Recently, I posted on twitter and on my Facebook page a quote from spiritual teacher, author and philosopher, Vernon Howard (1918-1992). I receive his quotes daily from the New Life Foundation, which he founded in 1979. It said:
“To see oneself as either good or bad is to not yet know oneself, for real self-knowing is above these opposite labels.”
I received, in response, numerous comments and interpretations. Two of them were:
From Anja (quoting 13th Century mystic/poet Rumi): “Out beyond ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
Judy wrote (quoting Irish author/therapist/speaker Owen Fitzpatrick):There is a fundamental truth that you are going to be with only one person your entire life. Like it or not, that person is going to be with you 24-7 in every single moment you exist. That person is going to determine how successful or effective you become. The relationship you create with that person is extremely important. That person is yourself.”
Both of those interpretations provided much to think about (which, as a reader of Vernon Howard, I believe is exactly what he wants). Rumi’s quote seems to tell us that it’s not even a matter of in-between, but outside of the “good/bad” dichotomy (either/or) altogether.
Fitzpatrick’s quote, while on one hand, discussing personal responsibility, also seems to say that while we need to be aware of our “good” and “bad” aspects, it’s certainly best not to define ourselves that way in the entirety.
And, I’m sure there’s much more to Howard’s quote. Your thoughts?