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Sherlock Holmes & Dr. Watson

Updated: Sep 15, 2021

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson are on a camping trip.

In the middle of the night, Holmes nudges Watson awake, and says, "Watson, look up at the sky and tell me what you see."

"I see millions of stars, my dear Holmes."

"And what do you infer from these stars?"

"Well, a number of things," he says, lighting his pipe:

“Astronomically, I observe that there are millions of galaxies and billions of stars and planets.

“Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo.

“Horologically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three.

“Meteorologically, I expect that the weather will be fine and clear.

“Theologically, I see that God is all-powerful, and man, his creation, small and insignificant.

“What about you, Holmes?"

"Watson, you fool. Someone has stolen our tent!"

What Watson is doing in this joke is what most of us do all day long—analyze everything we see, hear, smell, taste, touch, sense and think, and try to make sense of it. That can be useful of course, but it misses the opportunity life gives us to see the universe and our own lives in their truest form—before the mind gets involved and imposes a structure or agenda on it. When we observe without labeling or judging—just naked observation—we can discover the true nature of reality and even the true meaning of life. It’s not possible to state the meaning of life in words, because words are products of the mind, and reality is far greater and far more complex than the mind can comprehend. Reality and the meaning of life can only be perceived experientially. We can use words to point toward reality, however, and my teacher David Life does that when he says: “Living is the meaning of life.” We can only see that when we stop using our minds to look.

(joke copied from

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