Last week on twitter, I had a quick exchange with Deepak Chopra:
“Consciousness cannot be created but because of it there is creation.”
“If we cannot “create” consciousness, then what DO we do? Awaken it? Liberate it? Reveal it?”
Then, someone else who I’d never spoken to chimed in with:
“You just are “IT”! The height of stupidity is to search for the donkey you’re riding on.”
It was an interesting comment on two levels.
One, the spiritual path most often associated with the exploration of consciousness is Buddhism. Unlike nearly every Western tradition that teaches blind faith in the existence of the Divine, Buddhism says “kick the tires.” It says this is the best knowledge we have today, based on the teachings. Try them on, test them out, question them. And, if they can be improved or enhanced in some way, have at it. Because we’ll all benefit in the end.
The Dalai Lama himself, who is the spiritual figurehead for Tibetan Buddhism, is fascinated by science and has actively sought a relationship with scientists to explore the relationship between consciousness and science. To explore a scientific basis for “the donkey you’re riding on.” Some of the most interesting dialogues I’ve heard have been between women and men of different faiths, spiritual traditions and philosophical persuasions talking about, contrasting and at times debating where their teachings and beliefs came from and how they jive or conflict.
So, I guess, according to our friend on twitter, all these people are behaving in a way that is the “height of stupidity” because they are actively engaged in testing the boundaries, framework and foundation that birthed their the ideas of consciousness and faith.
Well, if that’s the height of stupidity, count me stupid!
But, there’s something else that bugged me about the comment. I’ve noticed a growing trend for certain people who’ve practiced a particular spiritual tradition for a period of time to have little or no tolerance for those who show up and question why they do what they do. As if they were too good, too anointed, too enlightened or exalted to have to suffer the annoyance of inquiry. They are quick to pass judgment on those who do not instantly buy into the validity of a set of teachings as self-evident.
The arrogance of that mindset bothers me.
There’s a saying in Buddhism, “before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.” It essentially says those who’ve attained the deepest understanding of the teachings and the most profound state of liberation still walk the Earth, still blow their noses and brush their teeth and still have not earned the right to pass judgment.
One of the surest signs that anyone of any tradition that values compassion, kindness, respect and knowledge has not “gotten” the deeper jist of the tradition is that they seek to elevate themselves, show no tolerance and judge.
Last I checked, those weren’t Holy virtues.
Don’t be that person.
Curiosity is a good thing. Even curiosity about the basis of blind faith.
Kick the tires. Question authority. Judge not.
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