What is the “high road”

HIGH refers to lofty, elevated, aspirational, “evolved,” cultured, mature, and Godly.

The “high road” is a path one chooses to take in a moment of conflict or challenge to one’s ego. It’s choosing the path that is elevated, aspirational, spiritual, and civil, rather than choosing effortless baseness.

The “high road” takes effort. It has an objective that is greater than feeding ego or satisfying primitive urges. That objective is to be better than base because, on the higher plane, you are closer to the Divine.

The high road manifests in a number of ways:

  • Not knee-jerk or impulsive reaction, but rather thoughtful and empathetic.
  • Avoiding conflict and hurtful, vindictive interactions and confrontations. It is mindful of consequences to one’s reputation and that of those one represents.
  • Knowing when a battle shouldn’t be a battle and knowing when a situation is worth fighting for. Not battling for winning’s sake.
  • Not expecting someone to “treat you right” before you demonstrate more considerate and civil behavior.
  • Recognizing when your opinion or position may not be the only one or even the right one. As humans, we rarely have a clear picture of all the variables in play.
  • Understanding when standing your ground has more merit than just preserving ego.
  • Learning the difference between petty conflict and constructive tension. Differences of opinion expand opportunities for judging justly.
  • Respecting your own feelings without letting emotion get in the way of mindfulness. Not using what you feel as fact that has any bearing on anyone else’s truth.
  • Not belittling or denigrating people to make them lower or degraded, but rather considering their perspectives and contributions. Looking for the positive, rather than generating the negative.

Base name-calling and other low-brow actions are “base” and “low” because they are not what adults aspire to attain. For the spiritual, it is reveling in the primitive mundane.

Kindness trumps vindictiveness; forgiveness trumps holding on to poisonous grudges; broader thinking trumps narrow impulses.

Wikileaks & “truth”

wikileaks-and-truth“Give us the truth” > Truth is like the concept of Relevance: knowing that something is or isn’t is only relevant to judgments we’re trying to make; and something only appears relevant relative to the validation we’re looking for.

What “truth” — some relevant fact that supports some conclusion — are the leaks providing? That she seems to be saying one thing to one audience and something else to another audience? That’s knowing your audience.

That what she says to one seems to contradict what she says to the other? There’s a problem, because we don’t know where she really stands.

So we add other “truths” — she takes big bucks to say encouraging things to the other audience. Does taking big bucks imply that she’s telling the truth to that audience (and that, therefore, she’s not telling us “truth”) or that there’s more “truth” to that perspective than to the other perspective for us? That’s fallacy.

Then there is our tendency to see (or want to see) black or white. Is what she’s saying to each audience that appears in conflict mean that there’s nothing in between? Or maybe the apparent conflict means we prefer to see everything align perfectly, as though there aren’t legitimate perspectives on the same object depending on where you’re standing?

People on one side of the planet aren’t going to see the Full Moon that you’re seeing in your part of the world — that is, your perspective. But it’s the same moon.

This last point is the problem with the masses in general: The attitude that there can’t be different angles of the same truth and both be true. It’s too much work to triangulate on the truth, so it has to be simple with no apparent conflicts — and we thus blind ourselves to seeing how the actions she takes to treat each perspective can fulfill promises of both.

I think black/white concepts is reductive. I think that there are nuances to everything, and that when I watch adults deal with children, I see this differentiation of perspective without exception.

Farewell Ernie

ernieThe wind left my body down to the cell, and my soul froze to solid, seizing my being until waves of saltwater brought me back ’round to pain essence deep.

In the vibrant greens around me, I see only gray hue. In the blueness of the sky, I feel small. The immensitude of things around me feels emptier, with less substance than before. Or maybe they have just become “things,” for their soul has left.

I feel barely encapsulated within my skin that even the faintest thought of you rends.  Then I think of Rich, and I imagine my sorrow multiplied by his years together with Ernie and the time remaining of his life — what must he feel.  Deeper, vaster, most complete.

