Posted tagged ‘philosophy’

Theory #9

January 24, 2013

One of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves is to be totally open to our feelings. To have the courage to experience any emotion without rejecting it. No matter how negative or traumatic it is. Especially when it’s about ourselves.

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Theory #8

January 15, 2013

There is no truth other than what is felt.  This is why myths contain more truth than facts and science.

Theory #6

November 14, 2012

We are fundamentally irrational beings.  All of our logic has its roots in emotions, and never vice versa.  Everything exists in feeling.  Logic is a tool that can be used for guidance, for self-defense, attack, and as an escape.

As a great man once said: “you can be subjectively objective, but not objectively subjective.”

Theory #5

October 26, 2012

To be non-judgmental is impossible.  Our goal should always be to judge better.  To see everything for its true value.

Theory #4

October 23, 2012

Nothing is neutral.  Everything we experience, everything we do,  every thought that we think, is either positive or negative to some degree.  With awareness we can detect this in each moment, and thereby guide and direct ourselves.

Transforming Lead to Gold

September 10, 2009

There was an interesting interview on the NPR show TELL ME MORE on Sunday night.  The author Stephanie Covington Armstrong spoke about her battle with bulimia nervosa.  She traces the root of her condition back to when she was 12 years old and was sexually assaulted by her uncle.

During the incident she pretended she was asleep, telling herself it wasn’t happening, until she felt emotionally separated from herself.  Later she started stuffing herself as a relief from the feelings of pain and isolation.  But, not wanting  others to discover her pain by seeing her gain weight, she became bulimic.

She was using the eating and purging as a way to run from her feelings, and it worked… until the feelings came back.  Eventually, she couldn’t stay ahead of her feelings.  She’d throw up and the feelings would come right back, all the low self-esteem and shame from being sexually abused.  Her coping mechanism was requiring more and more to provide less and less relief.  In fact, it was killing her and she knew it.

After bottoming out she started going to support groups and gradually learned to accept herself and to find more effective coping mechanisms like turning to people for support, journaling, and helping others.  It was a gradual process, and she didn’t stop overnight.  As she puts it, she was learning how to be good to herself, how to love herself.

Now she’s gotten to the point where if she finds herself reaching for something to eat, and she’s not hungry, she immediately starts an internal dialogue:  I’m not hungry, so what’s going on?  Maybe she discovers it’s a deadline she feels overwhelmed by due to a fear of failure, or of being found incompetent.  Whatever the cause, once it’s identified the urge to eat just goes away.  My theory here is that once we see what’s real, the unreal can’t survive.

So she learned how to take this tremendously self-destructive condition and turn it into a positive.  Instead of living with that overwhelmed feeling, missing a deadline, and confirming her fears, she gets an advance warning.  No longer being controlled and manipulated by her condition, she now uses it to serve her.  She uses the unhealthy urges to eat as a warning signal that something is wrong in her life and needs to be dealt with.

If only we all had such a direct link to our deeper self… But we do.  We all have feelings; we just either ignore and suppress them, or don’t know what to do about them when we do feel them.  The question is how bad do things have to get before we start tuning in?

I can’t prove it, but I have faith, that all negatives can be turned to positives.  It’s quite simple and elegant actually.  And it extends to everything which is negative.  We don’t have to wait for a condition to bring us to our knees (though that seems to be often what it takes to wake us up).

Anytime we feel even a slightly negative sensation, that’s our warning light.  Something is wrong.  Something.  And part of the process of learning how to be good to ourselves is the process of first listening to these warnings, then figuring out why we don’t feel good, and what we can do about it.  The solution may be a long and hard road, but if we don’t heed the warning signals, we’ll never be able to transform our pain into something good.

Doubt, God and Risk

August 26, 2009

Are there different ways to doubt?  Is one type of doubt good for us, and another type negative?

On the one hand I believe that doubt can be a great motivator for people to personally verify the reality or unreality of something.  And I believe that personal verification is the ultimate and only real verification of “spiritual” and/or emotional truth.  Accept no substitutes, sorry no easy way out (reading books, listening to enlightened teachings and getting religion included).  So, as Buddha said, “believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.”  However, doubt can also be a cop-out for inaction; for being lazy, not trying, not challenging oneself.  For not struggling to come to terms with reality.  After all, until we really “know we know” something, why give up the search for that understanding merely because, to us, one side or the other seems unlikely or doubtful?

I’ve been thinking about the question of God’s existence (not to mention, who/what *is* God really?).  I have feelings, experiences and intuitions that pull me in both directions and there is no clear answer for me.  I simply do not know.  So, is it negative not to know something?  Is that even doubt?  It could be more like a barrier, or maybe a blank slate.  Either way, which is worse, not knowing something and admitting it, or not knowing yet choosing to believe in something (perhaps out of pressure, or in reaction against something else) that you really don’t know for sure?  The first path is at least honest, and more open to reality.  And that sounds good doesn’t it?  But I doubt even myself, and so I couldn’t help but think…

What if we make a deliberate conscious choice to invest our belief in something, despite our lack of knowledge?  This is in contrast to the way beliefs are often formed.  And I think there’s no question that beliefs which are formed on the basis of unconscious forces like societal pressure, are not well formed, and leave us suffering in confusion when circumstances challenge and threaten them.  But what about taking a risk and choosing to believe something, acting on it as if it were true, and following it through, even though you don’t know for sure?  Does this make sense?

Jesus tells the story of a man who trusts some money to three servants while he is away.  The first two double their allotted sums, but the third is very conservative, knowing his master doesn’t suffer fools lightly, and rather than risk losing any, buries his in the ground.  When the master returns, the third servant gets scolded for playing it safe, for not taking any risk, not even to let the money earn interest.  But what is this risk Jesus is talking of?  Are we supposed to take some risks in everything, including in what we believe?  I think the real key is not to be controlled by fear like the third servant was.  In the case of believing in God, I think the point (of belief) is really to get people to address how they live, not superficial modification of beliefs and behaviors.  However, I do think everyone should take a slightly different risk regarding their beliefs; and that is the “risk” of questioning and challenging them.  It can seem risky because what if we find out we’ve been going in the wrong direction all along?  Depending on what we’re confronting, this can be very frightening.

Why do we take risks?  For reward.  What’s the reward for believing in God?  Heaven?  Maybe, but it just doesn’t feel *real* to me (I could be wrong).  But a true Christian wouldn’t do good for the sake of going to heaven anyway.  Rather, the true Christian, or any truly good person, does good for the sake of good.  Their fruit is good because their heart is good.  A good person just naturally does good things without any selfish ulterior motive.  So what’s the point of taking beliefs and forming sides?  Beliefs are superficial.  They are a fruit of the heart, at best, not a shaper of the heart.  Faith, by the way, is different from belief (as I see it), but more on that another time.

What so many Christians and people in general don’t understand, is that if you want to really understand a person, you should pay much less attention to what they believe, and much more to how they live.  What good is a person who agrees with you on everything you believe, but is very selfish, negative and offensive to be around?  So the risk that I think is necessary, is taking the chance to do things we’ve never done before, face the unknown, face fears and uncertainties with the aim of making something positive out of it, rather than sitting on our laurels unchallenged, comfortable, and stagnating.  The point is to be alive, striving, moving and advancing….