Originally Posted by Hari.c
Somehow I couldn’t understand the process Steve explained to get hold of spiritual perception. All his other articles I read were very easy to understand. This one I am unable to. If someone can simplify this I would be grateful.
Hard to explain without knowing exactly what you're confused about. But here are some ideas to help you see what Steve is talking about. Once you've gotten the hang of learning a different perspective, you start to see the benefits. But it's sometimes hard to see good in viewpoints that contradict the ones we hold. And it's hard to accept - after you've studied a viewpoint, understood it, and then decided that it's not true - that this false viewpoint can still have advantages.
Practice understanding other viewpoints. If you're an artist and thing that the greatness of the universe lies in the human soul, take an astronomy class or a physics class, and see if you can find some part of you that agrees that the universe is a pretty darn cool place outside
the human soul, too. You don't have to agree
with the scientists. And you may, in the end, decide that you still think the human soul is more impressive. But see if you can understand where they're coming from. If you're a scientist who thinks humanities majors are fluffy and full of BS, do the opposite.
Study a religion you've never studied before. You don't have to convert.
But see if you can understand what they're saying to the point where you could explain it to a buddy using examples from your life. (Like, "This religion says that every bad thing happens for a good reason. Like on my trip when the bus broke down, but it meant we got to see a Kachina dance when we otherwise wouldn't have, so it turned out to be a good thing.")
Take a truth that you hold to be self-evident, like "You can't learn foreign languages as an adult," or "There is a God," or "Anyone who has money stole it from someone else," or "Our purpose on this earth is to help other people." Find someone who disagrees with it. Ask them to explain their viewpoint to you. Don't argue, and don't interrupt except to clarify. You don't have to agree
with them or change your mind, but you have to accept that they believe this thing, and it works for them, so there must be some benefit to it.
When I was in high school, we had an essay assigned to us that was something like this: Pick three disciplines or ways of knowing the world, such as scientist, historian, anthropologist, or theologist. Explain how each of them might view and think of:
a) A flower
b) A statue
c) A photograph
d) um... I can't remember what the other one was. Make something up.
At the time, I thought it was a fairly pointless essay. But after reading Steve's post, I think the purpose of it was to show how a very simple object (I mean, it's a flower. What can you disagree on about a flower?) can mean very different things to different people.
Learn a foreign language. There are often grammatical forms for concepts we don't even use in English. Or words that we don't have a word for. (Some of which we should
... like the French phrase for, "The insult that is perfect for the situation and would devastate your opponent, except that you thought of it about 30 seconds too late.") Language reflects people's viewpoints, and learning it can help you learn about other perspectives.
Hang out with people from different walks of life. This could be as complex as traveling to Baghdad or Calcutta, or as simple as going to a restaurant in a lower-class or higher-class part of town. Talk to someone of a different ethnicity, religious background, country.
Do a 30-day trial pretending that some belief of yours is not true. Adopt a secret identity as an atheist, or an upper-middle-class CEO. You don't have to actually believe that there is no God, but say to yourself every day, "If I thought
that there were no God, what would I do today?"
Try a few of those ideas, and see what happens. What I usually find is that there's parts I think are a bit loony, and parts I think are really helpful. From LDS church, I took the idea that the whole point of having an omnipresent aspect of God is so that God can always be there to help you out ... so try ASKING FOR HELP! I've mostly ignored the ideas that women are inferior to men and that genealogy has a say in your afterlife. From Buddhism I've taken the ideas that you must be aware of the consequences of your actions, and that people often have no clue what would make them happy. But I reject the idea that abandoning the physical world is the ideal. The Hopi believe that the creator put them on the top of a rock in the middle of the desert because it prevents them from being lazy and self-indulgent: when you have to scramble and pray every year in order to have food, you're very unlikely to turn your back on God. I keep that in mind whenever I face hardship, or whenever I'm tempted by materialism -- but I'm not sure that I believe that the Hopi's dances keep the earth spinning properly on its axis. The Dinee believe that the most important thing people can do, the #1 priority in every life, is to live in Hohzho - which is translated as beauty, or as peace, or as harmony, or as unity, and which encompasses all that and more. Every moment should be lived in beauty. They also believe that the presence of a corpse causes disease - which was true prior to the invention of soap, but is a bit outdated now, imho.
So see what works for you. You don't have to throw your old beliefs out, but be open to the idea that there are other good ideas out there. As carenkh says, I might be wrong - you might be right.