by Gregory James
If I observe a piece of art and I say, “This is beautiful;” have I complimented the object, or merely my own senses? The object cannot receive my compliment for lack of sufficient consciousness to discern its meaning. Therefore, I have merely stated to myself that I find this object beautiful; the object’s proposed beauty is as such within me – as opposed to being independent of itself. Absent myself as the observer, the object could represent no such position in itself as beautiful. It is True, the old saying, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”
Now let us say that I observe you and I say, “You are beautiful;” have I complimented you, or merely my own senses? You are capable of receiving the compliment – unlike the painting. However, because you are consciously available to perceive my compliment, you then become the observer of the compliment itself (the compliment being the object of your subjectivity).
Now, you – as the observer – have assigned your own host of meanings and preconceptions to the compliment; perhaps you agree, perhaps you disagree, maybe you are grateful, maybe you feel embarrassed; perhaps you do not believe that I really see you as beautiful; perhaps you feel I am understating the obvious! In any case, your opinions have little to do with the observation I made; these opinions about my observation are your observations. So, did my observation of your beauty come from me – as in the case of the painting – or does my compliment belong to you?
From this analysis, we can see that my observation is a product of my subjectivity – that is, a product of the convergence of consciousness that “I” observe as “me.” We can also see that your subsequent observation is a product of your subjectivity. We are in relationship, of course, so we are each present for the other to observe; without the other no observation could be made — that is to say, we could only observe “our self.” But isn’t that the beauty of it? “You” are a dynamic convergence of that to which “you” relate – as am “I.” At the very least, it is clear that my statement of your beauty actually has more to do with “me” than you, and your observation of my statement actually has more to do with “you” than me. There is nothing that I can observe that is not somehow included as “me,” or I wouldn’t be able to observe it; the same of course is True as it pertains to “you.” I can say that you are beautiful, but it is not really you that is causing the opinion; rather, it is my subjective observation that is generating the judgment that you are beautiful – as opposed to ugly, or something else.
Notice that the more you like someone the more you find them attractive in appearance. It may seem like you are attracted because someone is beautiful, but notice that when they offer even a little bit of reciprocation of your observation – when the one you see as beautiful starts to also enjoy you – suddenly that person becomes the most beautiful person in the world to you! It is your own eyes doing the seeing, no? And it is your heart and mind doing the observing, too. Therefore, the deeper the feelings, the more pronounced the observations – either way. And everybody – absolutely everyone – likes to observe beauty! What we each see as “beauty” is subjective; yet, we all naturally seek it – and this is an objective fact. Little do we know, we seek it in ourselves. It makes great sense, therefore, to understand the nature of how we observe!
What if I were to say that you are stupid and stinky? You would most assuredly disagree! You believe you are intelligent to a reasonable standard, and that your personal hygiene is adequate. So, does my statement actually cause you to be stupid and stinking, anymore than my statement would cause you to be beautiful? You may argue that one statement is true, while the other is false, but this remains your opinion – your observation of my statements. Maybe I really see you as beautiful, while someone else really observes that you are stupid and stinky. They may be “wrong” – but that’s surely not how they’ll see it!
In any case, it is likely that the only statement you will choose to accept as “true” is the statement that you prefer, while the other statement – you would insist – is “untrue.” Yet, this is still only your opinion. Whether your observation is subjective or objective – because it belongs to you, the subject – it carries a degree of subjectivity no matter what (in fact, if we are to actually be objective, we must consider this). Of course, the same is true for others as well. Yet a profound and odd dynamic occurs nonetheless: Your observations have no more to do with others than their observations have to do with you, yet you will identify with others’ observations all the same. If I insult you, you are offended; if I compliment you, you are gratified. Have you considered why?
Do you really suppose my observations to have so much to do with you? Perhaps if my observation is true you would do well to recognize as much. But how would you know its true unless you are sufficiently conscious and wise to observe Truth within you? Without this, we are far more likely to be completely offended when Truth is enunciated by another! It is unconscious patterns of entanglement (predatory self-importance, suppressed shadow self, energetic blockage / fragmentation, hyper-dimensional influences) manifesting within us that causes us to cling to the observations of others – and, point in fact, likely in a manner that is actually quite disparate from their observations. And in doing so, we only perpetuate fallacy, conflict, and a tendency to seek false security in the esteem of others – indeed in the esteem of ourselves. With this mode of operation, we can even very easily perceive a constructive comment in a negative light, and perceive a frivolous/ego-boosting comment in a “positive” light. And when we are locked in such faulty patterns, we are likely to inflict our own untrue, subjective judgments on others as well. This is not to say that we ought not bother to respect one another – or that dignity shown is not dignity received – yet we must recognize that what we “receive” has more to do with our own observations than what is being stated by another. Otherwise, we lock ourselves into the fragile dichotomy of escapism and conflict, forever seeking “security” from sources that ultimately cannot provide it. You see, in doing this, we make even our self the object of our own adverse subjectivity, compounding the quandary further.
The Dynamic Bond & the Opportunity for Self-Work
The phenomenon just explained can seem very persuasive the more complex one’s identification with an idea, object, feeling, or another person. For example, if you love someone and that person slings harsh insults your way, it hurts! Have you considered why? It hurts because your identity-investment in your lover and his/her opinion of you is naturally much greater than with the opinions of other people. This is because when we give someone our love, we have a tendency to also become very vulnerable to that person’s subjective observations – even though what is written above ultimately remains True. We include our lover as ourselves, in effect; we engage in a dynamic exchange of consciousness – and all the trappings of our respective depths and darknesses come with that! So, in the deepest, most entangled way, we open ourselves to each other and share a “Dynamic Bond.” And this can be a wonderful means through which to experience love, happiness, fulfillment and all the best parts of ourselves we naturally want to enjoy. And yet in contrast, relationships also provide the possibility for tremendous struggle and heartache. This is simply because when we open ourselves to each other, when we share this Dynamic Bond, we place ourselves in a position that is emotionally and psychologically important to us. Thereby naturally, our partner’s opinion carries far more weight for us. As such, when we expose our vulnerabilities via this Dynamic Bond, and those vulnerabilities become exploited in the anger or carelessness of the other, it is easy to perceive a breach of trust, which can just as easily create a hot-zone for conflict.
