Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sacred Life Sunday: Exchanging Beliefs... or Crossing Over

It's always bothered me that my spiritual beliefs are so fluid. They seem to change and evolve so rapidly that I can never find a group or community of like-minded people. Jane wrote humorously about this recently. By the time I find a place to belong, my beliefs have morphed into something that doesn't fit any longer. But one can't help what one believes, right? Today during my quiet time I read this wonderful story in "The Gospel According to Jesus: A New Translation and Guide to His Essential Teachings for Believers and Unbelievers" by Stephen Mitchell, the husband of Byron Katie. I think you'll like it.

The Buddha said, "A man walking along a highroad sees a great river, its near bank dangerous and frightening, its far bank safe. He collects sticks and foliage, makes a raft, paddles across the river, and reaches the other shore. Now suppose that, after he reaches the other shore, he takes the raft and puts it on his head and walks with it on his head wherever he goes. Would he be using the raft in an ppropriate way? No; a reasonable man will realize that the raft has been very useful to him in crossing the river and arriving safely on the other shore, but that once he has arrived, it is proper to leave the raft behind and walk on without it. This is using the raft appropriately.

In the same way, all truths should be used to cross over; they should not be held on to once you have arrived. You should let go of even the most profound insight or the most wholesome teaching; all the more so, unwholesome teachings."

~Photos by LoveHubbie Mark


Angela said...

Thank you for sharing that Olivia. I, too, find myself being so open-minded that I tend to resist sticking too close to any specific belief system - especially spiritual/religious. I love what you did with the Love Rocks! Happy New Year to you and Lovehubbie.

Olivia said...

You're welcome Angela, thank you for visiting and commenting. I guess I just SO want to fit in somewhere...I think I long for that community...but perhaps it is just an illusion.

I do too, the Love Rocks rock!

A happy new year to you, a wonderful 2009, Love, O

thailandchani said...

I know what you mean. I've wanted to "fit in", too, but have come to the conclusion that eclectic thinkers and people who are constantly exploring new ideas are not going to meet each other in the standard ways. We do find each other eventually... and create our own communities that are fluid enough to allow space for exploring new things. Does that make sense?


thailandchani said...

Oh, yes.. and compliments to Mark on the bee-oo-tee-ful pictures! :)


Rick Hamrick said...

O--I do so love analogies, and this is a powerful one. In fact, I have decided to remove the raft from my head this very day! [grin]

Another way to consider your perceived issue with a more-fluid belief system than most is to think of it as swimming. You happen to have really powerful flippers and can easily swim twice as fast as others.

So, you catch up to a group, come to see what they have as interesting, but you quickly pass them by and catch up to the next group in the river. Time to see what they believe!

It is not right or wrong of you to be faster, it is just a fact to be noted and accepted.

Olivia said...

Yes, Chani, it does indeed make sense. I think it is probably true. It is just so EASY when people gather together in the same place with a label. But facing reality requires acknowledging the truth!

I will certainly pass on your kind words to LoveHubbie Mark about his pictures!



Olivia said...

I know, Rick, me too (with the raft on my head!)

With this analogy---some people are happily treading water. Sometimes I envy them because they don't continue to change. Again, this seems so much easier. But that's not necessarily so. And it's not reality for me!

Peace tonight, and love,


patti said...

I am a spiritual eclectic also and the fact that you are too is one of the reasons why I enjoy connecting with you here in the blogosphere.

Here is a piece of wisdom I found from Thich Nhat Hanh;

"We must not be attached to a view or a doctrine, even a Buddhist one. . . . The Buddha said that if in a certain moment or place you adopt something as the absolute truth, and you attach to that, then you will no longer have any chance to reach the truth. Even when the truth comes and knocks on your door, and asks you to open the door, you won't recognize it. So you must not be too attached to dogma--to what you believe, and to what you perceive." [in an interview with Diane Wolkstein featured in Parabola)•

Olivia said...

Yes, very good, Patti. This resonates much more for me!

I used to be an apologist for various spiritual groups I was a member of: find the right dogma and ATTACH like a bloodhound and then DEFEND it vociferously!

What a refreshing shift this is!!

Thank you very much for your help here.