sharing knowledge; enhancing wellbeing.
Anyone who knows me well (or probably even not so well) knows that I appreciate Facebook. The newest thing that Facebook has been doing is reminding you of things that you have posted a year ago. Funny enough, on the day that I started this blog, I was reminded of one of my favorite quotes from Father Thomas Keating. He stated, “Anything less than a contemplative perspective on life is an almost certain program for unhappiness.”
When I re-read this the other day, I thought it would be perfect to expand upon in the early stages of my blog. Many of the topics I will write about will encourage you to contemplate your current style and pattern of thinking. I hope to challenge your perspectives on life, and aid in your personal growth and progress. That being said, I only know my own reality. Thus, I can only present to you what has been presented to me on my path. Bottom line, don’t take what I write as truth; but, discover for yourself (through living as a contemplating being) what is right for you!
So, what does that quote mean to you?
To me, that quote reinforces my inquisitive view on life. I have this incessant drive to ask questions, to analyze my behavior, and to get to the bottom of what drives me. In this life, we so often take our ability to think for ourselves for granted. We are inundated with messages from just about everywhere (think: the tabloids, the news, the politicians, large corporations who own politicians, our co-workers)… who doesn’t tell us what to eat, drink, wear, say, drive, THINK, et cetera? Worse, in the age of information, if you go on the internet to look for the answer to a question, the response from the search engines rarely leads you to any solid conclusion, and likely just confuses you more!
I remember about four years ago, after I watched the documentary Earthlings (watch it here for free, it’s highly informative, and recommended for the contemplating being if you are still eating meat from factory farms – e.g. meat that is not organic), I went online to search about vegan diets. I wanted to know if soy was actually good or bad for you. I had heard arguments supporting both sides. If you purchase a carton of soy milk, you can learn about all of the benefits of soy right on the outside of the container that you will likely glance at while eating some cereal, like supposed heart health from isoflavones. Soy farmers and product producers also had numerous websites touting all of the goodness that comes from soy consumption. There were other websites that warned of the damage that could result from soy consumption. Everyone had their own answer to the question (sometimes based on how they make their living)!
I didn’t know what to believe. I was confused, and (in retrospect) driven by fear. I had thoughts like, “How will I get enough protein if soy is bad?” ”What could I use as an alternative to tofu? There’s nothing that would substitute!” There was no right answer. I continued to eat soy until I decided to stop being scared of the true answer, and start to listen to my body. With that contemplative approach, devoid of fear that I might have had about not doing the right thing, I was able to understand that soy was not good for my body for a variety of reasons (phytoestrogens, it’s anti-nutrient properties, stomach issues, et cetera). I have since found a plethora of research to back up the dangers of too much soy (which unfortunately dominates the typical recommended diet for vegans/vegetarians).
I’ve provided a somewhat small example here of living as a contemplative being and how it can bring happiness (to me, that is health and balance). I hope that it helps you to understand that when we let go of fear, and question what we are told by the outside influences (sometimes driven by their desire for their own personal gain), that we can come to our own conclusions about what is right for ourselves. There is no reason to doubt yourself when you live as a contemplative being without fear.
Happy contemplating, people!