Therefore, when there is a breakdown in communication, emotions can run high quickly and obscure objectivity and the clarity it supplies. However, this is usually because some lower emotions, strong unconscious needs, or attachments – all likely having been confused for love – have come into play somehow. These deficient mental and emotional states, being confused for love, supersede and replace – however temporarily – any actual love that was there (if indeed it was really there at all). Many people, even husbands and wives, parents and children, grossly misunderstand what “love” means, objectively, and instead much of the time mistake attachment, various needs, shallow preconceptions, insecurity, sexual desire, and other subjective mental/emotional fetters, as love. When we truly Love, it is because we Know Thyself, and we are able to share that with another person in a way that doesn’t need any specific reciprocation or validation. This is not to say that a quality relationship shouldn’t provide certain basic mutual comforts as amicability, understanding, and flexibility; just that these are the natural result of Love rather than the preconditions for it.
But relationships can be very trying. That’s why they are such a tremendous opportunity to Work on ourselves. When we love – even when that love isn’t perfect – we open ourselves up to depend on one another in ways that can challenge us; that hold a mirror up to ourselves via the Dynamic Bond explained above. In other words, when we engage any significant and enduring relationship – whether with a partner, parent, sibling, teacher or student – we immediately engage an elevated responsibility to that person because we are a dynamic reflection of them, as they are of us. And this is precisely why we must engage in the Work of Knowing Thyself – of engaging the relentless Work toward ever greater clarity and objective discernment, not only of ourselves, but of the world around us and the people to which we relate. This includes looking into the darkest aspects of ourselves and of how we perceive the darkness in our world; do we ignore it; do we sugarcoat it; do we hide from it? These questions are important to face if we are to truly be objective. Only this Work – this Dharma – places us within Right Relationship, wherein instead of feeding off of others to fulfill our own deficiencies, we actually become a beacon of Light – to others and to ourselves – exposing every dark spot and shortcoming to that Light.
To be sure, this may not make us the most popular among friends and family, but it is nonetheless our responsibility to ourselves and to others. Without this Work, we are just hypocrites, feeding each others’ deficiencies and contributing to the sufferings of life – in ourselves and in others. This process of exposing our fragile and shadowy underbelly to each other happens naturally in relationships, to a degree; however, it is strikingly amplified when one engages the esoteric Work and the Dharma of Right Relationship. Don’t be surprised however if those with whom you relate do not approve; many people do not like to see and hear Truth – however much they may claim to value it. And this is why those whom we wish to take as a partner must also be willing to engage this Work. At least, it is very, very helpful if they do. Otherwise, conflict may become increasingly prominent in them the “higher” you go, or whenever they are faced with difficulties – especially if those difficulties don’t seem so difficult for you! Again, few like to be shown where they are lacking, especially in the objectivity of their partner, so they will very quickly attempt to squash this inadequacy by projecting it on the other – illogically, in an emotional storm of over-reactivity, denying accountability or even care for the other’s feelings. Either that, or they will go to the opposite extreme, which is to become superficially submissive or manipulatively kind so to skirt the issue – assuming you won’t call out your lover when he/she is being kind to you; or if you do, in your partner’s eyes, you will be “at fault” for doing so.
Relationship Delusions & the Hidden Factors of Conflict
It is easy to see, then, that such a dichotomy as over-confidence and insecurity – although ostensibly quite different – each arise from the same lack of true understanding. These are actually two sides of the same coin. Insecurity appears where confidence is preferred, and over-confidence is a compensation where insecurity is the actual state. The same can be said when one refuses to look at themselves and instead insists that all the problems are occurring “out there.” There may well be some external resistance, and someone else may well be at fault, but we need to be objective if we are to truly do the Work to understand properly the often subtle differences between internal and external resistance.
Where a reasonable degree of resistance is present, there is a great opportunity to Work – an opportunity against which to sharpen the Sword of Self-Knowledge, so to speak. However, when the resistance is too great and only overwhelming, repeated conflict is the result, then it is most probable that a negative pattern is forming or being perpetuated through deficiency – whether mutual or one-sided. And then, Right Relationship may not be possible. Instead, the energy of one or both of the relationship participants becomes a kind of “food” for the other – keeping their partner too weak to progress spiritually, or even to recognize themselves objectively. In the worst cases, a kind of sick codependency develops that barely poses as a loving relationship. This is usually all too obvious to everyone but the afflicted relationship participants, who are somehow lost in a chemical/emotional haze – always looking to maneuver the circumstances for their next “fix.” In any case, very similarly to a drug addiction, a kind of chemical, emotional, and energetic toxicity arises that locks the couple in a pattern wherein valuable objective growth is ultimately suspended or greatly stunted.
When a negative and destructive pattern is being reinforced, the most correct thing may well be to end or drastically redefine the relationship – as negative patterns become negative karma, perpetuating suffering to oneself and others (“karma” meaning simply, one’s pattern of situations). Said differently, where emotional abuse is present and ongoing, even an intelligent, objectively minded person can begin to become swayed and twisted in his/her reality, as it is a well-known fact that persistent emotional stress can have very strong, distorting effects on a person’s psyche and overall health. And let me be clear; I am classifying any conflict perpetuated by the result of misuse of subjective judgement – and thus misapprehension of reality – as potential and likely grounds for emotional abuse within relationship (any relationship; not just romantic). It may not be an acute case, but the abuse will likely be there – however clandestine. And in fact, by societal standards, this “understated” emotional abuse is most-often considered “normal;” yet it is nonetheless completely toxic. Furthermore, per our understanding of observer/object relationship and the Dynamic Bond, where abuse is allowed to continue, even the abuser is – in effect – being abused. This is not Right Relationship. And we must be clear and objective enough to recognize this, and strong enough to do what is most correct for the better.
