Find us on Google+

Friday, May 11, 2012

Search for Something

Not seeing the picture is frustrating.

Magic Eye pictures were all the rage in the 90s. The stereoscopic images would become 3D if you could just unfocus your eyes enough. I remember staring at them for hours. Sometimes I couldn’t get a picture to resolve, it would slither and slide tantalizingly just out of focus. But if someone told me what I was supposed to see, it would usually become clear. Just knowing what I was looking for made a difference in my ability to find it.

When you search, search for something. Of course it’s important to realize that there are a range of answers available to every question. Just as it’s important to admit that you might be wrong when searching for answers. But if you don’t even know what you’re looking for, the search will take much longer.

Define the win. Determine what will be true when you’re done searching for the answers that you want. When you ask questions that have tormented philosophers, theologians and scholars for millennia, you aren’t going to find an easy answer. What answer will satisfy you? How will you know when you’ve reached a conclusion?

Limit the parameters. If you go out searching for the meaning of life, you’ll never stop and you’ll never be satisfied. The disciple cycle must move from questioning to searching to discovery and then change. If your questions don’t lead you to live your life differently, you might as well become a philosophy professor. Pare it down to something manageable. Don’t try to find the meaning of life, try to find what you should do with your life today. Don’t try to understand the nature of God all at once, tackle one aspect of God at a time.

Create a process. The searching process might be different for you than it is for me. I like to read everything I can get my hands on and then let my brain sort through it all. I thrive in situations where disagreement brings out the salient points. Think about the ways that you learn best, if you do well with discussion, join a book club on the topic. If you work well by yourself, journal about your search. If you need direction, consider auditing a class on the topic. Create a process that lets you search and learn in the ways that work best for you.

Know what you’re searching for and how you’re going to find it before you begin. Otherwise you might not see the sailboat in the magic eye picture.

Hint, it's not a sailboat or a schooner.

No comments: