My Right & Duty to Think & Act From My Beliefs


Welcome! I’m glad to be writing this blog article. It has actually ended up being quite long. Thank you for coming to read it.

I’ve been doing a lot of coaching lately at work and this has caused me to really look back in time to where I learned or unlearned the bits of wisdom I’ve been sharing. Additionally, I’m listening to and learning from new sources of wisdom.

As you may already have learned from this blog, my life has really been a series of evolutions. Sometimes these changes were from gaining wisdom, and sometimes from unlearning beliefs, paradigms, and structures that didn’t serve me. I believe I’m going through another of these periods of change right now, through a series of realizations that bring together much of what I have learned and experienced in the past, albeit to a new level. My intent here is to share my process as its happening.

A series of realizations have come up lately. One came up this morning which gelled several of them together. This happened while I was listening to an interview with Shakti Gawain on the audio book Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsch.

The realization is that my emotions and thoughts, including judgements, are my tools to create reality, yet I have been told, and still believe to some degree, to fear my thoughts and judgements.

Shakti was in favor of Neale’s book, but she shared one caveat that seemed to identify a hypocrisy in the material.

Conversations with God presents as a truth that nothing that can happen is bad or good, that everything that happens in the physical realm is of God. However, the book also provides value judgments given by “God” in answer to several questions Neale presents that are about his personal situation. In “God’s” response, there is a clear judgement of good or bad, better or worse, etc. I think that the text makes it clear that these value judgements are based on what is in fact “good” or “bad” for Neale’s life, based on his personal desires and goals in this life. However, I see how someone can take those passages of “God’s” response more globally and find hypocrisy.

Let me elaborate.

I found it natural, from the context, to differentiate when “God” was providing information about the nature of God and the universe, and when she was speaking directly to Neale about what would help him achieve his goals. This was because in the text Neale was sometimes asking for truth about the nature of things and sometimes for guidance on his particular life and condition.

However, I was still not satisfied that this perceived hypocrisy was unresolved for myself. How is it that God can say that it is the nature of God and the universe to not have value judgements about beliefs, actions, and attitudes, while at the same time providing value judgements for someone on the questions raised about the condition of human life? Why would God provide direct answers containing value judgements to Neale?

The reason this question is very important to me is that while I’m always excited to learn more about the nature of the universe, I, like Neale, am a seeker, and am looking for actionable guidance to determine what beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors will lead to my desired outcomes and happiness. In particular, when I have questions on matters that impact my health, wealth, and sense of connection to God, which are types of questions that Conversations with God directly addresses.

As my mind continued, I was building on a few core beliefs that I should share here as simply as I know how, to give you a place of reference for my frame of mind. There are other beliefs about manifestation and the nature of creation that I have that are tangential, but these three are the ones that I believe apply to elements of this article.

I believe that everything in the physical realm, including the growth of a tree, the action of a person, or even the eruption of mountains, is neither absolutely bad nor good. I believe that there is no absolute judgement, in this way, of things or events in this realm, nor in other planes/realms/or dimensions. They simply are.

I believe that the mind and soul define and create certain aspects of our reality and understanding of this world through the manifestation of thoughts and feelings. Thought about a thing creates truths that I hold within my reality that is localized to my mind, body, and soul. Feelings about a thing create energy and motivation for my thoughts and beliefs to be acted upon.

We impact the reality of each other through acceptance of, and agreement on, our words. The words convey thought, and this is how we shape the shared truths we form in community. Without such agreement between individuals, groups, and societies, the things we believe about the nature of the world are not manifest in anyone else.

So I believe that God and the universe offer no judgement upon the actions of people based on the use of free will. However, I would judge it bad to get angry and punch a co-worker for lying about me. Why do I have the judgement at all? Because to have the judgement enables me to guide my body to perform actions that serve me, and away from actions that do not. This is the entire purpose of my judgement engine — to guide me to create things and situations that serve my highest goals and intentions. Without a thought about a thing, I can only marvel at its existence, and the reality of it becomes my true and complete reality. Once thought is introduced, my truth about it creates a unique reality for me.

