Apprehending

Quick Look

Can you locate a turning point — most people only have two or three in their entire lives — when you understood in a way that changed not just the way you thought, but also the way you felt, even behaved. “Apprehending” may be similar to epiphany, or “getting it,” or “emotional intelligence.”

Tales Galore, Untold

Imagine what stories wait behind each of these statements:

  • “Everything changed the day I became a mother.”
  • “Everything changed the day I learned I had cancer.”
  • “Everything changed the day my house burned down.”
  • “Everything changed the day I didn’t have anything to eat.”
  • “Everything changed the day my daughter died.”
  • “Everything changed the day my spouse told me he wanted a divorce.”

The Tale Wagged

After turning points, we see the whole universe differently. Granted, some old behaviors may creep back, and yet . . . late at night, on the long drive home, you turn the radio off and your mind wanders back to times before a Big Apprehending Moment, and you have to admit: yeah, I really am different. I may be sadder but I’m definitely wiser, and I wish I could pass it on to a friend who’s stuck.

Ever been to a class reunion, and ponder how some old classmates seem to worry about the same things everybody worried about in high school? If so, another thought may follow: hmmm, something basic has changed in me, hasn’t it?

What’s happened? You’ve “apprehended” something. You’ve learned something, not just intellectually, but also in heart and will. More than some little one‑liner that makes for a cute quote; you’ve been slightly “tilted,” down to your core; your basic angle of vision has been altered.

We rarely go looking for such shifts. But if they occur, it is almost impossible to run from them or pretend they didn’t happen. No hiding place works: it’s actually damaging to try to suppress them.

And our inner world doesn’t cave in (as we fear it will) when we let such a giant move in.

Yeah, but how do we put it into practice?

This is a great exercise in mindfulness.

Complete the sentence, “Everything changed the day . . .”, and let your mind re‑visit a crossroads when you seemed to change deeply. How did you move forward? Have you ever shared this deep shift with a friend? (Putting it into words can be challenging, requiring almost a new vocabulary.)

Re-visit this experience often this week; dig up a new one if you wish. As a “can-opener for the mind,” a recollection like this can function somewhat like the koans used in some schools of Zen Buddhist study: they renew aliveness, they take you “out of the box.”

Echo on Apprehending

About RayMunn

Husband, father, Zen guy, web designer, film-maker.
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