Is it fair? Am I getting what I paid for?
The image of scales shown above is the way shopkeepers once determined the weight of what was being sold. If the standard weight was on one side, then when a balance was achieved, the products on the other were the same weight. We still use the imagery in many ways today, even though electronic scales are more accurate.
The scales have also been used to understand spiritual practice, as humans have a tendency to weigh up on one side what we value, and on the other what we are delivering. This is the interpretation of experience by comparison.
Suffering is almost always our interpretation of experience, when we weigh up with our egoic self the issue of ‘is it fair‘ or more likely ‘do I deserve this pain?” Interpretation becomes accusation when we try to find blame for hurt, or arrogance when we define reward for success. The balancing scale then becomes “because“.
Here are some examples:
- I am unlovable, because my parents did not tell me I am, or worse still because they inferred or told me I was a failure.
- I am unworthy because I make mistakes and told that means I deserve punishment or rejection.
- I am stupid, or without meaning because I compare myself to others, or cannot see my own intense beauty of soul and spirit, or unique potential and gifts.
- I am a fraud, because I conclude that my successes are not due to me, or my loved ones do not value them.
- My body or mind is sick because I deserve punishment, or I have succumbed to addiction or depression.
Wisdom is the characteristic of having choice and applying it in the context of our heart wisdom. This requires being open to assessing moral or ethical positions, considering both sides. Without there being an alternative, there is no choice. Without the consideration of the higher self, there is no wisdom.
Inner wisdom, your spirit’s silent teacher, (Sometimes called heart or conscience) will lead you far more accurately on the journey to wisdom that any head/mind teaching. This does not diminish knowledge or the need to learn, it just means that both need to be considered, and to accept the reality that research now shows that most decisions are made at the heart level. Would you really weigh up and form a partnership with someone based on a list of attributes alone?
Good balancing requires both heart and mind to be put onto the same side of the scale, but recognizing that the weight will primarily be from the heart, the soul, not just be limited by our conscious processing.
Placing all the alternatives on the altar of silence is the wise act that connects us to the one-ness that is the origin of each of the stories of all life. This requires allowing the monkey chatter of the “This is right, and that is wrong” to be silenced in order to listen with the heart. Our brains have an amazing capability for self-justification. People don’t in general decide to enact genocide because they think they are wrong, it is because their mind justifies that they are right. Allowing the heart to dominate is always the first step to peace. That is what the golden rule is about.
Ken Wilbur, philosopher and writer, wrote about ‘spiral dynamics‘. This concept is that as we connect to our heart in making a decision, we can evolve to higher states of love and consciousness. Recent research has shown that the upward spiral, once each step is made with heart, is sustainable:
The longitudinal study was done about the touchy subject of abortion, though it could be about any issue of life and heart importance.
Three positions were considered by the people in the study:
- Abortion is always wrong because of the sacredness of life.
- Abortion is acceptable because of the potential harm to the mother or fetus.
- Abortion is a difficult issue that requires individual consideration and should be generalized, but considered with the heart.
Individuals initially were interviewed for their opening position, one two or three. As the study progressed, the participants were exposed to actual situations, and asked to consider their position in each individual case, rather than being stubborn about their a head-based initial stance.
As their hearts became involved in the actual situations an interesting thing happened. The more they were exposed to experience and compassion for actual situations, in all cases there was a migration of the moral position towards the third choice, that the individual situation needed to be considered. This is what spiral dynamics hypothesized.
Our soul has an inbuilt compassion if we exercise it with immersion into the complex pain of reality. This takes us out of the space of right/wrong, and towards the complexity of life. Love, the universal principle of humanity, always looks through the eyes of compassion, not judgment and/or punishment. When we consider ourselves, we always will hope to recieve compassion, not judgment or punishment, and this position is reflected in all the teachings of the major religious founders, Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha, Lao Tze etc.
So why is our humanity subject to the corrosion of opinions almost everyone would agree are damaging?
There is a mythical dragon that we each have to fight, according to many traditions, and this dragon will be explained in the next step in this series.