Too True To…

I’m fascinated by the concept of truth.  On the surface it’s pretty black and white.  But  I know there are things that I once knew to be true that have stood aside in favor of something else.  They’re not “false” – I just know something different now.  It brings to mind a Tibetan saying, “My life is the instrument used to experiment with the truth.”

At first, the idea of individual truth seemed too vast and religious —  as heavy as a Commandment or the Golden Rule. At that scale I couldn’t find a starting line to help get my mental arms around the concept of ‘my truths.’

Bruce Lee’s book, Tao of Jeet Kune Do helped part the clouds a bit.

“…to seek the truth you have to consciously want to know the truth and look for it. Seek the reality of combat for yourself. Don’t rely on what your instructor, past masters or other martial artists tell you is the truth. Do your own homework. You won’t learn by copying your neighbor’s homework.”

While Lee’s writing is specific to martial arts it seems relevant to other facets of our lives.  But how does one examine a life?

The usual suspects came to mind: quiet, meditation, jogging, and aikido topped the list. But I don’t think they’re going to tell me why I attempt to deny misery and death.  I know it’s “the American way” but I think I’m looking for a way develop some sort of personal wisdom using the world around me. Perhaps even consciously thinking about what’s makes up an optimal life?

Early yogis used their minds and bodies as learning laboratories for experiments in living. In   The Wisdom of Yogi: A Seekers Guide to Extraordinary Living, Stephen Copes’ yogis and their insights captured my attention.   A favorite:

“The ordinary reality in which most humans live is merely an elaborate construction based on subtle but important errors in perception.”

He went on to call the misperceptions “fetters” or ”learning disabilities which make it impossible to bring to fruition the deepest capabilities of the body, mind and heart.”

The yogis provided hope.  They said that at the subtlest level our mind is called “illuminated mind” and follows different rules than our day-to-day mind.  Furthermore, once freed from the fetters, we can learn to be guided toward an “awakened mind” described as one that makes choices to create happiness “for ourselves, others, and the world.”

Lee suggests: ‘Perception is everything—in life and in the martial arts. Make your perceptions as total in nature as you can. Gather as many facts as possible on the subject or situation before forming a perception”.

So I can either continue to lead an unexamined life with various degrees of inaccurate perceptions or I can consciously do the work required aimed at a more awakened mind. Isn’t that choice what’s referred to as a ‘no brainer’?


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