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The Blossom Pales In Comparison

Can you name one problem you have right now that is not connected to the past or future?

“Learning appears as a process of remembering. The soul, before its incarnation in the body, was in the realm of Ideas. There it saw things the way they truly are, rather than the pale shadows we experience on earth. By a process of questioning, the soul can be brought to remember the ideas in their true form, thus bringing wisdom.”

To see things the way they truly are is to observe without judgment.

Socrates favored truth as the highest value. The discovery of truth as the determinant for one's actions was the greater good, and each person should, above all else, seek truth to guide one's life. To seek truth in life is to seek true reality.

True reality is the essence of enlightenment which brings peace and calm to the soul.

The word dialectic originates from ancient Greece. Dialectic was made popular by Plato in the Socratic Dialogues. The dialectical method is dialogue between two or more people who wish to establish the truth of two positions. It involves a three level process; position, counter position and the integration or “synthesis” of the two positions.

Modern philosophy finds a place for everything human and natural in a dialectical scheme that repeatedly swings to higher and richer synthesis of truth and change. G. Hegel applied a philosophy of dialectics to the problems of history and culture, establishing a dialectical world view. Hegel would also compare processes of human thought and nature from a dialectical perspective.

Dr. Marsha Linehan states the dialectical perspective on the nature of reality and human behavior share three primary characteristics.

(1)Each position holds opposites.

(2)All positions are integrated in the whole and are only effective as they function within the whole.

(3)Processes of integration allow for continuous change in the content and structure of the whole.

The following passage was influenced by Thich Nhat Hanh. I try to illustrate the laws of the nature of reality as Linehan applies them.

Green spirals spring from the earth
Life’s refreshing process of recovery
The blossom pales in comparison
Mere evidence of a beautiful synthesis
Sun and rain, earth and atmosphere

All life evolves following the form of a spiral, revolving while continuously changing. The first two lines of the passage symbolize process and change.

The blossom of the flower tends to dominate our focus. It is universally connected to beauty, a quality seen as desirable. The blossom of a flower is visualized as the content and structure.

I chose the blossom to symbolize ideal visions we have for our lives. These ideas tend to dominate our focus as what we envision for ourselves, seen as beautiful or desirable. Thoughts of what could have been, if only I would have done things differently. Ideas of what will be, when I get through this hardship, or accomplish a particular objective.

Reality applies to these desired ideas and the blossom equally.

Through the process of reproduction the blossom effectively functions within the whole. Our ideal visions or thoughts of the past and future should effectively function within a process of our lives as well.

To express this in Linehan's dialectical perspective on the nature of reality and human behavior, I will restate:

(1) Each position holds opposites.

For one example; our thoughts of the past and future can be used for learning and motivation or they could culminate into depression and anxiety.

(2)All positions are integrated in the whole and are only effective as they function within the whole.

When we focus on dissatisfaction with the content and structure of our lives in the form of depression over the past and anxiety about the future, we fail to focus on change and process in the form of behavior now that can effectively change our lives, a true form of ideas.

The focus for Socrates, Hegel and Linehan is the integration of true ideas with effective behavior.

(3)Processes of integration allow for continuous change in the content and structure of the whole.

Effectively integrating our past and present experiences allows for the reality of continuous change in our world.

Linehan places the focus on process and change as opposed to content and structure. Process and change work to continuously form and reform the very content and structure that consumes so much of our focus.

To put it simply, “Life is what happens to us while we are busy worrying, planning and living our lives.”

Awareness of continuous change in positions of our lives and environment can help us to prepare for life’s ever-forming counter positions. Personally, my history of losing focus when things are going well in my life fuels my interest in mindfulness and the dialectical perspective.

I have learned to practice a synthesis of lessons learned with acceptance in the moment while maintaining awareness to life’s oppositions and realities. The nature of reality is continuous change, this causes both sadness and happiness to be temporary and dissatisfaction to be persistent. Mindfulness and understanding of this reality forms the path to ending suffering from dissatisfaction and finding peace.
 
Dialectical thinking also involves the integration of opposing thoughts.

Just as the positions of ‘Sun and rain, earth and atmosphere’, from the passage, we to must learn to effectively integrate positions within the whole.

For instance, worry is a common emotion, but when we attach judgment to the emotion we may begin to culminate depression and anxiety.

Depression has been connected to worrying over the past. Anxiety has been connecting to worrying about the future. We can easily apply Dialectics to this dilemma.

Let’s integrate the positions of past and future through a dialectical method of seeking a common position of the two. We discover the only common position (literally and figuratively) is the position of now. Now is positioned after the past and before the future.

The position of now is free of the depression connected to the past and free of the anxiety connected to the future.

Can you name one problem you have right now that is not connected to the past or future?

Through mindfulness and practice we can learn to live in the present moment, where our ideas can be brought forward in their true form, bringing wisdom.

Practice: “Living in the Now”.

Socrates, through his dialectical method emphasized learning as a process of questioning. He spoke of searching our soul, extracting and examining our original and true nature, to bring about truth and wisdom. In Zen it is said, everything we need we already have, although a skillful means may be needed to bring about enlightenment.

If we believe Socrates, Hegel and Linehan that the dialectical thought process leads to truth in reality, then non dialectical thinking involves thinking outside the realm of reality.

Our ‘blossom’, or ideal visions, however beautiful, are not the nature of true reality.

Practice appreciating the beauty in the person you were yesterday as integrated with the person you are today.

Practice appreciating the beauty in the synthesis of life.

The blossom pales in comparison.


gsparky22 gsparky22 41-45, M Jul 5, 2012

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