the cobwebs of ignorance that surround it, it shines clear...
All that I can, in true humility, present to you is that Truth is not to be found by anybody who has not got an abundant sense of humility."
-- Mahatma Gandhi
“Meditation is the only intentional, systematic human activity which at bottom is about not trying to improve yourself or get anywhere else,
but simply to realize where you already are.”
―John Kabat-Zinn, Wherever You Go, There You Are
A few times during our first conversations, Gary had challenged me to clarify what had slipped out of my mouth -- often as a quip or facetious comment. (It seems I often default to my youthful personality as a Chicago street kid, a wannabe wise guy, the perennial, if not all that proficient, class clown)
In Gary's presence, I always have to be ready to pay attention. Lord knows, he does. Whether we were talking Coop Policies (he sits on the Board), world events, or spirituality, I have to stay Present, ready to engage in a sincere, shared exploration about the truth of the matter at hand.
With Gary, I can't be sloppy. I have to be careful with my words, precise about what I think I know -- and don't know. I imagine sitting with Gandhi would be something like that.
In our fundamentally materialistic modern society most of us have adopted the world view that there is an objective material reality, and that the only means of discerning the Real Truth of our existence is the scientific method. In this view, our individual "reality" is just an essentially subjective experience produced by our own unique bio-chemistry. Our Consciousness is just an "epi-phenomenon"of the human brain.
Except for the various religious fundamentalists who claim that their interpretation of their particular scripture is the Truth, the human quest to determine what is really going on then relies on complex machinery to extend our five senses, and intricate computerized mathematical models to extend our conceptual abilities. If we can "prove" it through these means, it is Truth.
I don't buy it.
Although I've always been a science and technology geek, and do appreciate the incredible achievements that science has contributed to the quality of human life on this planet, IMHO it's search for Truth fundamentally flawed. Science doesn't recognize that with some effort, we can individually and collectively sense the Truth without any fancy gadgets. The Real Deal is accessible to the human Heart and Mind. (these are not two).
In the final analysis, science and technology doesn't really cut it. It begins and ends with fancy gizmos and the limited nature of conceptual thought.
On the Other Hand
To stay humble, to be gentle, kind, open, curious, and respectful of others isn't just the "moral" thing to do. It's keeping it Real. As each fleeting moment cascades through the infinite pool of eternity, a deep humility reflects the nature of our actual situation.
*The Founding Fathers of the US, although obviously limited in their understanding (the views of many of them didn't include all of humanity in their concept of "mankind".), actually hit on something real, I think. If we really did act as if each and every human being had an inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, there could be no war or exploitation of any kind.