The term “Grokking”, coined by the great SF writer Robert Heinlein in his novel “Stranger In a Strange Land”, roughly means “understand (something) intuitively or by empathy.” This would be one of the core outcomes of most meditative disciplines: to KNOW yourself, to go beyond the surface stories and the ego shells to discover an ineffable truth within.
If I map this over to what the wisest men and women on the planet have said about this journey over the ages, this would seem to be at the very least being “awake”, and possibly knocking on the door of the state referred to as “enlightenment”, which lies beyond the gate called “non-dualism.” It is, in other words…extraordinary. And probably beyond the majority of human beings to achieve through sheer will. Life experience probably gets most of us there, in time…but sheer effort or focus? I don’t think so.
But one thing that is true is that this state MIGHT be useful, or might not, in terms of living in our world. Depends on too many other factors, including the fact that the state is a fictional creation, and we have no paths to it, no consistent real-world definitions, and no real role models for what it might mean, or the pathways to it.
Love, on the other hand, is available to the vast majority of us. Probably all of us. And since a large percentage of religious and spiritual disciplines that say the core of us, the essence of us, is love…the search for love and the search for truth are aligned.
And since coming from that loving space is one of the best ways to connect with others, there is no downside there either. What about defending yourself? Wouldn’t “coming from love” weaken you, make you less likely to be able to defend yourself, being so committed to loving?
Not if you are in alignment with nature. Not if you love your family enough to protect it, or want to get home to hug and kiss them one more time. Not if you love the child you were enough to be willing to defend her. Defend him, to your last drop of blood and last breath.
Love helps you forgive yourself, and when you do that, you can look more honestly at yourself because you are not afraid of what you will find. We are flawed. We make mistakes. We have swallowed the opinions of people we trusted…and some of those opinions paint us negatively. We have values conflicts creating self-destructive behavior. Fears that create procrastination. Egos that war with the world around us.
If we don’t look at that ball of knotted snakes, we can’t unravel it. And so the ego protects itself partially by discouraging the very introspection we need. “You are less than perfect!” is true. “And therefore you aren’t worth it!” is not.
Loving ourselves means disciplining ourselves, as well as accepting where we are. Knowing we’ve done the best we can do. In accepting ourselves, we learn to forgive the imperfections of a potential beloved. If you can love and accept yourself where YOU are, you will be able to recognize, accept, and love another on your frequency, traveling in the same direction at the same pace. You recognize a kindred heart, a kindred spirit. A potential soulmate.
So…because love is so healing, so central…I choose love. “Grokking” seems to imply “understanding” to many people. Absent a grounded body and an open heart, that can devolve to more “head case” stuff, dangerous to a person seeking a real experience of life. Interesting. But if Valentine Michael Smith, Heinlein’s very human Martian, had been a real human being, I’m sure we would learn wonderful things about what was meant by that term. Absent that…we’re just trying to understand. And in a real sense, understanding is the booby prize.
Love is the prize.
(tomorrow, we will begin a new adventure together, a path of love. Join me!)