Mindfulness is one of the great mysteries of human life. It is our capacity to be aware of being aware.
Observing Our Mind
There is a huge change in the life of someone who begins to practice mindfulness. With just a bit of practice, we notice how out of control the mind really is. We begin to be able to observe thoughts, feelings and emotions as experiences that we are having rather than identifying with them.
Seeing Thoughts & Emotions
To see thoughts and emotions like anger, sadness, fear and worry as objective phenomena rather than as oneself is radically liberating.
Acceptance is a key part of the restful mind. When we are able to accept things that we can’t change, we no longer waste mental energy or anguish and instead focus on the things we do have some control over.
Thoughts Create Our World
By always remembering that it is with our thoughts that we create our world, we realize that we do have choices in life, even in the most difficult times.
We can better appreciate how beliefs conflict with each other if we understand how they form in the first place. In recognizing that beliefs coexist in pairs the Chinese sages also realized that this is how beliefs initially form.
How Beliefs Co-emerge
Beliefs arise in contradictory pairs. Two opposite beliefs co-emerge and at first the two opposite beliefs coexist. Then in order to establish fixed positions and definite opinions about ourselves and the world, and to give things distinct and permanent characteristics, we push the two beliefs apart and suppress one belief from our awareness.
Disconnecting Opposite Beliefs
Everytime we assert or deny a particular belief, we simultaneously disconnect from the opposite belief. Our belief becomes solid and real for us to the extent that its opposite becomes transparent to us.
Ancient writers almost always wrote as apologists. Their purpose was to defend the integrity of a class or a people.
Homer’s Epic Poems Homer’s epic poems define and defend the cultural identity of the Greeks.
Virgil’s Aeneid Virgil’s Aeneid rooted Roman cultural identity in a fabled Greek past, an act that boasted of Roman self-esteem.
Plutarch’s Parallel Lives The historian Plutarch’s Parallel Lives matches Greek personalities with great Roman ones to show how, in a stretch of his imagination, great heroes hold similar characteristics – especially Greek and Roman heroes.
Biblical Deuteronomist The Biblical Deuteronomist is the writer who told the story of ancient Israel found in the books from Deuteronomy to 2 Kings. In this history, the writer portrays the Israelite kings Saul and David in all their tragic faults. The presentation is primarily a theological one rather than historical account that defines and shapes a specific interpretation of history. Many archeologists today hold that the Deuteronomist version of history is largely fiction.
Early Christian Writings Early Christian writings hold similar apologetic and fictional characteristics as the Deuteronomist writings. Though the Christian gospels contain some historical information, the writing is largely designed to defend Christianity. The gospels are not biographies. The writers are not really interested in who Jesus was, which means many questions simply cannot be answered.