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meaning | ˈmēni ng |
noun
what is meant by a word, text, concept, or action
adjective
intended to communicate something that is not directly expressed

meaningful
| ˈmēni ng fəl |
adjective
having meaning
• having a serious, important, or useful quality or purpose


Monday, November 2, 2009

Finding Your Path

After this morning's yoga class, I had an engaging conversation with a couple of the other students about energy. One of them has started a zoning practice and she was explaining to me how the work helps her too, because in preparing to rid her clients of negative energy, she first forms an intention to build up lots of positive energy within herself.

I commented that, in general, I would have a tough time with that approach to healthcare as I fundamentally don't believe in the duality of positive and negative energy.

"What?" the other student chimed in. "You don't believe in negative energy?"

You would think I stood up in a church and proclaimed that Jesus Christ never existed (which, for the record, I would never say). "No," I responded. "I don't buy into the whole evil spirit possessing people theory of life in the Universe."

"Oh, well neither do I," she responded. "But how can the energy that causes an injury, for example, not be negative? It surely isn't positive."

"Au contraire," I replied. "You label it as negative and bad because it doesn't bring you pleasure and it hurts. But that doesn't necessarily mean that it is evil."

I could go on describing this dialogue and, in fact, it wasn't as if we were debating each other on the topic. My actual point is not to necessarily convince her (or you) that I'm right and she is wrong. And neither do I aim to change the world's acceptance of this duality. My point is that these are the underpinnings of our belief systems and we should explore them.

From the day you were born, you have lived in a society that expresses to you how things operate in the Universe. Chances are you grew up around largely like minded people and your upbringing brought with it a fair amount of their beliefs. I would challenge anyone that believes otherwise (presumably because they pride themselves in being an independent, free thinker) that they are deluding themselves. The truth of the matter is that we cannot help but be influenced by the beliefs of the community in which we live. This is not to say that we cannot step outside of these belief systems, but they are inherently part of our understanding of life.

Before you get all fired up about the duality of good and evil or how your community is influencing what you believe, consider the concept of truth in a very simplistic level. Without getting too deep, we're simply going to distinguish what is true from what is not true. Philosophy students, settle down. This isn't intended to invoke a model for finding the truth, but rather to open up our Minds to the truth.

On one side, there is the truth. And on the other, there is the absolute furthest point one could get from the truth. Graphically we can represent this as a gradient of color ranging from white to black:


In this example, we'll let white represent the truth and everything that isn't white to represent "not-true." As you can see, there are many representations of not-true and only one representation of true (pure white). However in our lives we live mostly within this grey area and rarely spend any time in absolute truth or absolute not-truth. We may spend a lot of time aspiring to live in the truth but the reality of our everyday lives is far from this.

In this, imagine if you needed a ride to the airport and you had two people to choose from. However, your flight isn't for a couple of hours and both myself and another driver have offered to run you around town for some last minute errands. Lucky for you, because this allows you to preview our driving skills and decide which person you trust to get you to the airport safe and sound.

In this example, you getting to the airport alive and in one piece is represented by white and every other outcome is represented as not-white (with presumably the option where you die in a car accident defined as black).

Your first test drive is with me and I demonstrate fairly normal and reliable driving habits. I drive on the correct side of the road, stop firmly at intersections and I'm extremely polite to other drivers. Heck, I even managed to get you to the store and back without texting on my phone.

And now the "other" driver. In comparison, this driver appears to be crazy. He drives on whatever side of the road suits him, obeys hardly any traffic laws and seems to gauge how fast to drive based on emotion rather than logic. Whereas I calmly offered other drivers the right of way in an intersection, he enters intersections boldly with his horn honking.

It is time for you to leave for your flight. Between here and the airport one of these two drivers will get you to your flight safely. Who do you choose?

Beyond choice ask yourself, "Which driver is the right driver to choose and which one is wrong?"

You've got a long flight ahead and you were looking forward to catching a little nap in the passenger seat in route to the airport. Have you made your choice yet?

Before you make up your mind, let me share one additional piece of information with you about where you're at right now. Instead of your home environment, you're in Bangalore India. Before you make your final choice, watch this video that my good friend Mark Charmer filmed in Chik Ballapur:



Suddenly my driving skills don't seem all that useful. In fact, my following the rules might actually get you killed (especially if we're driving one of those motorcycles). In fact, honking your way through an intersection might be the difference between life and death. Yet, despite the apparent chaos depicted in this video there is also a rhythm to the traffic. Our sense of order is completely displaced but within this culture the rules of the road are quite clear.

And thus we're back to the concept of positive and negative energy. I'm not advocating one belief over another, but instead asking that we peel back the layers of our belief systems to expose that which we never question. Our decisions of right, wrong, happy, sad, fun, horrific, etc. are all based on this fabric of belief that contains both concepts we've thought a lot about and a whole lot of "stuff" that we've never questioned. And because we logically analyze everything according to what we believe to be true, our acceptance of new thoughts is often so heavily influenced by these underpinnings of belief that we decide before we've every really considered.

So before you decide so quickly about such topics as divine, evil, reincarnation, negative energy, pathways to healing or anything else new, consider what logical framework you're operating within. Have you really given the new thought proper consideration or is your determination of truth overly influenced by what you've experienced by way of upbringing, cultural heritage and individual experience?

These are not heavy topics only to be considered by philosophers, theists and stuffy university professors. Your entire framework of how and why you operate in the world the way you do is based on these beliefs. You owe it to yourself to consider them fully before making snap judgments about what is true and what is not.

And, for the record, I wouldn't choose me to drive myself to the airport in Bangalore. I'd call at taxi.

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