Where Do Opinions Come From?

Have you ever had a very strong opinion about something even before finding the exact right words to express it?

It is an odd sensation. You have this very firm stance but no way to explain it. Not to anyone else, and not even to yourself. If someone else around you were to express an opinion on the same subject you would know right away whether or not you agreed with it, but still you can’t verbalize what your own view is. So my primary questions is this:

Where is this unexpressed opinion?

How does it exist at all without the words, or even the thoughts, to back it up? It is just this feeling you have. And there’s almost this yearning for it to be manifested. The longer you go without finding the words the more frustrated you become. You don’t even know what it is and your entire focus is on figuring out how to express it and share it with the world.

And as that opinion remains in existence only as a feeling, where did that feeling itself come from? It could be a reaction to some current event, but without a clear thought to guide the reaction, why did I react at all?

Ultimately, we usually find a way to express ourselves to our satisfaction. And oh, what a wonderful feeling it is! To be released from that burden of our unexpressed view of the world. Finally we can carry-on with our day to day lives. But the one lingering question that remains is:

Why do I cherish my opinions?

I must identify myself to some extent with the quality of my opinion. But in the same breath I must not be satisfied with my own judgment of its worth. Instead, I need to express it and receive that validation externally. That almost sums up a great deal of the blogging world. How much would I really blog if I received zero likes on every post?

It is one of the most persistent flaws in my character that I sometimes place the worthiness of my existence in the hands of others. But it is not so powerful now as I am obviously aware of it … to a certain degree.

Is there a place for opinion in the spiritual journey?

There is a zen saying “Do not seek the truth, just cease to cherish opinions.” It does not say to stop having opinions. Almost every spiritual teacher or guru that I have come across appears to have opinions about various things in the world. The one exception may be the great sage Ramana Maharshi who spent years in absolute silence during which time he produced no opinion of any sort.

However, I do think that while we dwell in this physical realm we need to gather as many opinions as possible and use them as guidance in our journey. There are obviously those whose opinion speaks more directly to our soul and we must listen to them intently. We must trust our feelings. Even that intense feeling that ultimately morphs into a verbalized opinion.

So I must tell myself that my opinion is not who I am, it is where I am. It is where I am mentally, spiritually, and physically. And it must be acknowledged and honored in order to move onto the next phase of my journey.