As noted with ¿Truths? Part 1, I am choosing to offer these thoughts simply to encourage growth. I submit them simply for self-study as an example of one person’s searching — it is a very powerful way to come to know yourself. The list is long and I will submit it over a number of blogs, 25-30 brief statements per posting.
As previously noted, a comment on language: I am not an advocate of scientific materialism, the philosophic ontology that only science can address truth, and that energy-matter is the only domain of experience in the universe. I value scientific methodology highly, but the overall terminology of scientific materialism has many hidden presuppositions. As much as possible, I will identify them in these posts.
[An apology also — sometimes the formatting offered by WordPress is very limiting! An aspect of technology that I hate is that it forces me into processes that I do not want in my life; yet, the same technology offers many advantages. Thus my common statement: Technology is wonderful — when it works.]
- (Continuing the previous) As part of being present, I learn skills of living.
- The skills fall into two main groups:
- skills of integrity, being my word, including choosing action (pro-activity) rather than “understanding” or “reaction,” developing a vision of where I want to go and how, and being disciplined in “how” I action my vision
- being in relationship with life, trustworthy and committed, including balancing my needs with the needs of others and being a midwife for others..
- All this requires that I be very clear of who I am!
Every man has a vocation to be someone: but he must understand clearly that in order to fulfill this vocation he can only be one person: himself (Thomas Merton).
- My journey is not your journey. You need to do your own journey.
The only truth I can tell you is of my journey.
- I can never know absolute truth; depending on circumstances, everything is true, and everything is bull. What I gain on the journey is wisdom, the knowing of my own truth! I cannot teach wisdom to anyone else.
- I am here now!
This is very simple, yet very fundamental. This is the only time in which I am able to make a difference in life. What difference, if any, do I want to make at this time? Now? Here?
- As a biologic creature, I have all the resources I require so as to be alive, to live fully.
I frequently wonder about this; present-day human life is very complex. Sometimes I truly do not know something, and I obtain such from another source. Such resources are invaluable to challenge me in my growth.
However, if there is something such as universal consciousness, then perhaps all is available to me, if only I knew how.
I certainly need integration of my resources; my society also needs integration.
- The following statement speaks volumes!
“Until you can see through the rules, you can only see through the rules.” (R. D. Laing)
- Believing is seeing!
Usually we say “seeing is believing;” less accurate though.
- I am currently doing the best that I can. Even when I believe I should be doing something else, I am still doing the best I can right now.
I can however do something different (especially if I do not like what I am currently doing!)—I have choice!
There is a price tag to choice!
- Fears are ‘Fantasied Experiences Appearing Real.’
One of the activities I enjoy is climbing—50’-60’ in the air, suspended by a safety harness. The real risk is slight; the perceived risk is high (and exciting).
Most of my fears are due to perceived risk! I call this fearfulness. And I need to be careful that I do evaluate the real risks!
- There is a major distinction between fear and fearfulness.
‘Fear’ is the authentic response to danger. ‘Fearfulness’ is the catastrophic response to ‘fantasized experiences appearing real.’
Julian of Norwich, a 14th century mystic, indicated that this latter is one of the only two sins—it alienates us from life.
- This distinction became the basis of my PhD dissertation — the study of acedia, an ancient term that for me includes fearfulness, laziness, and self-righteousness as the fundamental emotional processes we use to avoid authentic living.
- Some thoughts/definitions of importance to me.
- Power— the ability to influence others.
- Strength— the ability to resist others.
- Freedom— the ability to influence myself.
- Wisdom— flexibility with craziness (yours and/or mine).
- I live within an environment, and I impact that environment. Even when I am doing “nothing,” I still have an impact.
What is my impact? Do I truly want this impact?
- On rare occasions, I am an innocent victim of the universe (especially true of children).
I am never one when my pain is recurrent—always I contribute to my own suffering.
I have no power to change the universe; I do have power to change my self.
- Assuming there is a purpose underlying the universe (God, Creator, .Mystery, …), then there are probably no innocent victims, ever. We are given this life to live it, in all its complexity.
There is a great freedom in accepting that I have chosen to be here.
Yet I often wonder as to the purpose envisioned by Creator. The diversity of life is so complex, especially in the realm of good and evil.
- I have a purpose in being here! Even when I do not know what that purpose is, I still have a purpose. What is my purpose?
Sometimes my purpose seems small (I want to talk to you!); sometimes my purpose seems grand (I am an instrument of Mystery!). Always I am a creature of the universe, contributing to whatever purpose resides in the universe.
- My time is my time! No one, absolutely no one, gets my time without my permission! I can give my time freely, or resentfully—either way, with my permission!
- I am an explorer. I am often happiest being an explorer. As explorer, I cannot fully know what I am exploring until I have explored it!
Frequently, when exploring, I feel very scared.
When I am most scared, and able to explore my scare, I find my biggest treasures.
- As much as possible, I seek simplicity and clarity. For me, these allow me a place to stand in the universe. What is the simple and the obvious in my life?
- There is a major difference between wishes and goals.
Wishes are exciting, generally vague, and usually I can tell you why I don’t have “it” in my life, perhaps with excuses or explanations. I may also regret, or somehow create, a negative experience from this.
Goals are planned directions, planned in that I know what I want and how to get it, what I need to do and when. The RPMS of goals are Realistic, Practical, Measurable and Specific!
- When I am living a goal, it is likely that I am also excited and looking forward, able to celebrate when I am finished (or having reached a significant milestone on the path). I can also change direction when necessary.
How do I live my life, what part as wishes and as goals? Both are useful at times.
- “Want” does not mean that I like something; it means that “I choose” (perhaps the better of two goods, often the lesser of two evils).
- There are no guarantees!
- One of the simple concepts in life is that there are three kinds of “facts”:
- there are external facts (outside myself—said to be objective — wow!),
- there are my personal facts (my own internal sensations, thoughts, feelings and my behavior descriptions of what I experience outside myself), and
- there are my interpretations of these two other facts (the story I make up about these first two types of facts).
- What connects these three are my beliefs. Keeping all these aspects, my facts and my beliefs, separate and manageable is an amazingly difficult process—and an incredibly rewarding one when I do so.
- What traps me most as a human being is when I assume that the story I make up is true (!), somehow more important than the facts.
Also, I often keep my beliefs out-of-consciousness (so as to maintain this trap)! To step out of the trap means that I will encounter pain (and hopefully joy).
To be continued.