What does it take to know something thoroughly? To understand an issue thoroughly - to become thoroughly proficient f.e. in speaking Italian or Mandarin, in mastering North Indian Cooking or playing the Goldberg variations by Johann Sebastian Bach. Or to understand journalism thoroughly, the British art of baking, gardening, driving, how a car really works. Running a household, preparing a reading, raising children, understanding a teenager, writing an exam, pitch an idea in the world of sales. You get the idea. "Thoroughly" is different from just googling something.
Take carpenting - an art held in high esteem in our family because of our mom, the first female carpenter of Germany. The difference between a DIY-er who does carpenting at the weekends, and those who are in the carpentry trade as professionals and work with lumber day in and day out might be f.e. the insistence on exact measurements. Skill and capabilities are developed over a long period of time, and no shortcut can make up for a lack of experience. In an interview with a carpenter I found this sentence, which I have never forgotten: "Look, I don't get paid for what I do in an hour. I get paid for what I CAN do in an hour - any hour, anywhere, on any job." So a professional is different from an amateur, and often you see this in a special moment, namely in the way he or she handles mistakes. Up front, and thoroughly, precisely. Because the work matters and not the impression you give.
It is a lesson in humility to honestly ask ourselves what we really, thoroughly know in our life. The answers are private.
"Thorough" is a word from Old English, around for more than 1200 years, and comes from "through". It means f.e. to dive into a lake at one end and come out at the other. Complete emergence. It means to be perfectly involved without deviation. Thorough means to be extremely attentive to detail and accuracy, to have full command of an art, a talent etc., and it also means painstaking. And, from the history books around King Charles I, without compromise.
What got me started to look deeper into the word "thoroughly", is a counsel from my favorite textbook to the Bible, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy:
"It should be thoroughly understood that all men have one
Mind, one God and Father, one Life, Truth, and Love.
Mankind will become perfect in proportion as this fact
becomes apparent, war will cease and the true brother‐
hood of man will be established."
This sentence follows the Golden rule - the Biblical demand to love our neighbor as ourselves.
I have been asking myself, what it takes to understand that we all have one Mind, one God and Father, and what it takes to understand this "thoroughly". What more is there to learn and practice? I thought I already understood something here, but, gee, what a learning curve again. The deeper one embarks on the journey of unselfish, authentic love things get a lot easier - and a lot harder. And a lot easier again.
You will have your own answers to the question, and I have the deepest respect for that. Infinite answers to an infinite question. Flowing from what we really know.
My current answer includes this: Doesn't the counsel mean that we love the deepest when we admit that we are spiritual ideas rather than carbon-based entities with beginning and end? Understanding this thoroughly means that we are never alone anymore. It also means not so much to invite God into our life, but rather helps us in conforming to God's established wonderfulness of being. In a way, we invite ourselves into the Life, that is Love, by striving to be more thorough in thinking and living. More real. There is nothing more demanding nor rewarding as the effort to live unselfishly. Something like becoming a real professional in unselfishness. We know what it takes to be really good at something. Now carry this understanding of thoroughness over into your inner life. It is not easy, yes, but not impossible.
Who is writing?
In my work as Christian Science practitioner and writer I draw on listening to God and listening to people.
I support the Landmine Relief Fund. Want to join me?
I support Greenpeace.
Want to join me?