Dying Daily #175: Mindfulness and Opinions

We rarely experience the world as it really is.

Maybe we never experience the world as it really is.

Instead, we live in a constant engagement with our shaped perceptions, which in turn causes us to live in our opinions on things.

Think of all the things you have an opinion on.

Music, movies, the roads, the weather, what kind of house or apartment you have, your car, how you neighbor’s place looks, your spouse, your kids, daylight savings time. That’s all just scratching the surface. 

Now, think of how much impact your opinion has on any of these things.

I have never seen the weather change because of someone’s opinion on it, or a movie get better or a new house magically appear.

And that’s the problem with opinions: they only change us, not reality.

It doesn’t even matter if you opinion is valid or not, and, chances are, your opinion is nowhere near as airtight as you think it is. Most of what we like and don’t like is conditioned in us and based on familiarity rather than facts. I actually like the Minions movie now that I have seen it a dozen or so times. Radio works the same way. So do ads and commercials.

Republican or Democrat, Capitalist or Socialist, Belieber or Metalhead, Cowboy or Eagle fan, none of this is real and none of it matters. All sides could produce volumes of evidence as to why their side is best and the other side is terrible and they would believe it to be unimpeachable and of the highest integrity.

All just opinions.

There are a few benefits to challenging our opinions, like being less annoying to others.

I have been known to be a little opinionated in my less-than-best moments, and it hasn’t ever made me a friend. It has only served to put me in opposition to others and to try to dominate conversations. I still have opinions.  Lots and lots of them. But I try to remember they are just opinions, and that they are irrelevant.

More than this, our opinions feed our egos.

They are born of us thinking we know better than others, and they maintain their existence on that same belief. Every time we assert our opinion we are saying we are right, we know best. We are, by necessity, saying someone else is wrong. We are feeding this idea that we are smarter or a better judge of quality than other people.

Lastly, and most importantly (in my opinion) they keep us from engaging what is.

We cannot accept things as they are if we are busy opinionating on them, and we will always be in a state of making comparisons on a reality that exists independently of and supersedes us.

Today, ask yourself what good your opinions are doing you.

Ask yourself if they are based on truth, or familiarity and personal preference.

Ask if they are worth stating at all.

Ask yourself why you believe them.

See if this opens up some room to accept things as they are, and to experience the present moment without judgment.

Then again, this is all just the opinion of some idiot with a blog.

I am not sure I even buy into it.