Mindfulness and Who Do I Believe

Leave the first response May 3, 2014 / Posted in Mindful Leadership, Mindfulness


The paths to enlightenment are as numerous as there are people. Some gain it in an instant. Others struggle for years. Some never attain it.

Carl Sagan in this interview with Charlie Rose touches on this topic of learning what we need to learn. He speaks to our need to be educated (life-long learners) and to practice our education and skepticism.

I remember learning many years ago: If I think and believe that I am right in what I think about something and I am incorrect; then I will not change my thinking.

If you ask anyone in the United States what color is a Yield sign; more often than not you’ll get the answer: Yellow. Yet Yield signs in the US have not been yellow since we adopted the National Signage Code back in the late 1980’s. If you just thought that they are Yellow, you’ll realize how righteousness can get in the way of seeing what is.

We often hear: We learn from our experience. While the reality is that we learn from our interpretation of the experience. Two people can have the same experience. One has a transforming experience that changes the course of their life for the positive. For the other it becomes the trauma they live and suffer with for the rest of their lives.

One of my early posts was titled: Seeking Personal Experience and Personal Authority. In it I shared the Kalama Sutra.

James Hollis in his book, Finding Meaning In The Second Half of Life, touches on this issue under what he calls “personal authority” or more appropriately the recovery of personal authority. He shared what Buddha said in the Kalama Sutra in these words: “Personal Authority means to find what is true for oneself and to live it in the world.”

Some quotes from Buddha to bring home the point

It is wrong to think that misfortunes come from the east or from the west; they originate within one’s own mind. Therefore, it is foolish to guard against misfortunes from the external world and leave the inner mind uncontrolled.~ Buddha

As the Fletcher whittles and makes straight his arrows, so the master directs his straying thoughts. All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think, we become.~ Buddha

We are what we think. All that we are arises With our thoughts. With our thoughts, We make our world.~ Buddha

Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.~ Buddha

Here is an animated version of the story of the Kalama people.

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