A group of friends met this afternoon for a book exchange session, a yearly affair where we encourage everyone to purchase a personal growth book and participate in the exchange. Other than the exchange, we have potluck and sharing. This year we did the whole thing a little different. We split the group of 24 into six groups and invited everyone to write down their view or interpretation in a very spontaneous manner of words that we express out. Me and my friend call out a few words without preparation; words like sex, money, abundance, cancer, etc, and each wrote down what they think about those words, privately. In the end the group shared what they have come up.
Interestingly, our mini statistic showed that there are not many people of the same group sharing the same view of each word. What does it then tell of the world? The point I wanted to bring forward is about ideas and views we all have on everything we come into contact. We have never known or heard anyone, except our ideas about them. How then can we possibly meet or talk when each of us are coming from our own meaning and point of view? We are truly alone as nothing came back to us through a conversation. Instead of what came back, it is what came out from our mind. And we listen to what came out and talk from that space. We have never spoken to anyone except answering our own perceptions! How can there be possibilities of understanding each other when we don’t even understand what comes up in us?
What about the past teachings of all famous Masters then? The translation of those scriptures? What about those who interprete what has been translated? And what about those who finally listen and put what they understood into practice? I trust you can imagine what percentage of truth that finally ended up in the system.
I have first to acknowledge that I don’t know anything. I must truly realize that I can’t know anything except my judgment about it. The things I know are merely a bundle of old ideas, mixed and perceived as new again. Even that is rare as I held on so tightly to my righteousness that there is nothing new I do not know. I am not talking of places or people but about my interaction with the world. A friend asked whether there’s such a thing as a new thought? Yes, when wisdom arise, allowing us to look at things in a new perspective – only if I get myself out of my own way. And that needs a committed conscious way of living, as by default, I am a participant rather than an observer.
When I am able to recognize and understand how my mind is constantly churning ideas, I become compassionate for others who held on to their views. It is not them per se that is ignorant, rather their unwareness is causing them not to see. If they don’t have a right view of observing their mind in the first place, how am I to expect them to understand themselves except playing out what is already there?
So when my teacher said that it is not me that is meditating, but views, I am astounded by the remark. The whole entire world are a make up of views. There is “nobody” but views. Is there a possibility of not having any views? No. Except you can have views that leads you out of entanglements or views that knot you deeper into ignorance.
So if we are quarreling over a certain issue, bear in mind it is not about who is right or who is wrong, or for that matter, the issue. Both are right as both have their own unique ideas. At the same time both are also wrong too as it is their wrong ideas that create the conflict. The wise will only speak whenever necessary, creating harmony wherever they goes.
Observe your conversation. You will find the attitude of convincing rather than conveying, most of the time, subtly hidden behind the facade of our speech. It simply means “my ideas are better than yours – take it!” I am totally familiar with this. In fact, I can’t change anything except recognizing it with right attitude, and the idea releases me.
And finally for those who receive the book from the exchange, can you be sure you are reading from a new perspective?