The Nature of Judgement
The adherence to Right Relationship requires the proper use of objective judgement, and an understanding of what judgement really is and how we use it everyday as a normal function of living. Many of us like to pretend that we have liberated ourselves from judgement just because we refrain from slandering others. But judgement is much more fundamental than that. In fact, judgement is fairly automatic and implicit to nearly all processes of thought. We cannot do anything without judgement, really. We use it to decide what to eat, what to say, what to do, and what not to do. Indeed, the very moment we perceive anything we judge whether it is good or bad, appropriate or inappropriate, healthful or harmful; we judge simply to recognize whether we like it, or dislike it — however unconscious this may be.
We have a whole range of preference settings within us that have been, since childhood, establishing their own unconscious patterns deep within us. This is the real reason the ancient masters and esoteric schools insist on the fervent scrutiny of judgement – and desire as well; after all, desire is the next step in the mechanism! When you perceive, you judge; if you like it, you desire it; if you don’t like it, you desire being rid of it. In any case, you determine your own unconscious subjective definitions of “yourself” in “contrast” to what you like and desire, or dislike and have an aversion to. And while it is relevant to have certain preferences for many very valid and practical reasons, it is also vital that we do the Work to understand that process and to liberate ourselves from unnecessary and indeed potentially harmful patterns of unconscious desires and aversions – or even embedded ones that we are fully aware of but apparently cannot do anything about. This requires of us to truly understand the process of how judgement and desire arise within us, where those judgements and desires come from within us, and to do the Work to engage the necessary objectivity – even if it’s painful – so to bring the dark and unconscious self into the Light of Consciousness. Without this Work we cannot hope to resolve anything, but rather only develop deep, self-serving preferences and a host of unconscious devices for feeding our deficiencies at the expense of others — and of ourselves, in the end. Believe it or not, most of us do this (to a certain degree) and are totally unaware of it; all the while “blissfully” ignorant under our own subjective veil of complacence. And ultimately, this is something everyone faces as a natural part of the human Life Opportunity; what we do about it remains our choice — baring in mind that not choosing is still a choice, albeit an unconscious one.
A Culture of Subjective Judgement & Competition
And so we see that where we do not understand properly we compound our inner situation, which we ultimately inflict upon our family, friends, and greater community, usually excusing ourselves from the Work by simply feigning humility in such blasé statements as, “nobody’s perfect.” What remains quite pertinent to consider, however, is just how screwed up we can actually get by ignoring this Work! And this is something that few these days actually take notice of because we live in a culture where it is increasingly and unfortunately “acceptable” to be so utterly confused; most people – even very highly “intelligent” and educated people – miss the bigger picture. Our entire social structure is largely based on subjective judgement, desire, and competition! It seems we can’t wait to judge each other!
We – as a culture at large – deficiently judge ourselves all morning in the mirror, doing up our hair and face, trying on different outfits to suit our fickle fancy for the day. Then we judge everybody we see the daylong, even our friends, at least in our thoughts. In fact, entire groups of “friends” sit together at lunch gossiping about and judging everything and everyone that pops to mind. We do the same thing over the dinner table, in our own home, where one might think some sanctity would be in order. But no. And when dinner is over – if we can wait even that long – we plop in front of the TV where we are virtually bombarded with sophisticatedly engineered programming and commercials specifically designed to entice our deficient judgements and desires, all the while playing on the unconscious to make us feel inferior so we are prompted to buy some useless product that we don’t really need – or perhaps, even knew existed. And at the office we compete with others for the big promotion or for some new contract, all the while compromising our integrity and values just to keep up with the other guy who doesn’t mind cheating. Our legal system, our politics, our economics, our educational system, our foreign policies, even in our own families – everything is rife with deficient judgement, desire, and competition; all the while our “best and brightest” in politics and economics insist that this is the way it’s supposed to be; that this is the “best” way to insure our respective prosperity. But it isn’t; and any objective person recognizes this quite plainly. Objectively speaking, the idea of group prosperity on the basis of individual competition and consumption most-readily promotes strife, dissatisfaction, envy, false pride, wastefulness, complacency, and ultimately, the degradation of humanity. This is the opposite of Right Relationship. In fact, it is just a dark crypt dressed up with shallow pleasantries!
When we constantly compete with each other, at least two major setbacks to our humanity occur. The first is that competition, despite what many may think, does not foster cooperation – not in the bigger picture. It may allow groups of people to cooperate as a team so to achieve a goal, but let’s not forget that this goal is usually to beat out another group, and usually this only generates bitter rivalry, and in the worst way even hatred and underhanded behaviors like lying, cheating, bribery, adverse manipulation and influence, sabotage, espionage, and even wars – depending on the groups involved. A little friendly competition may be fun among buddies, but what good is it to foster cooperation and camaraderie in a group of people when its aim is only going to generate – in another, proportionately large group of people – hurt, anger, and distrust or worse? Moreover, the aim of the group to begin with is seldom virtuous, as the system assures success to the most powerful groups, who are really just looking for ways boost a profit margin – even at the expense of any and all things good and right. I tell you, this is an obsolete idea, and it just doesn’t work. (It is obvious objectively as well that competition is not at all a necessary component of cooperation nor of motivation to work hard for the greater good – but this is for a different topic.)
