHO exist within a closed, time-relative, dimension of HOW?
Let’s look at my 4 questions in a Third Degree of Illumination context. “What, How, Why, and Who is that?” might be expressed as, “How is that [person, thing] behaving over time?” Questioning my senses and my interpretations is HOW I leave defensiveness behind and introduce myself into a much more expansive universe.
Perhaps the ultimate question might be: “How else might I interpret this expression of ME?” Then question the answer!