Philosophy is somewhat boring, I agree! But often it provides us with some new perspectives that can help us live a better life. I was once reading the conversations between the philosopher Jiddu Krishnmurti and Prof. Anderson (these conversations were titled "A Wholly Different Way of Living") and the following anecdote struck a chord:
I [Jiddu Krishnamurti] talked to a monk once. He came to see me. He had a great many followers. And he was very well known.
He said, I have taught my disciples, and he was very proud of having thousands of disciples. And he was saying, 'I have arrived because I have learned to control my senses, my body, my thoughts, my desires. I've held them as the Gita says: hold something, you are reigning, you are riding horse', you know, holding. He went on about it for some length.
I said, 'Sir, what at the end of it? You have controlled. Where are you at the end of it?'
He said, 'What are you asking, I have arrived'.
Arrived at what?
'I have achieved enlightenment'. 'I have got it. I have got it in my hand. I know what it is'.
I said, 'All right sir'.
He began to be very excited about it because he wanted to convince me about being a big man and all that. So I sat very quietly and listened to him and he quietened down.
And then I said to him - we were sitting by the sea - and I said to him, 'You see that sea, sir'. He said, 'Of course'. Can you hold that water in your hand? When you hold that water in your hand it's no longer the sea.
He couldn't make out. I said, 'All right. And the wind was blowing from the north, slight breeze, cool. And I said, there is a breeze. Can you hold all that? No. Can you hold the earth? No. So what are you holding? Words?
He was so angry he said. 'I won't listen to you any more. You are an evil man'. And walked out.
So what is the message? From what I understood, it tells about our habit of holding things with our petty minds. Then the original beauty and magnanimity is lost and everything reduces to a mere model of our mind. This happens all the time. I start appreciating the beauty of a wonderful house and when my mind enters and wishes that I had such a house too, then the entire thing is reduced to a want. When I approach a piece of great poetry with a cup of my judgement, then the entire experience is limited to my cup. So the question is, can we experience things in their entirety without holding to them?
This is not to say that judgement or intellect is unnecessary. Obviously these are very useful. But it is good to know their limits and when to use them.