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.

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10 thoughts on “Where Do Opinions Come From?”

  1. I love this post! I know that feeling you speak of. I agree it is a culmination of where we are…but then I think there are times that it is a direct communication from our soul!! And I try very hard to “listen!” Thank you for sharing! ❤

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    1. Thanks Lorrie for your kind words! I believe that when are completely silent in all manners we are in direct communication with our true self, or our soul. But since my ego still survives and I am rarely, if ever, completely both silent and aware, my soul must work with the ego as it guides me to my true nature. I can never be absolutely sure if I am motivated by pure ego, or my soul, so I must accept whatever is and carry on.

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  2. Opinions come from the ego mind. Strong reactions often come from the gut. Their origins are based in fear and survival.
    Bring awareness to our opinions and we begin to notice our judgments of others.
    Judging separates us from others and takes us off the spiritual path.
    At the end of the day though we are human beings, and with that comes ego. 🙂

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    1. Awareness is the key for sure. When opinions arise that are judgmental or negative in nature I say to myself that it is enough that I am aware of them and need do nothing more about it. If I don’t judge these judgments they cease to become mine, or me 🙂 Thanks for reading Val!

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  3. I have opinions but am ambivalent about them – I’m a relativist at heart. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of any opinion I’ve ever held in the past that turned out to be perfectly correct. Therefore, never take any notice of what I say Graham. 😉

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    1. Ha! Too funny. Wisdom has little to do with right or wrong and you have that in spades. Also, Check out my post “On Vigilance and Being Present” as Gautam (the guy in the video) has commented on the post, and your comments. Cheers!

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  4. I agree on the importance of surrounding and exposing ourselves to many different opinions than our own. I watched a Youtube video Anthene’s Theory of Everything, God is in the Neurons this week that talks about how when we are exposed to a conflicting opinion than our own, our brains will actually go into the same mode as if we were going to be attacked by a wild animal…very primitive part of ourselves. On The Daily Show with John Stewart he had a guest who wrote a book about how when we consort with like-minded individuals, our existing positions/opinions are reinforced and become even more extreme than before meeting with the group. Glad I stumbled in here — enjoyed this topic and your take on it! Very timely topic.

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    1. Thanks for your great comment saymber! It is when we have aligned our very existence with an opinion that we ignite that fight or flight mode when someone dares oppose us. Should our opinion be proven “wrong” then we will cease to exist, at least in our egos. I can definitely see the benefit with seeking out those who see the world differently than us, even if sometimes that can be frightening.

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