L´earning to Love
Gloria Ornelas Hall
Lesson THREE: Be present
Michael Specter gave a talk on TED, about the “Danger of Science Denial”. He argues that through the scientific method we could solve most of the world problems, were it not for people’s “opinion” and “wishful thinking” overpowering objective evidence.
He says: “Be skeptical. Ask. But when proved wrong, accept it”.
Righteousness, like science is not determined by a democratic, majority vote. Things are, whether we agree or not. Wisdom begins when one doubts one´s own judgment; halting before giving an opinion.
“Never fully trust what you hear or what you see”, my grandfather used to say.
But I would add, ‘Question your own judgment, and don´t believe what you say’.
Maybe it´s only my judgment and opinion, that shouldn´t be trusted. But ever since I stopped ‘thinking’, this year… I´ve been so much happier! No more internalized judgment, resentment, frustration, internal endless regretting and nagging about things that have to get done, and how. Just silence, peaceful acceptance, awareness of authentic feelings and a more humane response to my immediacy. This has given me much-sought-after ‘enjoyment’.
I commented about this as we toasted over Christmas wishes, my ex-husband, step-son, daughter and I (family ties I try to keep alive, through extended-family bonds of love). Each identified and shared their personal hallmarks during the year. I said I had never been so happy. Things hadn´t changed, but I had just stopped trying to control them; stopped feeling responsible for their outcome; stopped feeling guilty. My ex-husband was horrified as he realized he had never had that feeling.
I myself am a Medical Epidemiologist accustomed to scientific research and evidence-based statistics. But this new freedom from ‘reality’, as I had conceived it, has given me a new horizon. It is as if the first fifty years of my life had been about climbing and reaching success-filled summits…
and now as I walk down the other side of the mountain of life, having reached what I had thought was the peak of ambition, I see a whole new world, set within a framework of different rules. I am no longer encumbered by futile burdens..with a ‘laisser faire’ freedom and enjoyment of life, down-hill!
So as I heard Michael Specter..I wondered. This new experience of passive acceptance has thrown me into the arms of trust and blind faith. I definitely believe linear cause and effect, when demonstrated, defines events, occurred, in the past. However science cannot fully determine future events.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, the American romantic philosopher and poet that explored man´s essence through self-awareness and knowledge, redefined the idea of self, from that of ‘selfishness’ to new compound expressions of "self-realization," "self-expression," "self-reliance."
He said: “If, self and nature are one, self-awareness is not a selfish dead end but a mode of knowledge opening up the universe. If self is one with humanity, then the individual has a moral duty to reform social inequalities and relieve human suffering.”
He defined two ways to reach an ideal: One is from reality, upwards; from the past towards the future. The other is from the ideal downwards; from the future, to the past. Scientific methodology traces steps from objective reality towards subjective idealism; whilst subjective idealism traces steps from inspiration of the sublime, down through steps of awe and reverence, into the beauty and deeds manifest, within human comprehension. The act of loving stands in the present.