To Grok

If you’ve ever read “A Stranger In A Strange Land” by  Robert A. Heinlein, then you know what the term “to grok” means.  Otherwise you’re missing out.

As our good friend, says as “The Oxford English Dictionary defines grok as “to understand intuitively or by empathy; to establish rapport with” and “to empathise or communicate sympathetically (with); also, to experience enjoyment.” Other forms of the word include “groks” (present third person singular), “grokked” (past participle) and “grokking” (present participle).

The OED definition is incorrect in that it is incomplete; the given, narrow, definition of this term is beset by the challenges of similar, more encompassing terms such as gestalt and quiddity that reference a much broader frame than we normally recognize.[improper synthesis?]

To grok something is both to comprehend (relate intellectually) and to apprehend (relate emotionally and spiritually) its quiddity, its essence, its being.

Same goes for the thing in a story we read many many years ago about a boy with a bit of a problem.  He’s got separate personalities (something we can identify with, if you can catch the somewhat ironic meaning in that pun), and ones an evil twin.  But there’s something his grandmother teaches him; something similar to “groking” something . . . when he becomes a bird.  And then later his evil twin.  Cutting the finger off his grandmother while she’s in her grave (meaning casket) to have her ring. (I think it was a her. Or maybe it was his dead brother’s ring.  I dunno: it’s been a lotta years.)  But I remember that “crow” thing: how he could ‘grok’ this thing: seeing as the crow sees; flying under the sun.

To grok.

That means becoming one with the grass blade; feeling what it does.  Meditating on that thing; knowing its construction – down to its tiny veins.

For to “grok” something, you must first come to understand it.  And to that you must pursue seeking knowledge – in everything you do.

We’ve done that kind of thing; still do: keeping up with scientific reports; astrological findings; the parts of string theory that we can still understand.  There’s a lot to this thing called groking . . . and we’ve been working on it so very long*. (tired sighing on the behalf – and by – us all.)

Filing all that data; strange system of mind that we are: this thing goes under emotions; another scientific fact – there’s room enough for theories; and a flexible mind to connect them all.  Strings go this way and that; intershifting and connecting . . .  through all mankind . . .

and we are grokking.

LO soft L’s.

Study those things – those systems of ‘groking’ and understanding; seeking knowledge of these things: the ancient memories stored in old bones; the trembling flutter of a newborn butterfly; a leaf greeting the sun – stomata pores widening, sniffing the breeze.  A rush of sugar spiced water mixed with the muskiness of dirt . . . a mole sniffing its way blindly through its hidden maze . . . the grubs it is seeking, burrowing through the dirt . . . the crystal grains shifting against each other, their crystal planes stained like bruised glass…the atoms within them aligning, drawn by the rules of physics and dirt. . . and even within those other things; item oh so small . . .


It’s an infinite thing.  And it goes on all the time.

You grok when you understand that small child wants a hug; feeling that love for you reflected in your own eyes.

You grok when you find yourself flinching at the stroke of your own axe.

You grok when you find you are reaching out to another being – trying to save it or letting it become someone.

You grok when you feel the tears of compassion . . . because you understand.

Because you have been there.

I love this thing called ‘grokking’.

It’s the way I wanna be someday.

(We learned about “grokking” when read that novel “A Stranger In A Strange Land” when we were 12 or 13 – 1973 (before the hard core of “Matthew” was born … but while he was a fetal being) – and have ‘doing’ it ever sense … a little at a time … starting with a single grass blade on a summer’s afternoon . . . and trying to spread our wings to the stars . . . and beyond . . .)

and now, having written this I realize: we must all “grok” inside – one understanding one another; and embracing ourselves with love . . . and in love . . . for one another.


About jeffssong

JW is an adult childhood abuse survivor with DID*. He grew up in a violent family devoid of love and affection. He is a military brat and veteran. He no longer struggles with that past. In 1976 JW began writing "The Boy". It took 34 years to complete. It is currently on Kindle ( ), or if you prefer hard copy, on Amazon ( JW resides somewhere in the deep South. He is disabled and living with family. Note: Please feel free to take what you need; all is free to all. With that in mind, keep it that way to others. Thank you. We have 3 Blogs - One for our younger days, 0-10 (The Little Shop of Horrors); one for our Teen Alter and his 'friends' (also alters) with a lot of poetry; and finally "my" own, the Song of Life (current events and things)
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