My judgement that something is good or bad is therefore only changing my reality. Since I have been granted the ability to create my reality through my emotional reactions and thoughts, I am led to conclude that if the act of punching someone is not inherently bad or good then neither is the act of my judgement about the action.

Value judgements are not truth at a universal level. They only apply to the specific, relative evaluation I, as a person, make. Value judgements offered in Conversations with God only serve to demonstrate that it is important for people to use their judgement to determine their reality so they can make decisions and take actions that lead them to their desired output or goal.

It is very popular in today’s culture to “not judge others”. A common phrase I hear often is “Don’t judge me!” Further, even holy books and leaders will tell me to not throw the first stone. If I take these statements literally, then I am led to judge that judging others is bad, and even to find fault with the obvious hypocrisy of this is itself another loop of the hypocrisy, i.e. judgement of judgements that judgements are bad is bad. If I follow this literal interpretation, I am caught in what we software engineers call an infinite loop. There is no way out except to adopt a belief structure that everything that happens is for my highest and best, and to eliminate all judgements, to have “no mind” about the world. This is a direction that Byron Katie is a proponent of in her book A Thousand Names of Joy.

I believe that Byron Katie’s approach does solve a lot of problems when my thinking is creating a reality in my life that does not serve me, but taken literally, this “no mind” approach is not always helpful for achieving my goals and creating the life I have come here to have. This is not to imply that Byron Katie is wrong. More to the point, she is absolutely correct — to live in joy, we have to accept physical reality as it is and to not become convinced that anything that is or happens is bad or good by its nature, that in fact our belief that something is bad or good is instead only a statement of relativity to our desired outcomes. All value judgements are relative to the desired outcome and therefore are not constantly true. There are no absolutes in the world of relativity.

Gandhi addressed this conundrum in this quote:

It is not given to man to know the whole Truth. His duty lies in living up to the truth as he sees it, and in doing so, to resort to the purest means, i.e. to non-violence.

God alone knows absolute truth. Therefore, I have often said, Truth is God. It follows that man, a finite being, cannot know absolute truth.

Nobody in this world possesses absolute truth. This is God’s attribute alone. Relative truth is all we know. Therefore, we can only follow the truth as we see it. Such pursuit of truth cannot lead anyone astray.

Gandhi’s statement, as I understand it, parallels my own line of thinking. We are meant to have a relative truth, and it is our right and duty to feel, think, and act according to our feelings and thoughts.

So now I’m looking around at all of these masters and their wisdom and trying to bring it home to a set of actionable beliefs that I can see are self-consistent and do not feel false to me.

The answer I find is this — I must switch my understanding of the directive against judgment of the physical realm from a moral directive to a warning. In doing so, the hypocrisy evaporates and I am sitting in a place of understanding and adherence to the wisdom of these great teachers, guides, and wayshowers as I understand it.

Here is how:

To end the hypocrisy, I have to end my belief that judgement is bad. I do this by understanding that the direction to not judge is only a warning that judgement misused will create in my reality conditions and actions that may not be helpful in reaching my goals.

So I change the directive from “do not judge” to “judge with the understanding of what you do, and do so only in representation of your highest self.” I will use my judgement for the intention for which it is available to me — to create and define the reality that brings me the most joy in this lifetime.

This subtle shift from “judgement is bad” to “judgement is powerful, and misuse of it should be avoided”, ends the hypocrisy. Now I am returned to using my mind to define my reality and create the context from which to take actions.

Gone is the belief that if I think and make judgements, as I must to live in this world, that I will suffer and never reach a connection with God. Instead, I have a deeper understanding of the power I have to create my reality using my thinking and actions as directed by my attitudes and beliefs. I can, as Ghandi suggests, spend my life in pursuit of truth, but without shame or guilt about operating from the context of my relative truth, for there is no judgement of my judgement except in terms relative to my desired outcomes.

