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Don't Brush Your Teeth with a Hammer

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Q: Could you please help me get clear on the question of waking up and having an opinion or judgment? It seems to me that all opinions would also be no-self, they appear and at the same time can be a judgment. Just because someone awakes to their no-self nature doesn't mean that they immediately become a nice guy lacking opinions...would you agree?

A: Good question! The human aspect of our nature continues after any big spiritual realization and so yes, the apparent person still has opinions and judgments galore :)

The difference in my experience is that there is a much greater degree of flexibility to hold the opinions lightly. They are seen to be relative and not that important, so when they are not needed or are even getting in the way, they can be dropped more easily. This is also relative and some deeper layers of conditioning might be stickier and so would tend to arise more often and interfere more often.

All there is...is truth. So every opinion and judgment has some truth in it (although some have very, very little), so they all can also be useful in certain circumstances. That is part of why they do not go away...because they are still useful sometimes.

Narrow opinions and judgments are not bad or wrong, they are just of very limited usefulness. Like a tool that does only one job well. The problem is when we use that same "tool" to try and do lots of things. Imagine if you used a hammer to open a jar of pickles or to brush your teeth! It would not work out so well. An extremely narrow or limited viewpoint can even be more dangerous than a hammer if it is applied indiscriminately.

The flexibility of awareness that tends to come with spiritual awakening means you can move in and out of different perspectives and viewpoints and over time, this tends to make someone more adept at moving into the perspective or viewpoint that is most appropriate and functional in the moment. But no one is perfect and even the most enlightened person can still pick up the wrong "tool" now and then :)

I hope this helps.

Note: Nirmala invites questions for this blog. You can contact him using the form here.

Juvenile Emperor Angelfish

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