Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Questioning Automatic Beliefs

It's good to determine the semantic distinctions between words or expressions such as "judging" and "being judgmental", "having opinions" and "being opiniated", and a host of other subtle nuances. First, we need to establish whether we are talking about the same thing. I am bringing this up so as to highlight the theme of this blog. This is the fact that we take many words and expressions for granted instead of questioning them and making sure that we know exactly what we are talking about, and that we are all implying the same thing when we are talking about matters that matter... Again and again, I encounter this problem online.

One thing in particular I'd like for people to question is why exactly everybody should be treated equally? People assume it's that way, because they have been taught it's the moral way to be. However it's seldom being put into practice in the world as we know it today. It seems to me, that this belief or assumption requires a really deeper resonance in people before things can really start to change and the world become a better place for everybody. In fact automatic beliefsystems are in the way of more creative and heartfelt insights regarding the deeper truths in life.

If we feel a need to judge others, which sometimes is hard to avoid, maybe we could at least try to keep it as objective as possible and avoid going into the judging process so wholeheartedly. A judging statement is just another opinion of our mind and a product of dualist thinking (one thing is inferior to another). If only we could challenge each other gently, not so harshly that all the automatic defense-mechanisms get started. There is no point in being mean. But being passive is not a form of love either!Seeing personality (or individuality, which is perhaps a step further in the evolutionary hierarchy) as a form of beauty is helpful to me. Even though many of us believe that we are all one at a deeper level, it is not exactly what is being expressed on this level of reality. What we see here on Earth is usually the differentiation rather than the underlying Oneness, in other words the fact that each soul has developed its own individuality and has a sense of self that is completely unique. Surely this development is one of the points of evolution? The One divides into fragments that all have a personal point of view... Thus we are One but Many at the same time.

My motto has been to get away from a thinking in terms of "either-or" and instead embrace the profound and mysterious paradox of "both-and". As the Buddhist philospher Nagarjuna pointed out, even that is not an expression of the ultimate truth as he saw it, and I believe that too. But it's a step forward, an exercise for the mind. Can we perceive each other as both one with us and separate individuals?I don't think there's anything wrong with opinions, they make the world go around. But ultimately, it's maybe a question of challenging one's automatic beliefs and figuring out ways of opening the heart a bit more? Many times I have thought; "what's the bloody use"? But throughout my life I've trusted that the meaningfulness of it all will show spontaneously if I manage to open up my channels even more.
Artwork: "Why?", collage on paper by author, copyright 2008

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