Can the greatest deception be the deception of self? Our minds work to understand the sensory data which surrounds and envelops us. It tirelessly interprets the information, through a process we call thinking – and attempts to come to a conclusion so that we can unravel this mysterious thing called life. The mind loves this. It is designed specifically for this. It loves to think and to problem solve. It loves when It can come to a conclusion and give the illusion of certainty. Once it is obtained it moves on searching for its next morsel. We all look outside of ourselves to find and to gather examples as to what we are. This starts immediately upon our arrival at birth. We seek out characteristics that reflect back to us what it is we think our identity relies on. I know I did this. Through observation of the world around me, I formed ideas as to what it meant to be a man, an American, an individual. I took these exterior examples and internalized them. After all I am a man, an American, and an individual. Sometimes the examples I observed in the outside world did not fit with who I truly was. Often I thought one way and felt another. I did not bother to change my ideas on how I should be when there was an internal conflict, I did not try to reconcile these differences. The world clearly knew better. After all most of the information came from friends and family, and trusted sources. I just started pretending. I allowed my mind to override my heart. These, I suspect, where my earliest lies. Lies I told to myself. These lies lay the groundwork for a systemic corruption that would eventually cause a complete system failure. There is an old adage that goes something like this – we are only as sick as our secrets. The truth of these words cut deep. Each and every secret is based on a lie, a deception. They recoil from the light. They cause us to betray ourselves with increasing frequency. We become adept at masquerading in front of our friends, families, coworkers and our peers, as something else – a fraud. We act according to our identity as prescribed by the examples we have seen. The mind produces this information. It has been recorded and replayed. It is a cheap copy of what we’ve seen unless we listen to our hearts. No matter how great the disconnect between my heart and my own mind, my ego insisted that the show must go on. I lived this way for some time. The differences were never reconciled and in time the nagging ache in my heart began to change and dull. A numbness eventually set in. I continued on like this, rigidly set in how to act and to think, with a complete disregard for how I felt. How many of us live this way? With this organ, this brain, overriding the truth of who we are deep inside. How many of us are living lies?
The fact remains that my quality of life plummeted when living according to these lies. It all changed when my inner voice of feeling instead of thinking was recognized and understood. This little voice is me. Unadulterated. Emotionally pure. Wanting only goodness for me and everyone on earth. Ready to defend when threatened but taking no pleasure in the fight. This is me.
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We all seek certainty. Each day this age-old quest carries on. Our minds seek order and understanding. We yearn to organize, to structure the unstructured, to categorize and compartmentalize. We find beauty in order and symmetry. According to the limitations of human intellect we need this order and categorical thinking to compartmentalize our cerebral efforts.
Otherwise we would be awestruck every moment of every day. We would be overwhelmed with the massive amount of sensory data we experience. Our intellectual strides would become more of a crawl. What is it we strive towards? Some say we strive for perfection. What is perfection exactly?? Is it found in the Swiss watchmakers legacy? Or a Zen Buddhists clarity? Does anyone truly know with certainty that they’ve got it all figured out? Well, maybe some believe so, but they would be a rare and possibly deluded few. To live with certainty for too long causes the death of the imagination, and that is a scary proposition indeed!! We, if we are certain, have locked into modes of thinking that are now static. Intellectually we stagnate and eventually become obsolete. Certitude and arrogance can be closely related. The imagination allows us to flex our thinking muscles and accomplish new feats. The way I figure it, there are only two paths to any conclusion; one with- and one without deception. To declare to understand with absolute certainty even the seemingly inconsequentIal ‘fact’ that water is wet is wrought with arguable details. Confucious famously stated; “Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.”. If we are honest with ourselves and each other about our un-knowing we become free from deception. We become humbled in an understanding of our own limitations; in our own ignorance. Acknowledging the limits of our intellect, ironically, allows us to soar past the confining parameters that, moments before, kept us from building beyond the specifications previously set. Many adhere strictly to academia, afraid to break free like the scholarly idols they immortalize for doing this very thing. Rebellious and unbound imaginings have more of a history in academia than the repetitious memorization of mere facts. Einstein succinctly immortalized this point when he said, “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.”. If we choose to disregard our limitations we run the risk of becoming enthroned upon manufactured justifications that fortify intellectual pride. We start to spout the arguments of others citing facts we did not gather. We declare ourselves experts on the subject at hand and certainty becomes our very own prison. A prison self-built with the comfort and contentment of feeling intellectually superior. We reshape and recreate the world around us in a cheapened rendition of the perfection we observe all around us. After all it was our inquisitive nature that got us looking a little closer and unraveling some of the mysteries of the world. We attempt to recreate that which we have already seen and experienced. We strive to emulate the natural world in all things whether we are conscious of this or not. We do this in calculated and mindful ways. Thought precedes action, but each thought is funneled by our worldview and reconditioned. Our worldviews are myriad but emotionally we all remain deeply connected. The first thought is pure and unadulterated. It occurs before deception. It is driven by pure emotion first. In this way we can continue toward the perfection we observe if we are emotionally honest. All paths, spiritual, emotional, mental or physical, that we undertake with an intention and honesty that does not betray the core of our beings must lead home.
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