Sunday Best – January 21, 2024

My college calculus professor used to say, “I know you got the answer right, but do you grok it?” He wanted us to feel the math in a way that went beyond the mechanics of the equations.

Then in a Buddhist retreat years ago, our teacher spent some time explaining the tiny spark of clarity that might result from our meditation. When he asked if we understood, everyone’s heads bobbed eagerly. Sadly he replied, “Oh, that’s too bad. If you think you understand it from my words, then I have explained it all wrong.”

And just this week, another wise teacher concluded an extended set of strategic discussions by imploring those of us in attendance, “Please, please, don’t explain it. The more explanation, the more misunderstanding.”

In each of these instances, we were trying to explore an idea that could only fully arise within the doing and the being – a concept that words could outline but never animate.

Friends, I hope we all can aim to become better communicators, clear of sight and full of heart and crisp of mind. 

And beyond all that, whether in calculus or consciousness or community, may we save some space for the living that lies beyond language,

these deep wells of knowing where glimmers on the surface barely begin to reflect the splendors below.

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