To Conquer Or To Explore, That’s The Question

It seems to me there are two basic approaches to life. First, to see life as a kind of battle to be fought, something to be conquered and overcome, a view that everything has to be overpowered and defeated if we are to live meaningfully.

Sadly, much religious thought is permeated with this theme; I say sadly because it’s certainly not conducive to relationships of peace and meaningful connectness to nature. Being so ego driven it also leads to a profound tiredness of soul. In the end things are not meant to be conquered and defeated, rather they are meant to be engaged and understood; and herein lies the second approach, that of life as an exploration.

Instead of wanting to always conquer and overcome that which is there, or that which arises, we rather engage and explore it with compassion seeking to understand. With this approach, life has a wonderful way of shaping us as it naturally and freely yields up its beauty and secrets.

Unfortunately, it always takes us a long, long time to learn this.

Advertisements

About Don

I love life. Sometimes it makes sense, other times not. Discerning its underlying patterns and beauty always provides great reward and meaning and is a passion I ineptly follow. I feel deeply attached to nature and love the sea with its distinct moods and colour and find walking along its beaches wonderfully inspiring. Writing, sketching and photography is a sheer joy for me and the blog is one of the places I am able to express these pursuits.
This entry was posted in Contemplation, Life, Nature, Relationships and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to To Conquer Or To Explore, That’s The Question

  1. Dear Don, A wonderful and helpful post. Thank you, Ellen

    Like

  2. The conqueror’s approach permeates our society. We battle cancer and we conquer our fears. Government is a battleground. The truth so difficult to see is that we are all one, and when we fight against something or someone, we fight ourselves. Thanks for the reminder to drop the sword. Exploring is a much more fun and engaging approach.

    Like

    • Don says:

      You hit the nail right on the head – we do battle everything and it is so tiring. I love your insight that when we battle the other we battle ourselves. Thank you for your insightful comment.

      Like

  3. Greg. says:

    In his book, The Seat Of the Soul, Gary Zukav explains how we pursue external power that is based on the perceptions of the five senses, rather than authentic power which is based upon the perceptions and values of the spirit. In doing the latter, we infuse life’s activities with reverence, compassion and trust, rather than the survival of the fittest understanding of evolution which has generated conflict between lovers, communities, and superpowers by the persuit of power.
    (The power of love over the love of power.)
    That which we ought to do, we do not, and that which we ought not to do, that we do.

    Like

    • Don says:

      Put so well Greg. That’s exactly it. This survival of the fittest thing is such a primitive approach and yet still practiced in so many guises. Thanks for sharing Zukav’s approach. Very meaningful.

      Like

  4. Annerie Witting says:

    Thank you for that insight Don, it has been my saving grace!

    Like

  5. Lyn says:

    Thank you Don. I’ve had battles with life’s meaning and the many questions left unanswered regarding my sons. Only after acceptance did the peace come, Fighting the demons of the why’s was extremely tiresome and demeaning to live with. By God’s grace I no longer have the urge to overcome but rather live in peace by his grace.

    Like

    • Don says:

      Lyn, I know what you’ve discovered has come out of a place of pain that many of us can’t even begin to imagine. And so when you speak the words you have, they are full of meaning and congruency. Thank you for sharing this and strength to you and Chris.

      Like

  6. Hudson Howl says:

    Such thoughts must give you great freedom at the end of the day. You are an explorer in the truest sense.

    We maybe 14000 km away from each other, still we stroll together in some ways.

    Like

  7. Leigh says:

    Hey Don, this is a VERY profound thought, thanks that we can tag along and engage with you. I think that international theology has so much to offer!

    Like

  8. snowbirdpress says:

    Well, I nevre had much strength for conquering anything so perhaps I learned my lessons early. A lot of stuff in religion has been added on in years so it’s hard to make assumptions…. all kinds of people, religious and not religious feel they must conquer to survive. I try not to judge what others do… but you are right about exploring. There’s an old saying I love: “Old men should be adventurers”…. (I’m not an old man but I have followed this advice for the most part.) That’s my survival technique. There’s a Bible verse that goes something like this, “He will drink from the brook by the way, and so he will lift up his head.” It’s at the end of Psalm 110. He’s on his way. He’s on his journey… his quest. May all good things happen along your path.

    Like

    • Don says:

      To have learnt that lesson early in life is a wonderful thing. “Old men should be adventurers” – lovely quote. I suppose it has much to do with how adventurous a person has been in earlier life. Nice words from the Psalm. Really enjoyed your comment and may all good things happen along your path as well.

      Like

  9. Thanks Don,
    Very relevant for what I am doing at present.
    Blessings to you.

    Like

  10. nrhatch says:

    Beautiful insights, Don. This year has seemed like a bit of a “battle” to me . . . with so many challenges tossed in my path.

    Rather than struggling against them, I have tried to remind myself to flow around them.

    Most times, it works. 😉

    Like

    • Don says:

      I think that’s the secret Nancy – “flowing” as you say – battles cause full stops in life while flowing causes commas. I’d far rather live with commas than with full stops. Thank you for your kind words.

      Like

  11. Terry Ann says:

    Thanks Don, lovely post, have been hectically busy this week and last, so only got to your post now – so glad I did!!! I love them, they are always short and to the point quickly without losing their power. And I love reading the comments too. Gary Zukav’s books are so inspirational and ring true for me too (@greg’s comment), I’m going to post this one on my fridge for a while – as a bit of a reminder when things get tough again. Exploring the angst has got to be way better than fighting it!!

    Like

    • Don says:

      I love your phrase, “Exploring the angst has got to be way better than fighting it!!” It just encapsulates the whole post – well said Terry. Good to know you enjoy the posts. Don’t become too overwhelmed by “hecticality” – I’m sure no such word exists, but what the hell. Strength to you.

      Like

  12. ladyfi says:

    You speak straight to my heart – life is indeed meant to be understood, and engaged…

    Such a wonderfully philosophical post.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s