With this new perspective I can realize my personal power on a whole new level. I can see that I do not need to be afraid of my thinking, nor the thinking of others, for all that I do in this reality will lead me to learn, grow, and share with others my relative truth so as to help myself and, through agreement, others, achieve greater levels of joy and happiness.

If you have made to the end of this article thank you for the perseverance! God bless you all!

Advertisements

7 thoughts on “My Right & Duty to Think & Act From My Beliefs

  1. Thanks for the interesting reflections. I particularly liked the Gandhi quotes. Parts of your post reminded me of a time when my daughter was in her early 20’s. Someone asked her if there is free will. Her response was, “No, I don’t think there is free will, but I think we are supposed to act as if there is.” I thought that was wise then and I still do.

  2. As a relativist myself (how unfashionable), I agree with much of what you say here Dave. Thank you for expressing your thinking so carefully; let’s hope it catches on.

    As you rightly conclude, many of our existential dilemmas issue as a result of our identification with our thoughts (you refer to becoming fearful of our own thinking).

    Where I’m a little puzzled though, is that earlier in the piece, you say ‘ . . . my emotions and thoughts, including judgements, are my tools to create reality . . .’

    How is it then, that this ‘reality’, which you say is derived from thought, can be taken as relative? It is either ‘real’ or it is not – right? A ‘relative reality’ seems a contradiction in terms.

    Perhaps I’m slipping up on a semantic banana skin, splitting hairs, or simply have not read as carefully as your words deserve – in which case I apologise.

    With gratitude and respect, Hariod Brawn.

    1. Thank you for the comment and question. This is an area I’m doing a lot of work on myself.

      I think you have the question that I’m working on resolving for myself. I agree the dilemma of the human experience is as Ghandi says, “It is not given to man to know the whole Truth.” So I cannot know “truth/reality” all I can know is a filtered or relative truth/reality. It is relative to my current understanding.

      But as I think you are onto the right question. How can my relative perspective and interpretation be right. As the quot from Ghandi says and I believe, it cannot. However, during our time on earth we are here to explore and experience. So even as we seek understanding, enlightenment and truth we are still living. This is what I believe Ghandi meant by: “Therefore, we can only follow the truth as we see it. Such pursuit of truth cannot lead anyone astray.”

      Thus I find that i can both have my truth/reality which is my current truth/reality and know that it is not the truth/reality.

      So my reality may not be the reality but its the best thing I got going.

      Note I believe that at the time of the end of our lives we will of course reach an understanding of truth as the veil of this world is lifted. So I’m beginning to understand, this life is not about getting to truth as that is inevitable, it is about living this life in duality and discovering who I am. This is covered a lot in the book Conversations with God.

      Thanks again and I’m glad to have the question. 🙂

  3. Thank you for your response Dave, I appreciate you taking the time and effort to provide clarification; truly.

    It seems much of this is tied up in notions of ‘reality’ and ‘truth’, which concepts themselves we hope to fathom or realise in experience or via the intellect; or, as you postulate, which come to us in their fullness of expression at the end of our lives.

    As I see it, notions of an absolute ‘truth’ or absolute ‘reality’ are leaps we take in projective thought. They fit both our desire to persist and to have purpose in an entelechy-like vision in which meaning is finally fulfilled and we become fully realized. It is of course not for me to claim the rightness or wrongness of such a position, and I’m not so arrogant as to do so.

    What we can do though, is to unpack experience to see what’s inhibiting any putative truth/reality, or to test whether what we assume to be those things in fact holds water. To this extent, I see the way forward as a ‘via negativa’; you know ‘neti, neti’, or ‘not this, not this’ – a rigorous contemplative attitude that is devoid of assumption and projection and stares directly into phenomena asking of each ‘is it so?’.

    It’s great to have a little exchange here with you Dave, and I do so in humility and with respect for your purpose and wisdom. I look forward to reading more of your thoughts as you see fit to post – glad to have discovered your blog!

    My very best wishes, Hariod Brawn.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s