trapped in error

"Johann Wolfgang von Goethe" by Joseph Karl Stieler
“Johann Wolfgang von Goethe” by Joseph Karl Stieler

Quite often, as life goes on, when we feel completely secure as we go on our way, we suddenly notice that we are trapped in error, that we have allowed ourselves to be taken in by individuals, by objects, have dreamt up an affinity with them which immediately vanishes before our waking eye; and yet we cannot tear ourselves away, held fast by some power that seems incomprehensible to us. Sometimes, however, we become fully aware and realize that error as well as truth can move and spur us on to action.
~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
(Maxims & Reflections)

18 thoughts on “trapped in error”

    1. Strange how it happens to so many of us – it happened to me in a BIG way when I was in my 20s and in some ways I’m still trying to get untangled from the unintended consequences of some of my choices…

    1. Glad you appreciated the quote, Rosie. I happened to watch the movie “Luther” (a biography of Martin Luther) this morning and came away wondering in awe again at the incredible spiritual journeys taken by people in all periods of history.

  1. I love that you read and choose the finest minds to reflect the values and truths that make you who you are – a thoughtful, insightful, intelligent and curious woman. And then you share them with us. Coming to your site is always refreshing, a window where student and teacher look from both sides of the glass – inward and out, exchanging roles, inspiring and encouraging each other.
    This quote spoke of something we all experience, perhaps the most common these days is being ‘taken up by objects.’ Who today feels they can live without TV, cell phone, car and other objects; Most of us spend little time reading and meditating in the kind of intentional silence that stimulates introspection, empathy and wisdom. Instead, we are taken in by the noise, convenience and entertainment of our objects.

    1. Thank you for your kind comments, brokenpenwriter! I’ve found it very rewarding to put a quote out there and see what people have to say about it and am often pleasantly surprised when they notice something I missed! Or find another way of applying the thought to life.

      Since I’ve been on a spiritual quest most of my life I didn’t notice the being ‘taken up by objects part’ before you focused in on it! It’s amazing that even though Goethe penned these words about 200 years ago the wisdom still has meaning and application in our time. Just yesterday my internet connection was down, disrupting my plans for the day and for the weekend, and I let the absence of it get me depressed. I did spend some time reading instead, but that frustration was simmering underneath the pleasure of reading. Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment!

  2. I always wonder if there is such a thing as error. I suppose there is. And yet…both truth and error can be such gifts to help us realize who we are and what we need to do next. It’s like each is a package that we can unwrap to discover the gift within. Do you think?

    1. I’m chewing on your idea, Kathy… At one time I thought what I now consider to be error was the truth. It took me a long time to get untangled from it. But now I do think truth is never absolute and that it evolves, so maybe the same is the case with error, that it is not absolute either. If we look at them both as gifts…

      I’m also finding a shift in my thoughts about this after reading “Falling into Grace.” Maybe I fell into grace and couldn’t see the gift there until now? Have you read any other of Adyashanti’s books? I’m trying to pick which one to read next. 🙂

  3. Makes me think back to the “What the Bleep Do We Know?” DVD. It stated that as time marches on most of what we “know to be truths” change. The world once was flat, butter was evil, and all sorts of other things.

    I do know that as a culture we spend too much time on short things like music cut into 5 minute or less sound bites. Where are the long jams, the classical music that would go on seemingly endlessly? Even I have been seduced by the 2 second attention span setting TV. I find that sometimes when I look at the clouds in the sky I need to relax and watch for a while. Not take one quick look, say how beautiful, then on to the next shiny object that grabs my attention.

    1. Well, this is strange, my beloved speaks and makes me inexplicably tongue-tied!

      The movie “What the Bleep Do We Know?” triggered a meeting of the minds for Mr. Logic and Ms. Wonder when we saw it, more than once, back in 2005. It’s kind of sad that we have to pull ourselves away from enticing shiny objects and remind ourselves to linger and appreciate the scenery in nature and authentic, uncommercialized live music…

      “Whenever I draw a circle, I immediately want to step out of it.”
      ~ R. Buckminster Fuller

      Oh my, how much and how often “the truth” does change!

  4. While not succumbing to paralysing uncertainty or endless dithering, it’s good to maintain an open mind – circumstances change, new information comes to light, enlightenment occurs.

  5. A marvellous way to start the day – with one of your many terrific and thoughtful quotes! Honest and compelling as ever, a “dreamt affinity” to consider. Thanks Barbara!

  6. Barbara, I have read some of Adyashanti’s other books, but can’t remember the names of them, darn it! 🙂 Read today, gone tomorrow. lol!

    1. LOL – that’s about how my memory works, too! I wound up picking one randomly and putting it on my Kindle and have since forgotten the title… So typical! 🙂

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