Secondly, and perhaps most corrosively, competition – especially on the personal level – is ultimately based in self-abusive subjective judgement and comparison. This comparison-based subjectivity causes a fundamental breakdown of Being, because it is completely based in misapprehension and insecurity. So long as we compare ourselves to others, we are setting up a standard of judgement and desire that is terribly degenerative to our happiness because we are essentially making judgements against ourselves. How could one possibly hope to be complete under the constraint of such deficient and self-destructive thinking? In other words, if you compare yourself to another, thinking that you are much better looking or much smarter than he, you are essentially only demonstrating your insecurity that you may not be as good-looking or smart as you would like to be – that you are unsatisfied with yourself – otherwise you would be secure in your appearance and level of intelligence, and thus would not waste your precious mental energy on such nonsense. Likewise, if you compare yourself to someone else, thinking he is much better looking or much smarter than you, it’s the same result, you see; you are still entangled in a fear that you are not adequately smart or handsome by your own reckoning. And either way, you are stuck in your own ill-disposed subjective judgement of yourself, although erroneously thinking it’s about someone else’s superiority or inferiority to you – and worse still, likely believing that such an opinion is somehow a reality.
In fact, in this way, we are not even capable of free or objective thinking; instead we are only capable of thinking based in unconscious, societally programed subjectivity, which essentially means that our thoughts and opinions are not even ours to begin with! It’s what others have taught us to think; how others have told us to feel; how culture demands that we react, and therefore we limit ourselves to the shallow constraints of a mass subjectivity – a collective confusion (which is most corrosive, because this kind of thinking constantly reinforces itself as ”normal”). As such, within this trap, we are confined to the past – to our preconditioned, corrupted, unconscious patterns and fears – and therefore we cannot BE truly Present; even our hopes for the future are doomed to our past shortcomings, because that’s where our “consciousness” is stuck – and that’s the measure to which we constrain our limits (both personally and collectively)! And while we are entangled in this convoluted subjectivity, we are not being objective, and thus, we are not truly Being; indeed, we are the opposite; we are the personification of error!
The Necessity of Correcting the
Error in Comparison & Competition
The very first step to correct this error must be to awaken to the recognition that comparison to others is not healthy or even logical. And even if one is not happy or satisfied with oneself, the last thing this person needs is more unhealthy agitation for the mind. Thus, Work first to correct your thinking. Stop comparing yourself to others, stop measuring yourself and others against your judgmental checklist – just stop – and you’ll likely find the relief you feel is so tremendous, that the satisfaction you are seeking will immediately become apparent. At the very least, you’ll begin to see that the groundwork for abundant satisfaction is already Present within you – and has nothing to do with the nonsense we otherwise believe. And this is the best and most stable place from where to continue your Work to Realize True Being, and its salubrious place in the world. This IS the ultimate satisfaction.
“Were you able to step back from your own opinions, you would see clearly the Way of all things.” ~Lao Tzu
And while there are those who may insist that comparing ourselves to others inspires us to excel, this is untruth born of the same lack of clarity resultant from a misunderstanding of objectivity. As I have already shown, comparison of self to others thwarts Truth and Being on a fundamental level; how can one excel from there? With such narrow reasoning, it is only toward ever-greater deficiency, separation, and degradation that we can move – which is entropy into non-being. This is not to say that we may not or ought not keep standards, have role models, or aspire to great achievements, just that those standards and achievements need not be limited to, or measured against, the achievements of others or fear-based inadequacies, nor should a proper role model be any more than an inspiration. Nevertheless, if we are to BE what we have the potential to BE, we must consider how comparison of ourselves to others, and indeed competing with others or supporting a competition-based culture, is fundamentally poisonous to the psyche and to one’s True Being.
The Proper Use of Objective Judgement
As we can see from the analysis above, judgement of oneself is always in measure to one’s judgement of others; and your judgement of others is always in measure to your own self-judgement. Therefore, it is True what the Teachings of Jesus avowed:
“Judge not lest ye be judged. The measure you use in judging is the measure by which you will be judged.”
This is not to say that judgment is wrong; that would of course itself be a judgment and thus a total contradiction. Rather it is pertinent to Understand the nature of judgment, and of the mind that makes judgments. We need not forgo our faculty of discernment, but rather we do well to mind how we judge and by what measure. In other words, we are not judging from a measure appropriate or applicable to Truth if we are to judge from the perspective of rigid ideology, or from general ignorance of a situation, or from a seat of bigotry or prejudice or any other manner of preconceived opinion not based in objective reasoning or actual experience. As I wrote in my essay supporting the Occupy Wall Street movement:
To judge means that you have put forth that which is in yourself as the judgment. And where you have mis-judged, you have perjured against yourself as the subject of the object in judgment, wherein Truth, there is no separation [we are fundamentally interdependent]. Said differently, do not judge outwardly, and you will not be judged of yourself inwardly; or perhaps most simply: your outward judgments reflect only your own inward condition. That being said, if the measure of your inward nature is True, then you will find no shame in judging, nor will you be at fault therein. It is only when the measure you use in judging is faulty that you are at fault in your judgment – for example, as if to say that someone is wrong because he is a Christian, or because she is black, or because he is gay. This extends of course to say that a police officer who abuses his position of authority is not worthy of Compassion, when paradoxically, he my be in the greatest need of it. We may say that he ought to be removed from his job as a policeman, as he is sworn to uphold the law and yet he breaks the law, but beyond this, any judgment will mean our own ill-judgment – as it will not only contribute to disharmony outwardly but also inwardly as a compounding of the misapprehension that spawned the judgment.
Where we may enjoy the luxury of not judging, of course we ought to, as this frees the mind to concentrate on far more worthwhile things – such as the cultivation of Compassion. The deepest way to practice this non-judgment-state is of course in Meditation. The Teachings of the ancient masters regarding non-judgment, while a principle inclusive to the full spectrum of life-being, pertains most potently to the practice of Meditation, wherein the non-judgment-state is paramount to Realization.
In the Taoist tradition this state is called Wuji (Infinite No-thing-ness, or Boundless Non-Duality), and in Buddhism, Hinduism and Yoga it is referred to as Samadhi (also meaning the Non-Dual State of Being). Of course, practically speaking, we are not always in that state, and so we use the energy and insight we develop to allow objective discernment as our virtue where judgments must be made – such as in determining whether a corrupt corporate oligarchy is in the best interests of our freedom, or if our police ought to be prosecuted for violent and unprovoked attacks on fellow citizens. We cannot, objectively speaking, ignore the importance of such matters.
