Wow! 73 people read this blog yesterday, which is high for me. I’m not surprised since I wrote something personal. After I wrote my post I thought to myself: “I bet I will get more traffic today because I wrote something personal. People like to read personal stuff.” It’s true. Other times I write theoretical stuff, maybe even incomprehensible stuff. I suppose the ideal is to combine the two. It’s not always so easy to do.
I guess if I get personal you know I’m being real with you. The merging of philosophical or psychological content with personal content should also be real. It should flow out of what I’m feeling and what’s happening in my life and come together as the natural blend that it is. If I am living and breathing logotherapy I should be able to recreate for you at least one moment of every day where I’ve heard meaning and realized a value, where I was able to hear what I am here for.
On Sunday I was irritated by someone who is not capable of hearing my opinions on things. It made me realize that I want to feel free to express my ideas and feelings and engage in meaningful conversation with people and I can only do that if the other person is willing to hear. And I concluded that there are times when I can’t say what I want to say and that’s okay too. I can consciously keep my mouth shut and know this is simply not a person with whom I can fully be myself, a space to freely be me.
That makes me appreciate all the more the times when I can fully emerge. I can listen carefully to my inner stirrings and share them. In that inner listening I can also listen acutely to the other person and affirm him or her because of the beauty and uniqueness that this person is radiating.
This is how I felt yesterday after supervising students in our logotherapy course. It is how I feel after every single meeting: wonderfully uplifted and inspired. Every time. I see more of this person’s uniqueness emerging. I sense in new ways the meanings of fundamental truths that are evoked as they are clothed in this way or another detail of someone’s life and as they are understood in deeper and deeper recesses of my consciousness. I suddenly understand the meaning of boundaries, or responsibility or commitment in a way I have never understood before, as if I have been talking about these things without knowing what I am talking about.
It reminded me of a line in the book Musar Avicha of Rabbi Yitzchak HaCohen Kook that says that the depth of these things cannot be understood by mere speech but only by understanding of the heart having an inner conversation. These fundamental truths tend to be neglected because they are seemingly obvious, since they are a natural part of us. Yet we need instruction in order to learn how they may be activated. As he writes: “In all matters of obligations of the heart the words themselves cannot capture the depth of their wisdom because we do not even have a language for all the detail of understanding that is required and one who does not contemplate on their meaning will think that he knows the meaning just by knowing the names.”