“We love to see ourselves idealized in the minds of others. That is one of the beautiful joys of love. We become fresh, innocent, brave, strong in the mind of the beloved… After a while the lover begins to substitute what he really is in his own mind, with what he is in the mind of the other… that others assume us to be good is a great incentive to goodness. That is why too, one of the basic principles of life ought to be to assume goodness in others; thus we make them good.”
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!
We make much of the bodily aspect and it may even seem to us that the spirit is less real than the physical, so a “real” encounter comes to equal a physical one. Yet, only the spiritual component of each encounter is real. Without spiritual consciousness, a physical encounter is unconvincing and with spiritual consciousness the physical encounter may not be required. The external is, at best, an attractive adornment to a real meeting. Our ability to tie an encounter to a certain incarnate body is incidental. It is the energy component of any meeting that is essential.
And what of the bodies of the books and talks? Everywhere the mediators of great thoughts show both grandeur and flaws—the best are like magnificent stained glass windows, but with occasional cracks, splotches of dust, or missing pieces. One must find enough greatness of spirit to love the grandeur while not remaining blind to the flaws.
I do not see total validity or total authenticity in any book or person. I see that spirit pertains to the essence of things, to the rainbow of spirituality that is the foundation of the universe. But all verbal formulas provide a picture that is “through a glass darkly.” The texts we have, like our personalities, are never entirely satisfactory.
There are limits to be considered in every verbal formulation as well as in those of us who draw on the formulas. The value of a good teachings is it’s merit as general guideline and stimulus to thought and reflection. In the details and specifics, and their application to any time and space, there is often much ambiguity and vagueness. So, in a sense, we are still on our own—otherwise put—the intent of a great teaching is not to turn people into “wind up toys.” Teachings are not the truth, but a catalyst to aid us in our approach to the truth.
People notice thoughts and emotions within themselves. Is this simple division an adequate description of what transpires in consciousness? Often not, but this binary tends to guide and define the inner life and common discourse about it. We may speak of thoughts or feelings for which we do not yet have appropriate words, but are “feelings” and “thoughts” adequate terms for the full kaleidoscope of inner experience? And who was it that first defined or limited consciousness to the somewhat trivial sounding binary of thought and emotion?
Clear water flashes silver in the sun. So lifted are all feelings in the soul’s light.