A good self-help program can be at my reach, a good motivational speaker can be an inspiration to me, a good family can be giving me all the support, a blessed spiritual friend can share everything what she thought is best for me – yet, whether it is the one thing or a thousand over approaches, if I am not willing to understand what ideas am I holding on, I may not be experiencing what they are sharing with me.
My wife showed me a wonderful clinical handbook on mindfulness this morning and while going through it with her, I found the materials informative. And it got me pondering. What is the difference between someone having right information approaching that material and another not having any information at all. Information in term of understanding how the mind works. If I do not know how the mind works and start working on mindfulness, the end result will defer from those who already have preliminary understanding of the working of the mind. Here lies the irony. Everything in the world I perceived is not exactly what it is.
We do not see things as they are, we see them as we are
– The Talmud
If I am wearing a color glasses, I am not seeing just the color of the glasses in whatever I see, I am seeing colors with a mix. In other words, if my views are strongly rooted in a certain belief, the way I look at things will be supportive of my belief. Let me share a simple example here on the precept of abstinence from killing found in Buddhism. The first of the five precepts says I take the precepts to abstain from taking life.
There are three parts to it. There is a “I”, abstain, and taking life.
At a glance I may take it for granted to mean I shall not kill. Now, that is an unquestioned new idea I am blindly accepting from a already-existing-idea in my consciousness that makes me see it that way. What happens when I have this idea? I will see killing as bad, as wrong, as against my religion. When I see it as wrong I will judge those who involve in killing. I will see the world as wrong, so to speak. When there is wrong, there is obviously anger in me. When I don’t kill I will see myself as right and good. Doing so makes me think I am right and others are wrong. From being wise I become arrogant – all starts from this tiny mad idea which I have unquestionably accept.
If I do not give attention to the word “abstain”, I am meaning it to say “must not” which is entirely a different meaning all together. And even that idea will make me righteous or guilty depending where I am at.
Now if I ignore the word “I” from that statement, which I normally do as I have taken it for granted, that missing “I” will create a big difference in how I interprete the precept. I will see wrongness in others when they kill. But the precept has nothing to do with anyone else except me as that is what I undertake. I can’t undertake for anyone for that matter and thus it is not my business to judge what others do.
One sentence is enough to change the way I look at life. How many meanings come to my head in one moment, not to mention the uncountable meanings that I am picking up in a day. If I am not aware and precise in my observation, I am drowned in ideas that binds me away from what is, from Truth.
Am I misguiding myself frequently? I am not doing justice to religion, to all the past Masters.
The world what is now, is what I am.