If it weren’t for the depth of blessing in loving, I would wish it away. If it weren’t for the color it brings, I would turn it off. I see the future, and it has super-nova pain in it…and it has opportunities for concentrated blessing. Might as well make the future an atomic event and hope for vaporization.

Farewell Ernie. My sincerest wish is that the relief you sought is worth having traded in life & love for it.

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Le vent a quitté chaque cellule de mon corps, et mon âme s’est pétrifiée, saisissant mon être jusqu’à ce que des vagues d’eau salée me ramènent aux douleurs profondes de mon essence même.

Dans la verdure vibrante qui m’entoure, je ne vois que du gris. Dans le bleu du ciel, je me sens minuscule. L’immensité des choses autour de moi me semble quelconque, dégageant moins de substance qu’auparavant. Ou peut-être sont-elles devenues des «choses» inanimées, car leur âmes les ont quittées.

Je me sens si peu reliée à ma peau que la moindre pensée de toi la déchire. Puis je pense à Rich. Si ma peine est immense, la sienne doit être encore plus grande, le temps passé ensemble ne faisant que la multiplier, plus profondément, de manière plus vaste, plus complète.

Si ce n’était pas pour la profondeur de la bénédiction de ton amour je l’aurai survolée. Si ce n’était pas pour toutes les couleurs que tu m’as apporté, j’aurai tout oublié. Je vois un futur de désespoir mais avec des opportunités de bénédictions concentrées. Il se pourrait que ce futur soit un évènement de grande ampleur avec l’espoir d’oublier cette peine.

Adieu Ernie. Mon souhait le plus sincère est que ce soulagement recherché vaille la peine d’être échangé par ta vie et ton amour de celle-ci.

(Translated by Tomfried)

‘Phobia’ in Homophobia obscures simple hate

Playing devil’s advocate: “but I don’t ‘fear’ homosexuals”.

I would reply: what are the different words for “love” in the original Greek of the bible? One of them, agápɛ, was more of an attitude that translated to intentional actions that promoted unconditional well-being. “Love thy neighbor as thyself.”

But that’s not what they’re practicing. It’s quite the opposite: agápɛ ≠ mísia. They can say “love the sinner; hate the sin” all they want. But how that translates is deflection off the sin and onto the sinner. “Tough love” – for my “own good”? The ends justify the means?

I’m thinking that the primary command to “love thy neighbor” and “the greatest of these is love” was meant to show Grace – the very foundation for getting into Heaven – not “toe the line” to spare us sinless-righteous from countenancing your sinfulness and forcing us to live among it.

This is the “Christ” part of christianity. Without it, it’s christianism and its followers christianists. Anything you add to Love becomes a condition; if you condition Grace in anyway, it ceases to be Grace. The light is out.

So, if not agápɛ, then what? Mísia, as in homomisia, homophiliomisia and/or misohomophilia for the perspective and misohomophiliac or misohomo for the person exhibiting it.

I can see hate being how a deep fear is expressed. But I see actions born of fear more like reactions to create barriers. (For example, fear of being invaded would compel deliberate construction of defenses.) Premeditated actions and false-witness based on “tradition,” disapprobation and personal disgust, that’s hate. Seeing dragons in the windmills, that’s disease. Tilting at windmills, that’s a choice.

Let’s call it what it is: hate.

Racism compared to Anti-SameSex Marriage

CrookedTimber is one of my favorite blogs because of the depth and breadth of thought and discussion that occurs on nearly any topic imaginable.

Anyhoo, in the topic “Let’s bury – I say, let’s bury the hatchet, but not in anyone’s head, boy” (by John Holbo on April 19, 2014), the subject is: is anti-same-sex-marriage stances comparable to racism?

I appreciate John’s attempt to establish a starting point for behavioral, political, traditional, and psychological discussion of racism. He basically starts by saying racism is about hierarchical dominance and bigotry is about hate. Continue reading

Go Outside by Letting It In

I was talking to my soul brother and dear, dear friend the other day that the hardest thing about a spiritual path is the opposite of clutching and clinging: letting go, letting fall away, letting fear of losing one’s identity not matter, if only for 1 minute at a time.

