Present Tense

Are you awake?

I am awake. I am open. I am exhilarated. Something is happening to me, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and philosophically.  It’s been a process and a journey that I began several years ago and the path has led me to a more open and empathetic place and all of a sudden, this week, something clicked.

I think this week’s epiphany was helped when I recently rekindled my meditation practice, after taking a year off.  I decided that for Lent (I’m not Christian, by the way) while many were giving things up, I would add something back into my life that I missed.  I had been meditating quite regularly for a year or so in hopes of finding a place inside, where I wouldn’t need alcohol to cope.  I was on an intense inner search to calm whatever demons were controlling my (bad) behavior.  At some point, I let the daily meditations lapse as other strategies took over.

I’ve felt as if I’m on the verge of an awakening of sorts for sometime now.  I could sense that something was stirring in me and I encouraged it. I have been reading and thinking outside of my comfort zone for quite some time now, realizing that I didn’t know what I thought I knew.  I thought that my political philosophy was settled; that I was right and firm in my beliefs.  I was wrong.  They are not settled; my beliefs have shifted, because my viewpoint has shifted and opened because I stopped filtering everything through my own calcified assumptions.

I stopped reading and consuming only things that reinforced my long-held opinions; I started to actually see what was in front of me, rather than to believe the spin and interpretations of those who want to influence and manipulate me.  Belief and facts are two entirely different perspectives; sort of like faith and truth.

The thing is, when you look at life and events and news and culture and health and nutrition and wellness through the prism of your own biased filter and the extremely powerful, ‘conventional wisdom’, you miss a lot.  You may be comfortable and settled and even arrogant, but there’s a pretty good chance that you’re not completely right.  You might even be ignorant of another point of view, thanks to your strident ‘rightness’ and that’s a shame.  That was me…for a long time.

I’ve written about my inability to understand those who appear to blindly follow religious dogma; everything is black and white and they know that their faith and beliefs are correct, no matter what.  The same thing happens with political and cultural dogma; we believe what reinforces our philosophy, regardless of the facts in front of us.   The Buddhists teach that you can only believe what you know, what you’ve seen, what is true.  Faith may seem to answer all questions, but it’s foggy because well…it’s faith, rather than true reality.

When you let go of the dogmas or philosophies that you TRUST to be truth and really look at the other side of an issue, you might find as I have, that you were worshiping a false god.  NOTHING is settled.  NOTHING is absolute truth.  NOTHING is the right way.  Life is too complex, humans are too complex, the relationship between humans/nature/the cosmos is too complex to think that your viewpoint is right and settled.  The minute that you realize that, you will have a moment of clarity that can shift your entire consciousness. Do I sound like a crazy-assed, new-age, flower-child, zen-wielding,  mind-blowing, wild-eyed hippie, love child?  Excellent….follow me……

Explore a new religion or spiritual practice, read about holistic health, root around in the other side’s political viewpoints, learn about what you’re eating/not eating and how you can be healthier.  Don’t settle for thinking you know what you know.  The world is a big place, full of lots of ideas and lots of people who WANT you to think/behave/consume a certain way.  Don’t go on blind faith.  Don’t just ‘trust’. Rage against the machine.  Take charge and embrace new ideas.  Go against conventional wisdom.  Demand truth and accountability.  There…so much for the laid-back hippie, eh?

March 4, 2012 - Posted by | Musings | , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Love it, Jane!

    Comment by mjsimmons | March 4, 2012 | Reply

  2. I agree with your post Jane. André Gide said: “One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.” As the child of missionaries, moving around physically was never an issue. But “moving around” spiritually is another matter altogether.

    Comment by patsyayite | March 4, 2012 | Reply

  3. Wow…you made my day!

    Comment by Marcia Bischof | March 4, 2012 | Reply

  4. Yeah ….

    Comment by Mike | March 4, 2012 | Reply

  5. I couldn’t have said it better myself right on.

    Comment by Julie | March 4, 2012 | Reply

  6. Hi Jane,

    I find myself in a similar place right now. I found Buddhism more than 15 ago. Sat and practiced daily for more than 10 years. Then for reasons I olny partially understand, my sitting practice just fell apart. But recently I started to feel this pull that it was time to return to the map. The final funny straw was one afternoon as i was driving and i saw the pickup truck with a bumper sticker “Dharma is as Dharma does”. As I was comtemplating that and thinking it was a little redundant, what comes on the radio but Steely Dan’s Boddhisattva! I just had to laugh. A the next day pulled

    Comment by Bruce Krumlauf | March 4, 2012 | Reply

    • Sorry, hit the send botton accidentially. Anyhow, the next day pulled out my mat and have been sitting regularly since. Your Lent resolution helped strengthen my own resolve. So thanks for that.

      Comment by Bruce krunlauf | March 4, 2012 | Reply

  7. Ahhhhh…..the crux? – “Take charge and embrace new ideas. Go against conventional wisdom. Demand truth and accountability. ” – your words! Three very powerful statements!

    “Demand truth and accountability” is the MOST powerful! Embrace the new ideas that pass that test; and re-embrace old ideas that have met the truth and accountability test. Also the same test applies to “conventional wisdom” – if it passes – is it wise to go against that conventional wisdom?

    Enjoy the solitude and calm of meditation!

    The journey continues…

    Comment by Big Sis | March 4, 2012 | Reply

  8. Best post yet. Well said.

    Comment by Katie | March 5, 2012 | Reply

  9. How does it get any better than this? Young Jane, you continue to astound me. Thanks for the uplifting words of wisdom and, more importantly, support! Brilliant.

    Comment by Margie Jennings | March 6, 2012 | Reply

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