Thinking and living

A former student asks:

在香港,如果你跟人說”靈修”或”修行”,他的反應多數是: 1. 以為你想傳教; 2. 以為你在扮清高; 3. 以為你神經病; 4. 無時間/無興趣同你談這種”無聊”話題

為什麼我們會這樣墮落呢? 人之所以為人,是因為懂得思考. 人生在世,如果不知道自己的使命,跟動物有何分別? 如何在靈性上不斷進步,是我最有興趣的事. 在文字堆中滾了這麼多年,我想,我們的左腦經常都過度活躍,應該好好照顧一下右腦,活在當下.可是,知易行難啊! 你不會以為我瘋了吧?

== I used to think a lot too. When I was a teenager, I thought about the purpose of life, and then I became very radical in my thinking because then the purpose of life for me was to fight to make the world a fairer place. Poor people should not be exploited by the rich. Capitalism was evil. Communism was the answer.

In my twenties, I thought about the meaning of life. I was obsessed with this question: If I have to die sooner or later, then what is the meaning of life? I became very low-spirited for a couple of years. I had to bury myself in excessive work to leave myself no time to probe the question further.

Later, when I got married and had children, I had plenty of more ‘practical’ things to worry about. I was thinking less, but beginning to experience more, especially experiencing fatherhood and the growing up of my children.

Now, I still think, and sometimes I do have the view that people around me are not thinking enough. They are simply following the rat race. But at the same time, I am also realizing that perhaps the purpose of thinking is probably not to arrive at the final answer (for there may not be any), but to gain a deeper understanding: a deeper understanding of life, of the world, of human nature, and so on. Since thinking is for the purpose of understanding, it becomes a journey, a journey that does not need to have a destination. Since I am not obsessed with the destination, I can open my eyes to what is around me. This allows me to feel, and experience, the journey on a deeper level.

We should think. We think, so we are. But thinking can also be a painful endeavour, especially when you are possessed by an uncontrollable urge to reach the ‘answer’. Now, I still think, but because it is a journey, and because I do not force myself to find the answer, I am able to free up some of my attention to the world and the people around me. That enables me to live in this world, instead of living in my mind.


Now I look up the computer screen, and see  that the last word in the name of my blog is “Live”, and that the picture I have appended to the name is a path in the country.


3 thoughts on “Thinking and living

  1. Icy Lee

    Like you, Paul, I think a lot too. I started asking lots of questions about life, questions to which I had no answers. But unlike you, i wanted an answer – at least an answer about why I am living, and what purpose my life serves.

    You should know that my answer lies in my faith in God. So now there’s no need for me to search for an answer. And life is much more bearable.


  2. Ada

    Unlike you, I always want an answer.

    Sometimes I hate myself thinking too much. However, like what you said, I ENJOY the process of thinking. And I will be thrilled if I can end up coming up with an answer. That’s why I love to try. I love to try out everything coz I want to know what will be the outcome. No matter good or not, it’s still an answer.

    I start to think about why am I still living in this world. Why everyone’s thinking not the same way. Why people are being selfish. Why people love each other. Or perhaps we need to have questions in our mind so as to keep our life more interesting. ^^

    ‘Carpe Diam’ — I heard it from your lesson and I kept that in mind. This is what teaching is for. ^^

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