Category Archives: language

Bags, Boxes, and People

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We think, in part, by using many labels, a necessary and useful process when done with care. These labels are rather like bags or boxes into which we neatly put our experiences, our reactions, our environment, and our fellow humans. But often our labeled-boxes mislead us because the specific people in time and space (what they actually do, value, and represent) may not correspond well to the label. So the generalizations arrayed in our minds, under associated labels, can mislead. Ironically, our mental boxes can box-us-in psychologically. When our quick firm categories lack thoughtfulness, they act as blinders. Then, it’s as if the boxes are not just in our minds but around our heads!

Image by Mendhak (modified)

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Paradox

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Quotations

“There are trivial truths and the great truths. The opposite of a trivial truth is plainly false. The opposite of a great truth is also true.”

— Niels Bohr

“It is a platitude as well as an occult paradox to say that in the midst of profound personality distress and unhappiness, the joy of the soul may be known and felt.”

A Treatise on White Magic, Alice Bailey

“…it is necessary primarily to preserve the personality but be freed of egotism. To many, such an antithesis will seem absurd; for them, egotism is personality. The manifestation of a powerful personality devoted to the General Good is beyond the imagination of many, but without personality thinking would not have potency.”

— Helena Roerich

 

Paraphrased paradoxes

We have all the time in the world, but there is no time to loose.

One must achieve detachment. But detachment is separation, and one must achieve unification that is the ultimate “attachment.”

We are to be oriented to the soul that takes us away from the world. At the same time we are to be oriented to humanity that involves us in the world.

The individual is of supreme importance, and at the same time not important at all because it is the larger whole that is important.

Death is the result of a living process.

All metaphysical teachings are full of abstract concepts, yet it is said that nothing abstract is of any use. What’s the use of anything abstract? Abstract floats lonely in the upper regions of the cosmic undefined.

Someone speaks about the concept of truth within and the need to turn within. Notice the paradox between this and the concept of unity. Since unity exists, turning within can also be turning without. Since unity exists, looking without is in one sense looking within. So it appears, that in broadening of consciousness, the distinction between inner and outer melts away.

Contradictions may be considered as different aspects of the same manifestation. But if one, then there is no contradiction.

 

More Quotations

“Nothing is farther than earth from heaven; nothing is nearer than heaven to earth.”

— Hare & Charles

“All high truth is the union of two contradictions.”

— Robertson

“The Fanatic Is The Man Who Cannot Understand A Paradox. Most fanatics, cranks, and madmen, are those who are unable to understand a paradox. Every truth has its opposite, which is also true. Sanity consist in understanding this; insanity in failing to see it.

Workable, every day truth is made up of two or more contradictions. The true doctrine is always the balance. For instance, the truth lies not in fate (determinism, predestination) nor in free will, but in both. Man is not a spirit, nor a brute; he is both. Whoever excludes wholly the one or the other from his idea of man is not so much untrue as he is crazy.”

— Frank Crane

Words seem to spring from classifications and division, yet the paradox is that every word may become catalyst. So, ultimately, words bridge the gaps between divisions, yielding sparks of amazing cognition.

Multiple-choice Meditative Semantics

Faith is

  • a. an emotional tendency to lean on nothing, believing it to be something.
  • b. verification by the heart
  • c. wishful thinking used to cover a multitude of sins
  • d. knowledge that is half in shadow and half in light
  • e. the passion of fools and persecutors
  • f. the bird that sings while the dawn is still dark
  • g. all of the above
  • h. none of the above
  • i. all of the above and none of the above

Loss of face is

  • a. social dishonor
  • b. a misnomer for loss of mask
  • c. gain of heart

When I speak of love, I’m usually referring to:

  • a. Dependency
  • b Idolization
  • c. Sentimentality
  • d. Friendship
  • e. Wisdom of the soul
  • f. Physical attraction
  • g. The worship of the divine through human
  • h The desire to love
  • i. The desire to be loved
  • j. Finding the right object of love
  • k. A relationship to a specific person
  • l. Selfless giving
  • m. Over protectiveness
  • n Consciousness of God
  • o Economics
  • p. Other

Most spiritual guidance is

  • a. from one’s own mind
  • b. personal delusions from one’s own mind
  • c. subconscious wish-life
  • d. aspirations from previous lives
  • e. communication from ordinary discarnate people
  • f. unconscious telepathic eavesdropping
  • g. misappropriation of thoughts floating in space
  • h. from one’s own soul
  • i. from a great spiritual teacher
  • j. tricky combinations of a few the above

Forgiveness is a sign of imperfect tolerance. True/false

Most meditation is selfish and is so not meditation at all. True/false

All people who have only two eyes and two years are blind and deaf. True/false

All true/false and multiple-choice questions are misleading oversimplifications. True/False

The Deep Significance of Definitions as Arrows

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Often people imagine that a definition relates words to the world. But actually, a definition only relates words to other words—it is we who must, based on our experience, relate the words to the world. Definition is the substitution of words for other words, but it is experience that lets us to link words to the world. This is why experiences in common are the basis of communication, and why expanded consciousness is so vital to harmony and understanding.

A definition is only helpful when the words used link to our personal knowledge and experience. If we have an experience that relates to a word, then that word becomes like an arrow pointing to the experience. Where we have only the word, and lack a corresponding experience, that word remains like an arrow pointing to a question mark. We can, of course, also have in our minds a word-arrow that points to the wrong part of the world. What makes it “wrong?” It’s wrong because we are alone in our definition, so the mistaken word-arrow is useless and misleading as a means of communicating with others.

The practical value of reflecting on this is that it helps us understand something of what happens when we try and fail to communicate. And it also helps us think more clearly, because in so far as we use words when thinking, we can better understand what it is we are doing.

 

“A SONG of the rolling earth, and of words according,
Were you thinking that those were the words, those upright lines? Those curves, angles, dots?
No, those are not the words, the substantial words are in the ground and sea, They are in the air, they are in you.”

Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman

 

Some illumination exists in understanding when we have got hold of the words, but not that which the words point to. Our psychological condition in this respect is not always as clear and obvious as one might at first think. If it were, mutual understanding would be a far more widespread than it currently is.

The key is to be free of imprisonment in our own vocabularies.  

“Each man wrappeth his thought within his own egotism and calleth the brat a new name.”

The Case of Patience Worth, Prince, Walter Franklin