Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Meditation In A Toolshed

After reading the article by C.S. Lewis, “Meditation in a Toolshed”, I wondered if I was living by staring at the bright beam of light with wonder or looking along the beam. Then, I also landed to the same question as Lewis: Which one is the “valid” or “true”?

I understood from the article that looking at and looking along are very different from each other. Whereas looking at refers to objective or scientific explanation of a phenomenon from the outside, looking along is referred as a subjective or direct experience felt from the inside. The author uses the example of a man “loving” a woman (this is looking along) and a scientist’s definition of this attraction as mere “biological impulses” (this is looking at) to bring some light to both definitions.

Normally, as Lewis says, people take “for granted that the external account of a thing somehow refutes or “debunks” the account given from the inside” since it offers a more reasonable and logical thought. Making most to ignore and underestimate the value of looking along. Sometimes this seems justifiable; however I think it’s important for one to never forget that both are actually important.

To have a complete knowledge about basically anything, one must use both kinds of looking. Without either one of them, the view becomes narrow and the knowledge mediocre. It’s like a person who knows a recipe very well but has never touched a fry pan. To know it all, one must experience it all, and because one can experience, one can explain. Only because something exists, it is possible to explain it.

Thus the two kinds of looking are necessary since both cannot exist without each other’s existence. No matter how accurate an “outside” view of points is, it can’t exist without there being an “inside”, and equally, the “inside” cannot exist without the “outside”. Only because there is darkness that light can shine.

This was my first reading and reflection of the class, and I found it very interesting and thought-provoking. I’m always amazed when C.S. Lewis manages to uncover the simple yet important things of life that we often ignore and brings it forth for us to read, understand and consecutively apply it to our lives and way of living.

Life is a precious and wonderful gift from God. And I think it would be a shame to waste it without to not come to know it and love it. Thus I came to the realization that to do so, to live wholly, I must “look both along and at everything” (I guess as a student, the only thing I can do now is search for constructive experiences and study hard ^ ^)


  1. I am also amazed at Lewis's ability to explain concepts that many do not even think to ponder. I am humbled that he can think profoundly in a dark toolshed, yet I struggle to think deeply in the stimulating atmosphere of Calvin College.

  2. I like what you said that it is "only because there is darkness that light can shine", but I do not fully understand what it means in accordance to the differing perceptions. I definitely agree with you that both perspectives completely need to coexist in order to understand the underlying truth. I would also agree C.S. Lewis does a great job of explaining such a confusing idea in an understandable way.

  3. I agree with Lewis's ability to uncover the simple meanings that we miss. It shows all the little things that we can apply to our lives that are simple, yet very important.

  4. One point that I enjoyed was how you put it as mediocre knowledge when only one veiw is used. I also liked how you said how we should want to use both views in order to love knowledge. It makes yearning for knowledge a pleasure and not a burden.

  5. Excellently explained and wonderfully neutral. I'm quite sure that most people agree with Lewis when he says that full knowledge comes from being able to look both at and along, so I have very little else to add to the matter.