Sacred texts, legends or other tales all contain an element of timeless wisdom. Through them we can find answers to the problems we encounter throughout our life. Like the apple that legend says fell on Newton’s head, these texts wink at us when we’re ready to hear the wisdom they exude.
So I recently came across the following text which is part of the Kalamas Sutta or “Discourse of Siddhārtha Gautama Buddha” often quoted in Theravāda Buddhism:
The Kalamas of Kesaputta ask for guidance from the Buddha
3. The Kalamas who were inhabitants of Kesaputta sitting on one side said to the Blessed One: “There are some monks and brahmins, venerable sir, who visit Kesaputta. They expound and explain only their own doctrines; the doctrines of others they despise, revile, and pull to pieces. Some other monks and brahmins too, venerable sir, come to Kesaputta. They also expound and explain only their own doctrines; the doctrines of others they despise, revile, and pull to pieces. Venerable sir, there is doubt, there is uncertainty in us concerning them. Which of these reverend monks and brahmins spoke the truth and which falsehood?”
The criterion for rejection
4. “It is proper for you, Kalamas, to doubt, to be uncertain;uncertainty has arisen in you about what is doubtful. Come, Kalamas. Do not go upon what has been acquired by repeated hearing; nor upon tradition; nor upon rumor; nor upon what is in a scripture; nor upon surmise; nor upon an axiom; nor upon specious reasoning; nor upon a bias towards a notion that has been pondered over; nor upon another’s seeming ability; nor upon the consideration, ‘The monk is our teacher.’ Kalamas, when you yourselves know: ‘These things are bad; these things are blamable; these things are censured by the wise; undertaken and observed, these things lead to harm and ill,’ abandon them.
What a beautiful wink this text gives us on the modern world, because everyday brings new scandals and other serious events. Everytime a cohort of experts is assigned by the Medias to shed light on the news. Many points of views are given, sometimes rising to a consensus, only for a short time…
If our senses, excited by external stimuli, allow us to adapt to the changes in our environment, the continual overstimulation of these makes us sink in the long run into a maelstrom of negative emotions with bad consequences on our physical and psychological health and therefore our survival … Barely recovered from the emotions caused by information, man sees himself assailed again by new anxiety-inducing information. These repeated attacks imbue our entire being, from the body to our subconscious. All this making it all the more difficult for us to assess a situation and forge an opinion of our own.
So who can we believe from the experts who parade on the TV sets? Do the most telegenic necessarily have the most correct opinions? Do the uninvited have less reliable opinions?
What the Kalamas Sutta tell us is that we can choose to free ourselves from our chains, take back our rights, and think again for ourselves. To do so, we just need to trust our inner voice, which others call “inner self” or even “Soul“. We have all heard this voice, the one that makes us take decisions sometimes against all logics but in coherence with our philosophy of life, this ethic that we have forged in the yardstick of our culture and experiences. It is also based on the unspeakable: intuition.
Sometimes that voice will make us go against the tide, yet years later we may find out that it was the right decision to make.
Just as there are often as many solutions as there are problems, many techniques and other therapies allow you to reconnect with yourself very effectively: therapeutic shiatsu is one of them. Based on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), therapeutic shiatsu is a holistic therapy that takes for granted that we human beings, flesh and bones, are ruled by our emotions .
By intervening on the body and mind – the heart of energy practices, the shiatsu practitioner unravels the blockages, both physical and emotional, of the patient. Once relieved of tensions, the receiver, like the Kalamas, is then able to listen to his inner voice and forge his own opinion.
Here are a few books – and there are many more – that will help you listen to your inner voice:
• Eleen Caddy, “The Little Voice”, Ed. Le Souffle d’Or. ISBN 2840582899. This book provides a phrase to meditate on every night before bed.
• Deepak Chopra‘s books and lectures are true medicine for the soul. You can find them on the author’s site: