Tag Archives: experience

The Pattern of Your Life

Find beauty not only in the thing itself but in the pattern of the shadows, the light and dark which that thing provides.
-Junichiro Tanizaki

Imagine a sky-high viewpoint, a moving dot below tracing a line everywhere we go in life. It records our movement from home to work, to the store and the weekend park, day after day, month after month. The line forms a bright zone where we spend our most time, documenting not necessarily where we wanted to go but where we had to go—too much of our lives spent at work, not enough time in the world beyond our typical paths. There are a few outcroppings, vacations of unretraced paths one hundred miles and rarely a continent away. And always back.

The pattern draws a story of our life, an image more unique than a fingerprint, distinct for every person who has every lived. Are you happy with the path your life is tracing? Would you prefer it to be different in any way?

Now imagine another dimension, a plane (A) representing all the knowledge of mankind. There is history here, geography, physics, religion, astronomy, biology, economics and art, each spanning a wide terrain. A parallel plane (B) underlies with continental zones of abstract subjects—imagination, emotions, feelings, sensory experiences and pure concepts. Each coordinate point on these planes represents a single piece of information. The shape of a maple leaf is at A324,68221, love for a newborn puppy at B5489,44395.

Now picture your life’s knowledge, a subset of this whole illustrated on these planes. When you experience one of these discrete elements—learn a certain fact, see a new thing, think a new thought—a pixel lights up. It stays on forever, brightening if you experience it more than once. This shining tapestry expands with each moment of your awareness. Finally at the moment of your death, the painting becomes static and the record is filed away for eternity. You have made your mark. Never again will there be another you, the same pattern of experience.


Finally let’s say there is a librarian who guards these eternal records, a Keeper of the Patterns who knows what is true and false of all your known things. We’ll call her Gad. She can show your life pattern to others, displaying it in three ways—your knowledge in total, all of your knowledge that is true, and all of your knowledge that is false.

So what do your life boards look like? How much knowledge have you touched in your days? How many places have you gone and how much does your movement represent where you wanted to be? How much of your experience is informational, how much emotional? Despite your knowledge that you believe to be true, how much does Gad reveal to be false?

For every point of truth there is a matching falsehood. It is easy to pass through life unaware of the validity of what we experience. Faith implies nothing about truth, though when it conflicts with reason may imply the opposite. Seeking the truth takes extra desire and effort. You must be able to question what you know, even sacred knowledge. To experience the most truthful life, truth itself must be a sacred value. Any fact may be falsity masked even if sincerely gained; the value in a piece of knowledge is not only its information but its correctness.

On these canvases of experience and knowledge—the pattern of your life, the planes of your knowledge and emotions—strive to make the most of your years of awareness. A grand and truthful pattern is a life well lived.