I found myself in a position yesterday where my opinion was being challenged and I was unable to adequately defend it. That kind of left me reeling. I still felt I was “right” but I was on shaky ground. I felt frustrated that someone was telling me I was wrong and I had no response. I felt like I was being pushed somewhere I didn’t want to go. So this morning I went searching for an Eckhart teaching on opinions and came across the following passage on his website. It helped put things in perspective.
Your first responsibility is not to identify with a position. Everybody has to practice that one way or another. It’s a beautiful practice. It’s expressed in Zen. I don’t remember who said it, some Zen master said, “Don’t seek for the truth – just cease cherishing opinions”. And that’s enough. Many spiritually inclined people look for the ‘truth’ – hopefully at some point within, but first it starts outside. But don’t look for the truth, not even within, just stop cherishing opinions. Cherishing, not having. It doesn’t say stop having opinions, because that would be difficult – maybe a very advanced practice. Even I have some opinions, about Fox News, and so on – but cherishing means to identify with the opinion, to be in the thought. And then it gives you your sense of “I”. Then anybody who has a different or conflicting position becomes a kind of enemy. Then you’re trapped in form. This is a very common human condition. Most humans on the planet derive their identity from their thoughts. So the thought is invested with self. Maybe this is another way of speaking about the essential truth of the Buddha, who discovered that this sense of ‘self’ is an illusion. You derive your sense of self from form – because every thought is a thought-form. It’s an energy field.