Opening your hand in total relaxation is not the same type of effort as contracting your muscle to cling. Letting yourself ‘be’ amid the elements around you is not the same as struggling to manage all the elements around you to define your being. Being part of the harmony is not the same effort as trying to orchestrate it.

Really, the effort focuses on the continual choice to turn off the knee-jerk, fear-of-falling tendency to cling and grasp. Disconnecting the power to judgment is not the same as stifling judgment. Opening up is not the same as self-annihilation.

I ran across the following reflection on Contemplative Druidry entitled “Entering Silence.” I really liked it because it touches on finding the silence in being part of the stillness; being conscious of the spaces between without forcing meaning on the patterns that you might perceive.

The process is one of self-emptying, but not in a self-wounding spirit of renunciation, of holy war on ‘ego’, of pushing away the immature self-sense like an unwanted child.

Self-emptying is simply the will to let things come and go without grabbing on, making room for something else to be. Warmly spacious, it invites a more expansive way of being. We do not let go in order to get something better. The letting go is itself the something better, freeing us from our habitual self-protectiveness and contracted activities like taking, defending, hoarding, and clinging.

Our identity is a collection of dust we have encrusted onto our consciousnesses, dust to which we have ascribed value.  We’re so afraid of chipping off the crust for fear of “not being me any more.”  But the “me” is trapped into a single statue of form, where in reality, there can be a continuum of me’s.

Entering the silence is simply being amid a world of being.  Instead of self-annihilation or becoming one with Brahman, entering the silence highlights one’s being amid being.  Add to that the consciousness you can bring to the silence, and you have a type of unifying magic with you as a vital component — where the crust of identity does not matter.  Human judgments on the value of traits and behaviors and other externals do not matter: the silence proves it.

In silence we find our core.  When we take the next step of exploration in the silence, we find affinities, or harmonies, with what fills us with the most sense of life.  Instead of taking our egos for a walk outside, we let the outside inside — we open the walls to the Id to not just perceive the whole, but be part of the whole.

buddah and what meditation does

Meaning will take care of itself

Science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke:

A wise man once said that all human activity is a form of play. And the highest form of play is the search for Truth, Beauty and Love. What more is needed? Should there be a ‘meaning’ as well, that will be a bonus?

If we waste time looking for life’s meaning, we may have no time to live — or to play.

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First, I find a contradiction in “all human activity” not including “looking for life’s meaning.”  If I try to find implications in his juxtapositions, I might conclude that “to live” is “to play”, looking for life’s meaning is not-play (not living) as though the two are mutually exclusive activities by virtue of word choice.

I believe he’s saying that “looking for life’s meaning” is a meaningless extraction on its own, being done apart from searching for Truth, Beauty, and Love.  But he seems to have extracted searching for those things from searching for life’s meaning (why or how any of those three things matter) as though they aren’t a part of “life.”

To “search for” something to me implies that the object of the search is a target.  On one hand, the target can be defined, and you’re looking to find it.  On the other hand, the target is ethereal and you’re looking to establish its existence for some reason.  And “for some reason” implies some purpose or objective, which then implies meaning: what is Truth, Beauty, and Love such that they can be play; and why is searching for them worth expending playtime for?

For the sake of play?  That can’t be.  Too shallow.

Play is the quintessential example of “living in the moment” or the present. Living in the present does not mean living in ignorance of meaning beyond the present. It means being totally present in the now, with consciousness of interconnectedness and “meaning”…a meaning that forms awareness.  Without this, “play” is reduced to nothing more than a bubble of self-indulgence or enacted daydreams, whereas it could be about exploration of consciousness.  Play can be about the meaning of life and the magic that meaning makes possible.

Let’s focus on Beauty for the moment.

In Strong’s Systematic Theology, he argues that beauty, for it to be recognized, requires a recognizer — a being with the capacity to appreciate and enjoy aesthetics and masterfully applied design.  And that being has some relationship to the abstract of beauty, some chemistry that produces joy of beauty in its recognition. Continue reading