Monday, May 26, 2008

The Truth of the Matter IS

What is truth? How do we find truth? If we find it, can we communicate it?

According to Plato: When the mind's eye rests on objects illuminated by truth and reality, it understands and comprehends them, and functions intelligently; but when it turns to the twilight world of change and decay, it can only form opinions, its vision is confused and its beliefs shifting, and it seems to lack intelligence. (Plato, Republic)

To Spinoza, ultimate truth is the ultimate reality of a rationally ordered system that is God. To Hegel, truth is a rationally integrated system in which everything is contained. To Einstein, the truth of the Universe is human truth.

Modern day philosopher, Ken Wilber, believes that there is a nondual, absolute truth, that can only be accessed by Satori, and a relative or conventional truth, that is formed by our place in the nested hierarchy of being (each higher of which includes the ones beneath it, creating a series of nested holons.) Each holon has its own validity claim, its own relative partial, but still totally authentic truth. Because as a group, we are in different levels of awareness, or different holons in the great nest, we have different relative truths.

According to Wilber, the absolute is known only by a direct realization involving a transformation in consciousness (satori, sahaj, metanoia), and "what" is seen in satori cannot be stated in ordinary dualistic words, other than metaphors, poetry, and hints (if you want to know God, you must awaken, not merely theorize).

What do YOU think?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Trust Lost, Earned and Achieved

What is trust, and why is it important to us? We all know people who can't trust, who often expect things to go bad, ignore what they know, leap quickly into action without accessing the risk, and push others away. What can we do to develop trust?

"Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement."
- Golda Meir

Trusting yourself can be a matter of listening to your own inner voice as a source of wisdom and strength. We can do this as long as doubt and fear do not get in the way, with questions like: what if I am making a mistake? What was I thinking? Why would anyone listen to me? Developing self trust can take a great deal of patience and self-forgiveness. We first must learn to minimize our regrets and see our mistakes as opportunities. We need to rely on confidence instead of approval.

"Wise men put their trust in ideas and not in circumstances" Ralph Waldo Emerson

By advising us to trust the ideas of men, not the events in their lives, Emerson expresses his belief that history was biography. This is a form of trusting others outside of convention, namely, trusting in the ideas of men and how they shape our lives.

"No soul is desolate as long as there is a human being for whom it can feel trust and reverence." TS Eliot

Trust between people is the most widely studied form of trust. Stanford's Encyclopedia of Philosophy defines trust as: an attitude that we have towards people whom we hope will be trustworthy, where trustworthiness is a property, not an attitude. For trust to be warranted (i.e. plausible) in a relationship, the parties to that relationship must have attitudes toward one another that are conducive to trusting one another. Moreover, for trust to be warranted (i.e. well-grounded), both parties ought to be trustworthy.

"I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish He didn't trust me so much." Mother Teresa

We see from this statement by Mother Teresa, that trust in something greater than ourselves, in a divine organization to life, or in God can work both ways. Having faith that everything will be alright, that tomorrow will come or that the Lord provides, are all examples of trust in creation.

What do YOU think?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Drive Your Intuition Like a Muscle Car

Have you ever known who was calling before you picked up the phone, or known what you needed to do even though it defied logical explanation? Have you ever had a dream about an event before it occurred? Or dreamt the answer to a problem you could not solve while awake? What is intuition? Why is it important to us?

According to Diana Whitmore, in her book, Psychosynthesis in Education a working hypothesis is that the Self is at the core of the superconscious, just as the 'I' or personal self is at the core of the personality and its various functions (physical, emotional and mental). Interaction between the Self and the 'I' can occur or flow in either direction. When the contents of the superconscious descend into our conscious experience, we receive inspiration, intuition, insight and or peak experiences. These moments happen to us, particularly when we least expect them or have not been actively seeking them. However, the flow may also occur in the other direction, through elevating our personality, through consciously aspiring, in a realistic, grounded and purposeful way, towards the heights or depths of our being.

Frances E. Vaughan, in her book, Awakening Intuition, believes that if you are willing to confront the fears that arise when you are faced with letting go of some cherished illusion, then intuition allows you to know things as they are. At this point, when you have made commitment to your own inner truth, you may be increasingly willing to follow the guidance of intuition rather than try to use it to fulfill egotistical desires. The steady pursuit of self-knowledge leads eventually to a self-transcendence in which personal needs and desires are seen in a larger perspective. The intuitive realization that one is part of a larger whole, inseparable from the environment in which one lives, and that being is essentially the same in everyone, albeit in an infinite variety of patterns and forms, allows one to see oneself and the universe as an interdependent unit.

What do YOU think?

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Developing Generosity of Spirit

Have you ever been a victim of circumstance? Or do you get what's coming to you every single time?

"Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap," Galatians VI. It is said that this means that your thoughts and deeds, good or bad, will repay you in kind. What you give, you get back. The thoughts and feelings that occupy your mind, will attract circumstances to your life of the same quality.

Another example: You may love some people and dislike others. You are, therefore, sowing mixed seeds. Therefore, what you reap will be equally mixed, blessings and suffering. Can you see this law of cause and effect in your life? If you can find a way to see everyone in their highest potential, to see the good in all, would you reach the abundance in life that for many, represents heaven on earth? By seeing the good in all, would all good come your way?

Without question, the world can be an unfriendly and cold place to live. Encouraging others around us so that they can shine is a gift that we all can offer each other. In fact, is there really a better gift to extend? When we remember that it is more important to extend love than to be number one or front and center, we express our belief in the importance of being generous of spirit.

What do YOU think?

Artwork by Nancy Standlee. Many thanks.