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Showing posts from January 25, 2013

Letting Go of What It All Means

The mind has a tendency to search for a meaning, an underlying message, in every murky or complex experience. It can feel like we've only processed and come to closure with a traumatic experience when we've come away with a simple interpretation for the traumatic event, a "moral to the story."

In practice, we want to be able to report to those around us that we understand what a period of depression or confusion "was all about" and have come away "a new understanding." After a painful and dramatic conclusion to a relationship, we might report "it was for the best, we were heading in different directions." When someone dies, many feel the obligation to console their loved ones with "well, he lived a full life, got to a very old age, he travelled and got to see the world, etc." We see this default wiring at work when we stand before an abstract painting, a challenging film or theater piece: What is it trying to say? What's t…