[…] it is simply not the case that Jesus or any other noteworthy Spiritual Teacher has asserted that we are not to judge. He said, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged,” which is to say that the prerogative remains entirely yours! This is simply a statement of Truth regarding the True Nature of the Non-Duality within the ostensible relationship of subject and object – of perceiver and the perceived. While this remains one of the more overlooked and misunderstood aspects of the spiritual practice, both practically and esoterically speaking, it is nonetheless vital to the success of an individual’s practice, as well as to that of the proper function of our fundamentally interdependent existence. It would be analogous to say: that into which you do not tangle, you will be not entangled. However, when a tangle exists, we must work to untangle it before we are free again. And this is what we are seeing in our collective efforts to correct the now blatant and completely obvious disharmony of our current political-economic system and the disastrous social and environmental implications thereof.
As with all Spiritual Principles, there is a deeper aspect to the virtue of non-judgment which begins with being prepared to humbly recognize and accept that we do not always have all of the information. It happens all to often that a person insists they “know” something that they cannot possibly know because they do not have direct knowledge – or even marginally reliable evidence, in many cases. This is most especially the case where non-ordinary or religious “understandings” are concerned. We are seldom capable of recognizing the higher reasons for spiritual-level things that converge and become manifest at the human level. In many respects, such things are “simply” the deeper nature of the interplay of primordial forces and phenomena that provide our existence – the “dance” of the cosmos and the wildly variable complexities that we see “down here.” Much of what there IS we do not see, and of that which we may see, we still have little or no context within which to form a truly applicable understanding – especially from a subjective bias.
Many times things happen that we want to believe are “good,” when we are actually being fooled. Likewise, sometimes things happen that we are certain are “bad,” while they are actually the most correct thing – albeit beyond our personal scope of understanding. This does not absolve us from the responsibility to utilize objective discernment, of course. However, if we truly engage a matter from a perspective of objective discernment – seeing as clearly as possible – yet still cannot make sense of the matter, it may be the case that there is something higher at work, or simply that we do not yet have enough information to draw a precise conclusion. In such a case, one’s objectivity ought to come to the only appropriate realization – which is that one does not understand. This is the most healthy position for the mind to take, if indeed it does not understand! In fact, it is the only place from which we have any hope of Working toward Understanding. Admitting to ourselves that we do not understand is much better than clinging to a false, substitutionary “understanding” – having jumped to a conclusion and thus perpetuating a delusion. However, even if we don’t understand, if we are to be truly objective, we must still do our very best to Work toward understanding – as opposed to not understanding based in complacence, lack of effort, or presupposed righteousness (insisting you understand when you don’t).
Since objective discernment demands of us to recognize that we do not understand when we don’t understand, we do well to judge very carefully when it comes to spiritual-level events and considerations – which may likely include everyday scenarios, which are actually the result of deeper layers of karmic entanglement, however unbeknownst to the average observer. Trying to observe and/or correctly interpret spiritual-level matters from the human perspective is seldom easy; imagine a house-cat trying to understand even the most ordinary human behavior. Of course, the cat doesn’t think to try, but we humans do try to understand the spiritual level; that’s what religion is, after all – or at least what it is supposed to be. The gross misuse of judgement within theological contexts has proven to be, ironically, the greatest contributor to the de-spritualization of society. We can more aptly call it “the Terror of History.”
The Obscurity of Objectivity
As the resultant atrocities propagated by mis-aligned religious ideology have demonstrated throughout the course of history, even thorough attempts to articulate spiritual-level matters can and usually are misinterpreted, leading to a host of irrational behavior and inhumanity. This is partly because of the “rule” I just mentioned: observing spiritual-level things from the human perspective is seldom easy. Much of the phenomena are invisible, for instance. I’m not being mystical, here; just ask a quantum physicists about the utterly strange and invisible layers of our underlying reality. Much of this is “spiritual,” to be sure – however defined or named. These hyper-dimensional phenomena work though these invisible layers, as these are the very conditions and components through which anything and everything may be done. Even “angels” and “demons” are bound to certain Laws and principles – as are we.
Science has spent untold billions working to understand the nature and basis of this mysterious stuff we call reality and have – with much debate surrounding specifics – “observed” that time and space are not what they seem, that solid matter is not actually solid, and that Consciousness itself is an underlying factor in this multi-dimensional matrix – that “reality” itself apparently IS Conscious Subject/Object Relationship. Science and mysticism are not so different, we are beginning to see. Yet what science cannot, and probably will not, ever be able to quantitate are the myriad of variable and bizarre anomalous “events” and peculiarities of life (which is not to say that properly applied science is NOT a valid component of Gnosis; rather that more is required and we cannot rely exclusively on the findings of science – at least within the present scientific paradigm). This is because that which operates beyond our understanding of space, time, and relative phenomena cannot be measured using the classical scientific model and perspective, nor can our very best equations and theories deliver experiential understanding of the Higher Truth to which said equations and theories point – no matter how accurate.
For instance: even our most objective science fails to adequately define the Ultimate Universe and it’s possibilities because, of course, it cannot – so it seems. We cannot measure that which we ourselves as the measurers are an implicit component to, because we cannot step outside of the subject/object relationship that “creates” that which we seek to measure. Now I know this is a very confusing concept, but that is precisely the point! Trying, to go beyond how the mind perceives reality using concepts is not completely possible. Conceptualization is born of the mind, which is an integral and highly abstract part of that which it is futilely trying to observe (it’s a kind of “chicken-or-the-egg” problem). You see, a concept – which is required to establish the parameters of the measurement and to understand its meaning – cannot define the total subject/object relationship event in any complete way, because the concept itself implies a cognizant subject, and indeed becomes yet another object in the equation. Thus, as we see, we need a concept for the event which is beyond conceptualization, another concept to define the measurement parameters and their meaning, and yet another concept to explain how these concepts thwart the possibility of quantification to begin with; and we could go on like this indefinitely and still never actually arrive at what it is we are conceptualizing – let alone (in my humble opinion) end up with a practical and universally objective quantification of the Ultimate or its mysterious, incommensurable and vastly heterogeneous nature.
