I doubt. Above all, myself. Descartes was close. I doubt, therefore I am. I struggle. I question. I observe and attempt to disentangle motives, filters, biases, and beliefs (including my own) from behaviors and attitudes. A book on non-violent communication introduced me to the concept that rather than "evil" or purposely "hurtful" actions or communication we, as a diverse people are simply acting in our own best interest in an attempt to get our own needs met. It also helped me understand how I am part of the problem of my own communication - judgment.
I'm only on chapter two because, well...while I understand the words, modifying ones own actions are far, far more difficult - and I consider myself a master at it. The author, Marshall B. Rosenberg quotes Indian philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti as saying, "Observation without evaluation is the highest form of intelligence." I am clearly not there yet. The idea is that because we are raised with moralistic judgments about behavior, we have difficulty communicating without using words that imply wrongness, criticism, insult, judgement or psychological diagnosis. In this, I fail completely. As a believer that any relationship is the responsibility of both parties, where does that place me when I'm the one who desires honest communication but cannot communicate honestly?
Another way. Always another way.
Chapter one starts with two questions. "What is alive in us?" and "What can we do to make life more wonderful?" Simple questions, but I have found no simple answers. The questions don't relate just to ourselves, but also to others - everyone around us. I'm stuck - completely - because I cannot answer these questions for myself, and for someone who proports to know himself, this is quite distressing.
Perhaps its my desire to be as accurate as possible which is slowing me down? I have asked other similar questions and the answers are always something high-level and elusive. I have a difficult time wrapping my head around an entire forest. I need to see the trees, tough their rough bark for a tactile response. I can extrapolate a forest from the knowledge of trees but without that understanding a forest is nothing more than colors and textures. Sometimes that's enough.
I need to define what is alive in me. I need to be able to communicate what will make my life more wonderful without judgement. This is only the first half. Communication requires a sender, a message, and a recipient. I'll be working on that message.