Without Arjuna Within

Krishna and Arjun on the chariot, Mahabharata,...

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Ahimsa, Satya and Moral Relativism

Is that subtitle heavy enough?

I haven’t written anything new in two weeks. I don’t know if I would call this writer’s block or not because it’s not like the ideas haven’t been there. I have been wrestling with heavy ideas and I can’t seem to tease out exactly what I feel about them. This is an extremely personal journey and I’m afraid to put these words out there. I also feel strongly after much meditation, that this is the right thing for me to do. It may be a bit to the side of the usual fare served here, but it’s a parallel writing path (albeit one with a sheer drop off)

From here on, it’s brainstorm writing. So, please disregard my disregard for grammar, etc. After all, I do loves me some Shakespeare and he adored flouting the rules to feed his brainpan…

Why am I writing this? Instead of allowing my blog to languish as I have been, I’m going to write about what is churning amorphously in my head in the hope that:

  1. The ideas will transfer from the sticking place in my brain into the page
  2. Someone else may read them and have some thought or write something that will add to the discussion (I’m tired of debating with myself)
  3. Perhaps I’ll gain some better understanding of what I believe

I practice truth and authenticity in speech and action.

I practice non-harming in thought, action, and speech a priori to any other principle.

In order to practice truth and nonharming, I have been attempting to understand the very nature of truth. I understand that my truth is not The truth, nor is anyone else’s truth The truth. Each is A truth. But, does this open us up to complete moral relativism? Is this a good/bad thing? Does it allow for the excuse that anything can be done no matter the ramifications if we are convinced of its truth? No, because nonharming supersedes truth-without giving permission to tell an untruth. How, then, to uphold nonharming and truth?

I would argue that moral relativism can be good, despite most of what I was taught. I think there has to be critical thinking and reason used to evaluate a situation in order to practice nonharming. It is absolutism that can cause so much pain.

Example: a group of people are sitting on an orange sofa, talking about an absent friend. Later, they may have completely different memories of what they spoke about. One might say they were dishing about her. One might say they were fondly missing her. One may feel hurt because they were ignored. One may not remember talking about the friend at all. And so on. The only thing they might agree upon was the orange sofa. Or not even that. Which is the truth?

What you observe depends on your frame of reference.

I don’t think you can find The truth in this example, only versions of truths. Assuming all the parties involved are on equal standing. Assuming there was no “power over” being exerted. Assuming all parties are striving for nonharming and truth…

Suppose the group on the orange sofa has a power disparity. In this case, those with the lesser power may not feel free to speak Truth or to speak up when untruth is spoken. Bosses with their employees, Parents with their children, Teachers with their students, Someone in control of someone else’s safety or security, etc. In any of these cases, it is the responsibility of those with power to be especially sensitive to the fact that everything they say and do had extra weight. So, they must practice enriching those near them, instead of exerting their own egos…

I do not believe that Truth is absolute. I think it must be evaluated in each situation. If I am consciously striving to create every thought, action, and word through the lens of Nonharming, then I believe truth will come. I am striving to always look for the highest, best truth, although I am currently having a crisis along the path in seeing exactly what that is…

Here I am with writer’s block. I do not wish to cause harm with my words, yet I know in order to speak my truth, some harm will be caused. Does this leave silence? Inaction? Those are not my truth either.

I feel as though I’ve returned to my starting place on one of the many circles I’ve traveled in my lifelong quest to understand hatred, intolerance, peace, compassion, empathy and ultimately acceptance. I’ve returned to the point when I encountered Arjuna and Krishna. Like Arjuna, I’ve collapsed into inaction in the face of this great moral dilemma. Like Arjuna, I’m awaiting an inner Krishna with his many examples and explanations to help me understand how to pick myself up and continue on my path. Unlike Arjuna, I will not find my path is to do battle with my friends and family. My path is one of radical acceptance. I’ve just got to find my way back to it as I ran blindly into the uncharted area of/in/by fear…

Aside: I want to reiterate that what I’m writing, I am working through at the same time. None of these thoughts are fully formed. Please forgive any ignorance and ambiguities. I do not mean to cause harm. I am simply attempting, with my very limited brain capacity to face, without turning away, ideas that countless (far more capable) intellects have (far better)

I’m currently considering Part 2 to cover Ahimsa (nonharming) and Satya (truth) in parenting, among other topics. Any thoughts? I’d love to hear from you.

PS: I know that it seems I’m ignoring the other Yamas right now and that Asteya will help me. I’m not ignoring them in my meditations, this was just what came up while writing

4 thoughts on “Without Arjuna Within

  1. You wrote: ” I think there has to be critical thinking and reason used to evaluate a situation in order to practice nonharming. It is absolutism that can cause so much pain.” Yes, I agree with this completely.

    Warmest wishes on your journey. I have no wisdom to share, I am at the very beginnings of my own journey. This certainly gives some food for thought – particularly as I mull my relationship with my own mother and our versions of truth.

  2. I do NOT have the spoons to work through this right now (see my twitterstream), but it is difficult. Reading Megan’s comment above, what popped into my mind was the Wiccan Rede (which I try to live by): An it harm none, do what you will. These are really difficult words to live by, if you take them seriously – they require constant examining of self, actions, intentions, etc.

    Also (and this primarily applies to religion in my life, but..) I *know* that there is room for all viewpoints in this universe. I know this because they’re there. Doesn’t mean I condone harmful ones (my personal bugbear is consent/nonconsent), but they wouldn’t exist if there wasn’t room for them.

    That’s about all I’ve got right now.

  3. Ok, so I admit I don’t know what all the sanskrit words mean….but it does strike me that so much of what we deal with in life can be seen from many angles, with many views, and it’s such a huge question of “correctness.” For me, going through a particular personal issue relating to parenting at the moment, I believe that no matter anyone else’s view of the situation, the “right” answer for me has to be the one that my heart believes. I cannot sit and debate each facet of the situation, because to do so actually brings in the ambiguity of truth and right, when the only right for the situation must be the one felt, not thought. Where my biggest dilemma comes in, for this particular situation of mine, is when two people with what should be equal ground for determining the right come from two different places and believe two different truths. Here we came to the same end, so in that respect it’s good, but the paths we see as right from this point forward have aspects of divergence. So how to reconcile competing truths, when reconciling them is crucial? How to approach the reconciliation without imposing upon the other your own truth?

I love comments and try to reply to each one. I look forward to connecting with you. Namaste

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