Take, for instance, the observable world: A subject cannot observe an object in its true and complete “form” (which is a multi-dimensional wave function) because as soon as an object is observed, its true and complete “form” changes (the wave function collapses to become an arrangement of particles – appearing solid or tangible). We cannot escape the conditions that allow us to exist and still be available to measure those conditions; we would cease to exist; and thus, so would everything else – at least where the now non-existant “observer” would be concerned! In other words, we can measure the contents and volume of our tea cup, but as soon as we seek to know the deeper event – the tea cup plus the observer which verifies its existence and vice-versa – we find that we cannot because yet another object, which by necessity includes a conceptual judgment, seemingly must be applied in order to define the event, which by extension perpetuates the event in its ostensible subject/object split.
So, we are left then to a kind of illusion that is very, very real to us. And in this illusion, we have another potential problem; that is, we each see something slightly different from everyone else, and thus objectivity seems almost like the mythical unicorn or tooth-fairy. When it comes to “reality,” it seems to depend on who you ask. But is this because reality is a subjective phenomenon, or because we have a difficult time seeing things objectively? People these days are often all-too-fond of the new-age perversion of quantum physics: that everything is subjective because we each see from our respective, subjective mind, and thus there is no true objectivity. But this simply isn’t true. Of course there is a degree of subjectivity no matter what – as I have outlined above – but that does not mean many people cannot observe the same facts, or that facts are somehow open to debate! Does the earth revolve around the sun, or not? Of course it does! And it doesn’t depend on perspective! However much it appears, from our earthbound perspective, that the sun revolves around the earth – it doesn’t!
Many religions and new-age spin-offs would have us believe a whole lot of conjecture based on nothing but a subjective preference to “have faith” in said conjecture – for instance: “the earth is the center of the universe and everything (including the sun) revolves around it,” as Christians were mandated to believe as early as 400 years ago. Such “hard core” believers still exist aplenty today, and our culture is so accustomed to people believing in whatever their hearts content, that it is politically incorrect to criticize anyone else’s erroneous personal beliefs. It is everyone’s right to believe what they want, of course; I do not suggest that we would do well with a law that says otherwise – in fact, that would be going backward! However, we might want to raise our standards of what we accept as plausible should we care to evolve as a humanity.
Due to centuries of uncertainty being presented as certainty, and held in the firmest conviction, it seems most of us no longer even know what to expect from objectivity. Many of us will assert that there is no “absolute Truth,” and thus there can be no “absolute objectivity.” Thus we often dismiss the notion of Truth and objectivity altogether, erroneously insisting that Truth must be “absolute” and “non-contradictory” in order to be objective. But this is a fundamental misunderstanding!
“Why call me good? Only the Whole is truly Good.”
“True perfection seems imperfect, yet it is perfectly itself.”
“Out beyond the concepts of right-doing and wrong-doing there is a field; I’ll meet you there.” ~Rumi
You see, objectivity needn’t be non-contradictory or absolute. All Truths hold contradictions – if you can find one that doesn’t, you may like to check how “true” it really is. In fact, Truth is by nature objectively contradictory – which is why it is so elusive. We see this when we observe the solidity of matter and yet know through scientific experimentation that matter isn’t actually solid – and yet no one could objectively argue otherwise. Or take for instance the Truth that day and night exist simultaneously; obviously this is a contradiction from an earthbound perspective absent further knowledge. But put yourself in the shoes of the caveman with no knowledge of this fact; from his ordinary perspective, the Truth that night and day exist simultaneously is contradictory. Likewise, from the greater perspective, the opposing conclusion is contradictory – yet still true from the earthbound perspective.
If we examine this and other phenomena in this way together, we find that objectivity depends both on the reality of the singular perspective and on the respective perspectives of others. Much in the way that each of your eyes observes a (slightly) different objective perspective, thereby offering depth perception, so too is depth of objective Knowledge only possible from two or more points of perspective. In other words, contradiction is imperative to the realization of objectivity! Beyond this, we would be setting up a standard of objectivity that is impossible to define.
The platform of subjective observation (if inclined to see clearly) becomes that which has the potential to observe objectivity (in so far as one may from their perspective), which then becomes the new subjective platform, and so on. It is in climbing this ladder of subjective/objective evolution – which by necessity involves Right Relationship and sharing with others – that supplies the Way to Know Truth, so to speak, which of course we “find” and then continue seeking ever-deeper Truth. There is no absolution, except to include everything, which is of course a contradiction.
Realizing Unity – the Being-state Beyond Duality
Now I’m no physicist, but I do understand that we must move beyond the concept of Unity/Integration/Underlying Nature to Know the actual event; mathematical equations and philosophy just won’t cut it! Thus, as soon as we apply a concept to define this Knowing, it is no longer the Knowing at all but rather an idea that is deficient as a means to define it. Therefore, the only way to Know – beyond the concept – is to become it; to BE it. And the only way to do this, wherein the subject of the self is liberated from its place as a contrasting agent to the total event, is via highly advanced and precise Meditation and Energetic Work – such as Tai Chi, Chi Gong and Tao Gong (although there are a few viable methodologies remaining). Herein, the Being-state IS the wave function and its Integrated Interplay with the wave functions of the immediate environment (and what “immediate” means here is only a limitation established by the depth of the Meditation beyond the initial “threshold” of subject/object split). Paradoxically, Herein, there is nothing but Pure Observation, albeit so far beyond concepts and identity that there is no subject – only Liberated Integration Objectively Observing Itself (the ubiquitous dissemination of Being).
