"We all carry within us places of exile, our crimes, our ravages. Our task is not to unleash them on the world; it is to transform them in ourselves and others." ~ Camus
I carry within me the potential for all unspeakable horrors committed by anyone at any time in history. My task is to find the unchallenged core beliefs that would impel me to find evidence for these beliefs. All these core beliefs are just that: beliefs. They can be transformed. I am on it.
"In the courageous standing of uncertainty, faith shows most visibly its dynamic character." ~ Tillich
I am not sure what Tillich is saying. Does it take courage to allow faith to take its place in my heart? Or is it faith that gives me the courage to stand in uncertainty? Either way in my beginner's experience faith has allowed me to appear courageous where in fact I am just resting on the faith-based certainty that everything is inevitably for the best. It would take an outrageous, perhaps even irrational, level of courage to continue breathing if I did not have that rock solid faith.
"Neurosis is the way of avoiding nonbeing by avoiding being" ~ Tillich
‘Avoiding nonbeing’? What does that mean to me? Am I afraid of losing my sad little, self-made, identity by embracing the blinding beauty of ‘nonbeing’? Could it be that I can only ‘Be’ by surrendering to ‘nonbeing’. Is my ‘Being’ defined by the eternity of ‘Nonbeing’?
"Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark." ~ Tagore
'Feels the light', regardless of the seeming immensity of the darkness surrounding me, that is Faith.
“This is what is hardest: to close the open hand because one loves.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche
I find there can be a confusion with the notion of ‘extending love’, believing that one must always embrace the other--regardless of the situation at hand. I find this to be a level confusion, where these acts of tolerant ‘kindness’ are hiding insecurities of unworthiness and fear of being alone. My only job is to see the truth in the other, and akin to observing a three-year old playing with a knife, there are times when being witness to self-destructive behaviors requires more proactive measures. It may be perceived as a retreat, but is really an invitation--for both parties--to reconnect within.
"One cannot seek happiness, for it is the result of realizing the Truth. The personality, which has security and pleasure as its aims, cannot be happy. Pursuing pleasure or safety will entail covering up any unpleasant or frightening truths. This automatically closes Joy. For Joy is the radiance of the heart when Truth is appreciated." ~ Almaas
The ‘danger’ lies not in covering up any ‘unpleasant or frightening’ truths, there are no such truths. Those characterizations are the result of mistaken interpretation. The danger lies in covering up limiting beliefs which render these truths unpleasant or frightening. These beliefs will, over time, poison all I look upon and Joy will not be experienced as long as these beliefs are the operating system with which I walk the earth.
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” ~ Viktor Frankl.
Viktor Frankl lived through the horrors of Auschwitz and demonstrated this teaching brilliantly. To most, however, the idea that they have a choice is an alien concept. And, in all honesty, we do not have the choice to change our attitude like we change our shirt. The attitude is chosen by core beliefs and without transforming these you can choose all you want, ultimately nothing will change. Frankl, clearly, had truly sparkling core beliefs!
“The question is not what you look at, but what you see.” ~ Henri David Thoreau.
... and it is not really 'what you see' but who you see. I can choose to see through the eyes of Truth or the self. What I see is dictated by that simple choice. Knowing I have that choice was a revelation. What or who I see is a reflection of the self seeing.
"The more man meditates upon good thoughts, the better will be his world and the world at large." ~ Confucius
All thought creates form. I can only have one thought at a time. Thoughts run along neuro-paths, by meditating on ‘good thoughts’ I create new neuro-paths or widen and strengthen existing ones. The world I see is the results of my thoughts. Which wolf will win? The one I feed.
"The gentleman does not promote people merely on the basis of their words, nor does he reject words merely because of the person who uttered them." ~ Confucius
To identify the words with the speaker and to do so selectively comes from an innate yet unrecognized need of idols. If I speak the Truth are they ‘my’ words? If Rumi speaks the Truth are they ‘his’ words? Helen Schucman wrote the Truth, were they ‘her’ words? The Truth is True regardless of what appears to be the source. “Out of the mouth of babes ....”
Diederik Wolsak is program director at Choose Again