What gives me the temerity to run a web site about life’s deepest trusts and talk with confidence about spiritual issues? Who am I to dole out wisdom?
This is a good question, and the reason I stayed silent on the topic of spirituality for many years despite making it an active project of mine since an early age. Not being full of myself, I recognized that my “wisdom” was provisionary and might be bunk. I didn’t feel wrong, but I could be wrong. And I had ample examples in my life of situations where I had been wrong. So who was I to talk? Which is why I stayed silent.
The truth of the matter is that none of us should talk if we have to be perfect before we open our mouths. I’ve met lots of monks and spiritual people over the years, and almost none of them were perfect and guaranteed to speak the highest truth all the time.
We don’t really know anything. That might be the highest truth I can offer. All we can do is share what we think is the truth, and what has both stood the test of time and logic. But none of us really know for certain.
That’s why we must approach everything as if it is a previsionary truth. We think it is true, but we might be wrong. If we live this way, we are doing the best that can be done in the service of living true. We are doing our best to live truthfully, but we’re also open to being wrong and willing to adjust when we discover our truth was wrong on some level.
That’s also why we must take everything with some skepticism, and always think for ourselves. What we’re hearing might be true, but what we’re hearing might be false. Each of us must judge for ourselves.
This week we actually bring you the essay we put as our “disclaimer” at the start of every spiritual talk we publish. We highlight this essay even though it is linked at the top of almost every page because the central idea in that essay is so important and therefore worth stressing: Don’t trust us; think for yourself.
If the ideas make sense, adopt them. If they don’t, ignore them. This should be the approach for everything, but especially spiritual essays written by someone like me.
Peter is a relationship coach, writer/producer, and R&D monastic. He splits his time between San Francisco and Asia. Read more about Peter.