When a person Enters this profound Being-state – even if only momentarily – the person begins to fundamentally Transform to the degree he/she is able to maintain the Being-state. The reason for this gradual Transformation is that this person is converging and transducing Higher Consciousness Here – in the human-realm in the present moment. The true esoteric practitioner is not attempting to alter something in the Cosmos, praying for God to deliver world peace, or attempting to bombard others with “Love and Light,” etc., but is rather Working to Transmute his/her Being using the principles and conditions available Here – thus inviting and cultivating a dynamic future potential into the Present, the accumulation and propagation of which ultimately supplies the purification of Consciousness required to effectively Work toward and achieve Enlightenment. (This is NOT to say that we can become Enlightened or “erase” our problems and karma simply by ignoring the darkness and focusing only on “Higher Consciousness;” this manner of operation is neither “higher” nor “conscious.”)
The Awakened Being upholds the greatest potential to be of Service to others – in the most Potent Way. This IS the Highest Potential and Purpose of Being. We are not Beings of Consciousness so to “figure this out,” scientifically or philosophically (though science and philosophy have their respective value in the Process) but rather to BECOME it – at least those of us sufficiently conscious to choose the Work. Our highest, most-objective applications of science, religion, philosophy, government, and relationship in general, therefore, would ideally be to support the appropriate living conditions for this Ultimate Realization within humanity as broadly as possible. At least our society ought to value the esoteric Work and support it seriously in those who are viably interested. Idealistic perhaps, but nonetheless the Way to harness our True Creative Potential as a humanity, and likely, the only way to survive as a species. This is the implementation of Right Relationship in the greater community – which would ultimately require some significant shifting in the manner by which Cosmic Energies interacts with our world.
We do our best to understand the Universe in which we live – which is reasonable – and to do this we need the faculties of judgment and quantitation. And yet even the very brightest among us cannot escape the implications of a much higher order to things beyond what we can fully comprehend, conceptually. As such, it is advised by wise mystics to Know how to not judge – or at least to spend time Working in the Non-Judgment State wherein it is possible to achieve the Integrated Being-state. With sufficient practice, Transmuting ourselves toward ever-greater clarity and objectivity, we begin to understand how to appropriately discern Universal Law and its applications, including the recognition of the applicability of Right Relationship. This is the Way to perpetuate the Work of converging and transducing the Higher Consciousness into ourselves and thus into our world. Indeed this is the True Way “forward” and “upward” (toward the Center, its Clarity, and its “Eternal Life”). This becomes objectively obvious to anyone who truly does the Work.
“He who continues to Seek will eventually Find.”
The Power and Refuge of Right Relationship
Regardless of what we may prefer to think or believe, one cannot objectively judge anything beyond one’s own immediate, in-depth, direct, experiential observation. What this means for us practically speaking, here and now, is that if our highest quality objectivity is to be employed, we do well to take even our deepest and dearest understandings to be open for renewed consideration. Our failure to do this as a society is essentially the root of our collective strife. Our ignorance is our undoing, and the subjective delusions we build atop our ignorance only deepens the quicksand. If we are to survive, we had better grow up!
In our modern age, it has become commonplace to depend on compiled concepts as “knowledge” and “truth” when actually, what may be truly Known is only what one may objectively observe for oneself through experience or effort. Even much of that which can be quantified via science or pondered via philosophy is nonetheless left to our best conceptual speculations – absent direct experience or quality insight. And even the very best information can become sullied in a variety of ways with a host of preconceived, ideological, or “politically correct” reverberations – both within ourselves and within our relationships to others, perpetuating a seriously debasing social “norm.” The same becomes true for our intuitions and instincts when folded into our impure subjectivity, personal agendas, and unconscious fears.
This is not to suggest that we ought not value our concepts, theories, intuitions, and instincts, just that we cannot objectively depend on them as a source of Knowledge, absent further Work and verification. We would do well, therefore, to Work to purify our conscious and unconscious selves, so to be sure and True in our objective discernment – which is beyond positive and negative preferences and is pointed toward a natural equilibrium. This Work allows us to make truly good use of our faculties of intuition and instinct; so to form more objective and accessible concepts and theories – irrespective of their “political” or personal implications. From this balanced place; this truly just place; this Objective-Centeredness (wherein – like water settling into equilibrium – objectivity is naturally self-correcting) conceptualization, intuition, and instinct become very powerful components to Being, rather than a clouded hindrance to understanding.
Via this type of objective clarity of Being, a natural crystallization of depth and insight becomes the platform from which our innate faculties of conceptualization, intuition, and instinct can actually verify external data in a kind of “harmonic interrelation.” We can call this insight “Natural Awareness.” It is a cultivated trait well-beyond ordinary modes of insight. It is a position of “Dynamic Centeredness” wherein everything coming into ones “scope of field” is organically held against a “Sword of Light/Knowledge/Love” that naturally cuts through untruth and reveals what is True in remarkable clarity – and more importantly, naturally Knows what to do with it; in other words, an inviolable balancing mechanism.
Therefore, external data may also be assimilated through Natural Awareness because the data is either verified or rejected by this profound depth of context and insight. It is relevant to note however that without the Work of Knowing Thyself, without the Work of fusing one’s whole Being into a Dynamic Centeredness this Natural Awareness, this “harmonic interrelation” born of depth and insight, is not possible (except in rare cases) due to unconscious subjectivity, fragmentation of being, and false identification with illusions and ideas.
