What I Believe, matters
There are a lot of things I don’t know that you probably know. Did you know President Carter coined the term “Human Rights”? I didn’t until recently, but as a therapist, it became a popular term, especially in teaching assertive communication. We have a right, by birth, to our opinions, feelings, and desires; and we have a right to express them in a way that respects others’ right to the same.
And as Buddhist philosophy gains popularity in the west, people say we contain within all the wisdom we need. We are to tap into the Now and ask ourselves what is essential and true.
The two concepts above, human rights and enlightenment, seem to require that we are first civilized. We go through an intense training period for what seems to take at least 18 years in which we are indoctrinated with facts, moral codes, proper behaviors, skills training, and constant evaluation. We rely on the experts for this process – everyone from parents to teachers to books to police to public leaders.
Is it any wonder that the next phase is so much harder? All this taking in, absorbing the outer world of rules, seems to subliminally teach us that we are dependent on external authority, that we are essentially nothing. No wonder we compare ourselves to others, indulge in gossip and envy, develop secrets born of shame and guilt, and struggle with daily right and wrong.
This next phase of human growth, if you want to continue growing, requires undoing much of what you thought you knew. Just letting it go! (easier said than done?) In order to do so we must first channel our awareness to SELF instead of ‘other’.
Becoming self-realized is the only true path to freedom. After spending 18+ years in training so we can respond to routine life semi-automatically, we have to learn to observe ourselves in thought and action, and then, objectively ask ourselves what is essentially true. For you. For me.
“A thought is harmless unless we believe it. It’s not our thoughts, but our attachment to our thoughts, that causes suffering. Attaching to a thought means believing that it’s true, without inquiring. A belief is a thought that we’ve been attaching to, often for years…I still love what I think but I’m never tempted to believe it.” Byron Katie
“I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like them, Sam-I-Am.”
Although he had never tried them, he ‘knew.’ He believed.
Finally, giving into Sam’s pestering, he samples the green eggs and ham and happily responds,
“I do so like green eggs and ham. Thank you. Thank you, Sam-I-Am.” Dr. Suess
For related ideas go to: http://buddhismnow.com/2013/07/05/first-steps-buddhist-meditation/