This morning I spent some time trying to find the root cause of Friday the 13th as being an unlucky day. While there are numerous possible causes for this superstition, there is no concrete evidence as to the belief’s origin. It is not important how or why this day became notorious and synonymous with bad luck, what is intriguing to me, when it comes to living a peaceful life, is the fact that any energy would be devoted to superstitions.
It is not really all that remarkable, when I stop to think about it. I have grown up hearing about unlucky signs and symbols all my life. By the time I was 12 I had learned not to step on a crack, not to walk under a ladder, not to break a mirror, to watch out for black cats crossing my path, not to open an umbrella in the house, and to fear a bird being in the house. I am sure if I spent a little more time I could remember even more examples of beliefs I was taught, and more or less accepted without question.
Our minds are such powerful creators; believing in something is often enough to create evidence to support the belief. This is why we must be really careful to examine everything we hold as being truth. Yesterday, I read that Friedrich Nietzsche surmised that there was no such thing as truth, only assigned values or perspectives. I believe this to be true. I think that nearly all truth is in reality agreement instead of actual truth.
What we do, how we act, even what we think is based on what we “know.” Oftentimes what we know is just plain wrong. This happens all the time in science. For many years scientists “knew” that Newtonian physics was correct but quantum physics is demonstrating that much of what was once “known” is invalid. It has to drive scientists crazy to learn that the Truth is actually unknown and may not ever be known.
How does what we “know” affect our ability to dwell in peace? It is simple, if I know that the reason you do something is to hurt me, it makes sense to take offense and feel the hurt. If I know that I am going to be happier if I get my way, it makes sense to be upset when I do not. I can go on listing examples all day long, but it is obvious where I am going with this.
To be fully present, to be actually open to living a life of peace, we must let go of what we know. We must drop all ideas of what is good and bad, right and wrong, lovable or unlovable. Our human mind is only capable of conditional truth. All truth the mind “knows” is conditional upon the filters through which we processed and stored information in the past. This mind’s truth is nothing but thought which was agreed upon in an effort to construct certainty. Certainty is sought by the ego in order to keep itself safe.
Wisdom is built on openness; it can never be based on certainty. All certainty is mythical. There is not a person reading this, or a person alive for that matter (unless alive means simply breathing) who has not experienced the implosion of some certainty.
What we know is a lie. It is a set of beliefs we have clung to in order to feel safe in a world we cannot define; a world in which Truth is elusive, beyond our ability to comprehend.
Understanding this opens the door to freedom. While the ego thinks it is creating a safer environment by defining everything, exactly the opposite is real. What we know to be truth is simply illusion that we have agreed with, because it feels more comforting to construct an imaginary ‘known” world than to be new in each unknown, now moment.
Freedom is found in being new, being fresh, being unencumbered by imagined rules and laws. I hear the ego screaming, my own that is, as I write this, “But Elliott we have to have the laws and rules to be able to function in form.” The truth is the autonomic self, the one that breathes for me, the one that beats my heart without command from my conscious mind, can handle my day to day affairs just fine without my mental agreement to its “truths.”
Once I understand this, I am free to look at the world through eyes that have not predetermined and predefined all that it sees. I am able to listen with ears that enjoy all the vibrations it is exposed to without the filtering that is required to define what is heard. I can continue through each of the five senses and on to the sixth and however many more senses a “free” observer may notice. Why be limited to what is “known?” Why live a life in a small little box just for the sake of safety?
It is clear to see how superstition is flawed, even though some of the advice was actually wise. Can we make the jump to understanding that all “truth” is illusion and therefore limiting?
Just food for thought on this Friday the 13th: Enjoy your weekend and share your ideas about this perspective.