Thus objectivity, practically applied, has an inherent value which supersedes all else – provided it is correctly understood. Not only is it possible for us to be clear as individuals, but also – through Right Relationship – to share our objective findings with the objective findings of others’ and together generate the applicable Knowledge-base of a society aimed toward conscious evolution and harmony – rather than our current course of global/socio-econimic entropy. Relatively few seem interested however, and the road to the Light is “by design” long and grueling. This is all the more reason why the esoteric practice must be clearly understood, why objectivity must be engaged as an inalienable aspect to Right Living, and why Right Relationship must be supported between True Practitioners. This is the “Refuge” of Right Relationship, wherein Service to others via the sharing, support and exchange of Knowledge, Energy, nurturing, and correcting, strengthens and sustains the whole community, and ultimately provides not only a better example for the world, but further, an invaluable and renewing purification of the Collective Energy Field.
This IS what our Time of Transition is all about. We each have a choice: evolve into objective clarity of Being, or remain in rapid decent into non-being.
The Applicability of Objectivity = Equanimity In Action
Only when we operate from this “Dynamic Centeredness” and Natural Awareness via consistent practice do we come to truly understand the deeper nature of the applicability of objectivity, which is a component to what we can call Equanimity In Action – or “Equanimous Flow.” This is very difficult to explain, as conceptually, “equanimity in action” is a paradox for the mind. It is only in cultivated and Integrated body/mind/energy harmony (each with their respective harmonies) that it can be understood. To save a lengthy explanation, for now we can express the phenomenon as: Energy movement that remains rooted in stillness, its origin. It is the Natural Being of Objective Clarity, wherein no untruth can unsettle it or block it. It is being able to remain unaffected by resistance, and allowing the energy of the resistance to fold back into itself – either neutralizing itself or destroying itself. In any case, Equanimous Flow is the Right Action born of Equanimity of Being – it is objectivity cutting through the nonsense. It requires consistent practice and cultivation, both in Meditation and in one’s powers of objective discernment.
In judging absent a full scope of understanding, it is most often the case that the best we can do is compound our misapprehension of things, hence contributing to our own illusions. Moreover, we entangle ourselves unnecessarily in karma that may otherwise need not concern us, or even miss an opportunity to avoid further entanglement into karma that does! In other words, if we are able to remain objective and Equanimous to strong and inexplicable events of our karmic happenstance – accepting it completely without identifying with it – we immediately begin to liberate ourselves from it. And the measure to which we may achieve this Equanimous Acceptance is the measure to which we untangle our karmic knots – and furthermore converge with higher-frequencies of possibility which ultimately set our course for the future (individually and collectively). The principle works both ways, you see: should we judge by a harsh or erroneous measure, we are ourselves entangled to this measure; where we permit Equanimous Flow instead, to that measure we neutralize our involvement karmically/energetically/hyperdimensionally, and liberate ourselves to ever-finer probabilities of True Being.
This should not be confused with choking down and bottling problems, refusing to face difficulty, enabling conflict via apathy or cowardice, nor restraining from necessary actions. Such leads only to blockage and damage of the body, mind, and energy, and ultimately karmic entanglement. Where energy cannot flow freely or is excessively expressed, degradation occurs. Employing the Power inherent to the Realization of Right Relationship involves allowing the energies to flow naturally without getting stuck on or influenced by contamination in one’s mind-body-energy system. While the practice of non-judgment, detachment and dispassion are the seed and fertile soil of this Power, it is Equanimous Flow that becomes the fruit of virtue. To achieve this requires impeccability of awareness, disillusion of self-righteousness, dissolving of contamination and blockage, inner management of one’s Mind and Energy, and Realization of the True Nature of Right Relationship. This Work can be done by anyone with sincerity and the resolute will to observe objectively, however to attain completely requires a functional method and guidance.
At whatever level, it remains subjective misapprehension of “self” versus “not-self” and the further misjudgments therein that perpetuates affliction and suffering. Where there is clarity, Right Relationship is Realized. This is not about making personal choices to see everything as “beauty” and “light,” or quixotic assertions that there is no such thing as right or wrong, good or evil, etc. These things do exist at the level of relativity and we do well to observe them. What is important is how we observe, and pretending that there is nothing wrong, or pretending to be beyond right and wrong, is surely wrong – as is needing artificial laws and moral codes to tell us what is wrong, when we ought to know intuitively! Unfortunately, most no longer do because centuries of so-called social progress have ultimately comprised of spiritual degradation under the global and cultural dissemination of artificial information, cooked “facts,” superstitions, and adverse manipulation by religions and governments, leaving the masses duped and complacent – effectively perpetuating a kind of collective haze, obscuring objectivity or even applicable subjectivity. The paradigm is so clouded by layers of unconscious preconditions and collective fears that even intuition is almost impossible to discern, much less obey. And many who have tried to see their way to some measure of understanding are most often left with little on which to rely and end up with gross oversimplifications and new-age gimmicks, which only further supplant objectivity and sound reasoning in the name of “Love and Light,” “We are All One,” and “The Power of Now” – which are all of course good things, and very compelling concepts, however absent any real potency without serious introspection and Work via a proven method and mentorship.
And yet beyond it all, once Realized, when you experience and abide in the True Being, you do not need to judge it; you do not need to sit there and say, “this is good.” You may if you like, but neither the material “you” nor the Being of “you” requires this commentary for the experience to BE what it truly IS. And Herein, the observer and the observed are One. Indeed, in a Integration beyond describability, the relationship is no more. Even to call it “One” somehow does not do it justice; rather it is the Being In-Between Itself and Itself. This is the Consciousness beyond the spilt – the Objective Beauty in the Great Eye of the Observer.
© 2014, All Rights Reserved, SevenStars TaiChi TaoTemple and Gregory James, Master of TaiChi Tao, TaoTemple.org. Sharing this article online with a back-link is appreciated. If sharing in print form, permission is required. info@TaoTemple.org
The practical implications of this essay will be further expounded in my next post, conveying the applicability of objectivity and Right Relationship through the Power inherent to Universal Law. Please subscribe to this blog by clicking the “follow” button to the right of this page; you will therefore receive email notifications of future posts. (Your email address will not be shared or sold.)