I look forward to meeting some of you on the India book tour this January.
Faulty beliefs lay dormant in our minds like a Trojan horse, perhaps a prejudice about ourselves or the world. It’s harder to expose the faults of a belief when the people around us also hold the same belief. Unfortunately, we are not lucky enough to discover all false or bad beliefs by ourselves. History affords us many tragedies with roots in deeply held beliefs. Let’s not ignore them and throw away precious lessons perhaps acquired by our ancestors through painful trials.
When calling into question spiritual beliefs, it’s easy to hurt people’s feelings, especially if the beliefs provide comfort, prestige or something held valuable to the one who believes. Yet, painful feelings are not an argument… Read More
We conjure our tomorrows as if the future is bound to our concepts. We may say “no person knows everything,” but, still, we coddle our hubris by measuring all things by what we know. This arrogance is why entirely new things can seem familiar. By ignoring facts and reasons contrary to our beliefs, we invite life experiences to rip faulty beliefs from our terrified grasp when we could have let those beliefs go, just as we do with dreams in the morning.
“If you do not expect the unexpected, you will not find it;
for it is hard to be sought out…” vii Heraclitus
Presuming to know is different from trial and error. Generalizing is not bad, but we tend to treat our schemes as facts. In any group of people, unfounded beliefs pose great peril when the popularity of an idea takes the place of proof. For example, the delusional thinking of Americans imagining an imminent threat brought about a preemptive war and a river of bloodshed.
Excerpt: The Relevance of Kabir
We make judgments daily. It’s best to improve when we can because we not only pay a price when we suffer. Beautiful things this world truly offers may elude us as we linger in the graveyard of our preconceived ideas.
vii John Burnet, Early Greek Philosophy (London: A. and C. Black, 1892), 134.
The Relevance of Kabir is also book about relationships. It takes many examples from real life relationships to point out the misery causing habits of mind. Here is an excerpt.
“He [Kabir] does not say that spiritual seekers or ascetics will comprehend his meaning, but notes that lovers will. Our poet wants us to have the experience of being in love as a step toward greater liberation. Lovers mistake the dissolving of the ego in orgasm to be only part of orgasm when it results from arresting habits of mind. If we can’t let go of our self, orgasm becomes difficult. In the ecstasy of love, the mental specter of our self becomes unsustainable. We live without a story for a few moments. If we need others to see beyond our ideas of ourselves, then possessiveness haunts us. We become a burden to others and limit our choices by reducing people into nothing more than a means. When we use people, we probably destroy or limit our affections in the process. Emancipate others from being just a prop in a cerebral autobiography.”
More risqué examples in the book.