May 23

  

Today's Quotation:

The Buddha spoke gently, "Once a person is caught by belief in a doctrine, one loses all one's freedom. When one becomes dogmatic, that person believes his or her doctrine is the only truth and that all other doctrines are heresy.  Disputes and conflicts all arise from narrow views. They can extend endlessly, wasting precious time and sometimes even leading to war. Attachment to views is the greatest impediment to the spiritual path. Bound to narrow views, one becomes so entangled that it is no longer possible to let the door of truth open."

Thich Nhat Hanh

Today's Meditation:

I'd love to write a book on this subject.  It makes me sad to see just how many people limit their own perspectives by clinging to views and ideas that they've embraced just because someone else has taught them that they're true.  It's like we're willing to sacrifice our own freedom just to hold on tightly to a belief that may or may not be true.  Most dogma is based on the beliefs of people-- Christian dogma, for example, is based on the interpretations of people, not on the words of Christ.  Many churches hold on to interpretations that have been disproved by new translations, yet because someone hundreds of years ago interpreted the Bible in a certain way, the churches still cling to the ideas because they're now "tradition."

If we want to become truly spiritual beings, we must embark on our own journeys into our selves and our personal relationship with God or life.  The answers to my spiritual questions are not in someone else's interpretation of anything-- I must learn to trust myself and my own perspective on life.

Have you ever thought someone was mad at you, and it made you feel awful?  This was a belief, and it held you back because you didn't like having someone angry with you.  When you later found out that the person wasn't angry with you, your belief was shattered, and it no longer made you feel awful.

Likewise, if we keep ourselves open to learning and growing, we will find out that some of the beliefs that we hold on to are actually holding us back, making us feel awful, and if we were able to cast them aside, we'd be able to move on and to grow more.  We owe it to ourselves to walk on a clear path, one that's not overgrown with the dogma that other people have created, trying to get others to believe exactly what they believe.

Questions to ponder:

1.  What are some of your beliefs that you've been tempted to cast aside, but have been afraid to do so because others teach that they're true?

2.  Is a teaching or belief more valid because it was taught by someone hundreds of years ago?

3.  Why do we tend to attach ourselves to such beliefs?  Is it safety?  Conformity?  Not being alone?

For further thought:

There are no whole truths; all truths are half-truths.  It is trying to treat them as whole truths that plays the devil.

Alfred North Whitehead

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