To study the world is to study ourselves. When we begin to sincerely study ourselves, what we usually discover is that this involves a challenging process of working with our embedded viewpoints. Indeed, the closer we look in the mirror, the more we must acknowledge that most of our viewpoints, attitudes, opinions, assumptions, interpretations on perceptions, and general sense about things have remained largely uninspected. It’s usually easier to “just go along” with what we’ve been told by our parents, teachers, and clergy, and later by our bosses, politicians, and main stream media.
As a rule, we have been well-conditioned to accept the consensus program and description of reality, and short of some life crisis, are rarely motivated to question the “party line”. In fact, it’s a bit scary to do so, because we are typically herd animals, and so questioning the common view of things threatens our basic sense of security.
It is not uncommon to hear folks complain that they wish they had never peered behind the curtain, because now they can’t go back to the old safe and secure view they enjoyed prior, and hence the well-worn phrase, “Ignorance is bliss.”
At a certain point, we may come to recognize that no viewpoint arising in the human mind is ultimate or lasting, and that there is no final truth that we can grasp as an object of consciousness. Rather, we may come to discover that this whole realm is an utterly subjective experience.
As we explore even deeper, we may come to learn that we are not really here to become “enlightened” knowers of it, or judges of it, but more to be participants or co-creators of its evolution, in order that consciousness itself can become more self-aware.
We certainly can and do know about all sorts of stuff, but we do not really know what any single thing is –what it is. Consequently, whether we like it or not, and despite any comforting lies we might tell ourselves, we do live in a state of total insecurity — the Unknown.
How we respond to living in the Unknown, and all that implies, says everything about us. Will we cower or will we shine, will we love or will we fear? Will we cling to the safety of what we thought we knew, or throw ourselves completely into the vastness of our unbound, infinite nature, without trying to grasp or avoid, without trying to claim ground or establish some provisional self-image in need of protection and defense?
With some careful investigation, one thing we can observe is that, the more we get trapped in fixated views, the more we squeeze off the life force, crimping the flow, and so prevent true spontaneity.
In terms of consciously assessing differing angles of vision, we can simply recognize that our own is just a temporary viewpoint — that it is not who we are, that this viewpoint has arisen in this particular circumstance through an interdependent series of causes, and though we may have some resonance with it, it’s not the absolute truth. It’s just a viewpoint.
We need not be drawn into emotional reactivity based on our conceptual investments, but can stand apart and see them for what they are – passing waves of non-binding thought energy that merely serve to modify consciousness.
We can then understand that any position is just a position in mind — a viewpoint that comes from a play of causes and conditions — and so train ourselves in our daily lives to recognize our viewpoints for what they are.
Such capacity, once stabilized, can make a tremendous difference in how we live. When we don’t try to protect or justify our viewpoints, a palpable freedom and spaciousness opens before us, along with the real possibility for tolerance, peace, and happiness to manifest in our lives and relationships.
“The most fatal illusion is the settled point of view. Since life is growth and motion, a fixed point of view kills anybody who has one.”