Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Thinking and Spirituality.


Does it not seem slightly odd that we were never really taught how to think? We went to school, learned a bunch of stuff we can't remember, who's data base is suspect, and taught by a lot of people who were not invested in teaching us how to think but worried about how much we could memorize and spew back. (My apologies to the teachers who really do care then and now. Lets face it you are in the minority no matter what everyone else says.)

Thinking and processing concepts are perhaps the most important things a human can do. They really put us in a different category than everything else on the planet.

So how do we think about how we think?

If you use "critical thinking" as a search engine on your computer or at the library and bookstore I think you will be surprised at the amount of information there is on the subject.

The very first thing you might encounter will be the importance of realizing how ignorant you are about thinking. It is unfortunately a painful but necessary part of the growing process. The next subject may be the necessity for us to become proactive and "practice" our critical thinking skills.


Until they become part of us.

Why? you may ask, I am already a "critical thinker."

If you consider yourself such, without any training, then ask yourself what key standards you use as a critical thinker? And perhaps more importantly do I have intellectual humility? Do I have an understanding of the limits of my own knowledge?

In spiritual growth the easiest thing in the world is simply to follow.

We follow the teacher, we follow what's written, we follow the examples that others project, we follow the teachings that have been handed down over days, weeks, months and years. Unfortunately most of this "following" is done mindlessly. We follow to be the "good" practitioner with little sense of using our own intellect to assess what we are told or taught.

Case in point.

An  "Eastern" path, one of the ones I follow, had been in existence for over 2600 years. There are different "schools", paths, teachers, forms, rules, and regulations. The truth is that 2600 years later nothing has significantly changed in the course of mankind. Most of the time effort and energy is spent in trying to "prove" different historical viewpoints or worse just following a set of rules that are suppose to lead to some attitudinal change and awareness. No one I know has ever achieved any of this including the "teachers" on the "path."

So why follow it? I love it. I don't have to believe in everything I am told. I love meditating. I love the work involved in tearing down my conditioning and seeing the points of reference others have from their perspective

Can you tell that some people will defend their journey without actually "seeing" what they are defending?

My encouragement is to think about your path in the most critical sense you can bring to it. Learn about critical thinking and how that applies to what you are attempting to accomplish in your journey. You don't have to challenge or justify your decisions to anyone but yourself. Avoid being caught up in the social pyramid of leaders, gurus, and spiritual authorities. You, out of everyone, know yourself.

And I think that's awesome!!!!

In Loving Kindness