Ruminating On Rumi

As you start to walk out on the way, the way appears.

~ M. Rumi

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Thinks and Beliefs

The bumper sticker reads,  "Don’t believe everything your mind thinks." Well it got me to pondering.  I thought the reverse is just as important if not more so.  Don’t think everything your mind believes.  Then I thought about how I could put this belief into words.  Thinking  about beliefs morphs into talking passionately about beliefs which as we well know can make one sound rather pompously self-righteous.  There may even be a tendency for the holier-then-thou to talk the talk but not walk the walk. 
Fervent, sanctimonious beliefs may result in giving “should” advise to others.  Most people don’t like to be should on.  And of course, as soon as beliefs are made known we may also realize that those beliefs aren’t actually true all of the time or may only be relevant occasionally. 
So you might well ask, what’s wrong with having beliefs or values? The answer to that is nothing. I believe (ah ha gotcha) that a belief is valuable when you live it. The usefulness of a belief is in knowing when to stick to it or simply realizing that to stop a belief from becoming a dogma we must be flexible.  There is no  one-size-fits all response for each and every happening in life.  Let me retract that. The only one-size-fits all response is “I don’t know.” 
We may have the basics of how to behave appropriately. (In Zen Buddhism, we call it skillful means.) As no-thing in life is static, fixed or permanent how we respond to anything deeply depends on what is required in the moment.  

There is no training in the world that can equip you with the answer or answers to everything. Douglas Adams author of “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” took a stab at it when he wrote. ”The answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything is 42.”

As far as I’m concerned that answer is as good as it gets.


So it goes.