Having ideals is generally looked upon not only as noble but also important. We're encouraged to cultivate and maintain hopes, dreams and ideals by which to guide our life and shape our future. If we're lacking in these, something is often thought to be lacking in us.
The ideals we pick up are many, from the small to the gigantic, and most of us carry a mixed bag of ideals with us throughout our lives, adding new ones along the way. These can vary from something as simple as doing our best in our daily life to something as major as actively working for world peace.
Worthy ideals, right? Well, actually... what makes you so sure? Have you ever examined your own ideals? If so, have you asked yourself if they truly serve you (and the world) -- more than merely serving a mental image you've attached to?
When we start to look within and pick apart the things that aren't really true or authentic about ourselves (i.e., the egoic self), it's actually a lot easier to spot and recognize the things we consider negative (anger, greed, jealousy, etc.) and let those go, than it is to spot and recognize the things we consider worthy and positive and let even those go.
We like to imagine that those "positive" things, like our spiritual beliefs, morals and ideals, for example, surely must be reflections of our authentic, non-egoic, self. But how can we be sure about this? Especially if we've never really looked at these or loosened our grip on them to see what would happen if we did?
Just like "negative" thoughts and outlooks eventually start to be seen and released as we go deeper into our authentic self, so also must "positive" thoughts and outlooks be willingly surrendered if we are truly sincere in our search for mental freedom.
This doesn't necessarily mean we will no longer be moved to promote world peace, if that's what we've been doing. It only means there must be a willingness to sacrifice even what we believe about world peace and our role in it, if we really want to know what is authentic and true for us beyond the beliefs and ideals we adopted from others and from society at large and took on as our own without even questioning.
The fact is that our ideals, no matter how loving, spiritual or world-saving, ultimately become our greatest limitations if we cling to them. They keep us trapped in our notions of what is true and important in life, instead of allowing us to open to what actually is true.
They keep us, even if very subtly, hoping, expecting and wanting things to be the way we envision they should be. And then we're no longer allowing in the true freedom that is free from any demands and expectations, no matter how subtle.
What if life doesn't match up with our ideals and never will?
What if all our ideals are just as false as our negative thought patterns? Can we accept this possibility?
How badly do we want truth? Enough to let go of not only our negative notions and beliefs, but also the positive ones that we hold so dear?
Are we willing to let go of everything?
Only when we are will we really, truly have eyes that are able to see what lies underneath all our notions, eyes that see things as they are without any filters blocking true seeing.
Just a gal experimenting with what it means to live outside of mind.
Read more about Notes to Self, the "manual" on living beyond mind.