Theory vs. Practice (And The Trick To Mastering Both)

Theory vs. Practice (And The Trick To Mastering Both)

2017 will be a challenging year, and there are three ways you can respond to it:

  1. Denial – you can resort to denial, repression, ignoring, or procrastinating on underlying issues in your life. Keeping you stuck in a stalemate of life.
  2. Coping – you can decide you will find someway to overcome your suffering through material or physical means – you may decide the way to solve your internal problems lies in making more money, buying a new house, getting a new husband, getting a new house, buying new clothes or new gadgets, having more kids, moving, or going on a trip. But the issues of 2017 will all be internal ones and so coping by seeking an attachment in the external world will not help you. No matter how far you run you will not be able to escape how you feel inside and no material thing or external thing will work – we’ve reached a point of no return where the illusion that the material universe can bring you peace and joy will all but evaporate.
  3. Healing – this is the path of love and the path of truth. It’s you sitting down with all your issues and working through them in a slow incremental way that does not avoid the ugly facts. This is the path you must take in the new year, to every challenge you have in the new year, whenever a it comes to you, go within with love. Do not try at first to solve it by external physical means, part of the reason the external is happening is to drive you back into the internal to heal the root of your problems.

Mother Earth is going to push us in the direction of healing this year, but it is we who must choose this wise path, if we don’t, and result to our old ways of coping or outright denial we will meet with increased suffering.

Life: A Practice 

Our soul is made of the strongest stuff.

Our heart can shout “No please – I can’t take it anymore!!!”

Our mind can scream “It’s impossible for me to accept it – I’m overwhelmed – exhausted – it’s too much!”

Our body can say “oh not again! More pain? Why?! God why!?”

But dive deep into the soul and no matter what challenge presents itself I guarantee your spirit whispers:

“Ah, darkness, hello there. so we meet again? You shall be the fulcrum from which I shall bring forth my greatest light. 

My foot shall press firmly on your neck at the end of this fight, you will soon see!”

Anchor yourself not in emotion, not in thought and not in body – the only thing that shall ground you is your soul – and your soul is made of stronger stuff.

I guarantee it.

But this truth means nothing in theory. It is all about you practicing that truth and realizing that this truth is true for you, too.

In truth, spirituality is not a theoretical, intellectual thing. it’s not a you reading quotes that make you feel all warm and fuzzy for a second and then you forget about it –thing.

Spirituality is a constant practice because life is always testing you and you have to respond to life with who you really are.

Spirituality asks – “Oh your’re a good person, eh? Here’s a betrayal, can you still choose to be good? Or are you gonna slip and become a vindictive bitter person all the rest of your life?”

Spirituality asks – “oh your faith is strong, eh? You just lost everything, can you still keep the faith now? Or are you gonna slip into hopelessness despair and negativity allthe rest of your life?”

Spirituality asks – “oh your’re a moral person, eh? You’ve just been put in a spot where you are asked to follow immoral people asking you to accept and participate in immoral acts that will benefit you but hurt others, can you still be righteous in that situation? Or are you gonna slip and put your own selfish needs above the collective needs because it makes you feel better and more powerful and more in control to be a bully?”

This spirituality thing – it ain’t easy. It’s not the stuff of optimistic bumper sticker quotes, when you get down to it: empathy is hard, forgiveness is challenging, being thoughtful, kind and considerate when all you want to do is hurt the person who hurt you is about the bravest and strongest thing you can do.

Spirituality is a practice – it’s not a quote you read, smile about it for a bit, and get on with a sense of complacency about your life.

Nope.

Spirituality is a real, raw, teary-eyed, shouting, shivering and–yes, at times—devastating journey into peace, opennesses, and deeper love.

You don’t get to enlightenment through just talking spiritual truths.

You don’t get to enlightenment by just reading spiritual truths – you get there by living them–especially when it’s hard. Most importantly when it’s hard.

Today life’s challenge is a blunt question: “so who you gonna be? You gonna keep the faith? You gonna keep being good? You gonna keep being righteous?”

Or will you slip?

Spirituality is beautiful in its ugliness.

You can quote me on that.

Theory is Born of Practice

If there are any theories worth having, they are those born of experience and practice. It is born of experiential knowledge. So I ask you to test every theory I have shared on this blog, to see if it works for you first, before you say it is false or ineffective.

In that way you can ensure that it is not your ego that is clouding your judgement and that you truly can live out the truths that I have proposed.

Your own theories ought to be tested out through experience and practice first before they are shared with others. Go out and be your own guinea pig, see what works and see what doesn’t: its theory-development through observation.

We are all theorists and philosophers in that sense, able to witness the natural world and see patterns and do our own tests. We might have different interpretations of what we experience but the experience itself cannot be invalidated. This is how you arrive at sound theory – not by simply regurgitating what has been said to you by other philosophers.

I am not so much a philosopher as someone who found philosophy ineffective for me personally and so I fell into the practice of listening, observing and testing.

I lost faith and turned to logic, then logic failed me and so I turned inward to my soul. And the soul taught me the value of practice and experience.

This restored my faith, and granted me a trust I did not have before, when I thought having faith was just trusting the external world; practice also restored my sense of logic, and it granted me a trust in logic I did not have before, when I thought logic could help get me all my answers (and that those answers it couldn’t give me were not important or just irrevocably lost.)

To master both practice and theory you must live, and you must put your theories to the test, and you must let practice fashion your theory, and you must leave all illusions behind.

You must care not that you offend old, dead philosophers, or living ones who shout (red-in the-face) that their theories alone are enough to help you by raising the screaming of it to its highest pitch.

Have the courage to make the theorists and the philosophers skirm in their cozy little boots and wish they had tested their own theories first to prove the soundness of the assertion, before enshrining it in gold. 

And have the courage to live a life in which the values you hold dear prove themselves to be worthy of the holding, and of the teaching, and of the passing on.

Values are not values until they prove themselves of value to you. Theories aren’t theories if they don’t work: they’re just falsehoods.

What no one can escape is the truth that can only be found through practice.

Much love,

Ollin

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Categories: Writer's Journal