We are so used to living in a world of analysis that we don’t even realise we’re doing it. But once you see and feel the difference of reality first, then logic— you’ll realise the transformational difference it makes.
I was asked yesterday if I’d like to enter a programme to get a PhD by critiquing and analysing mine and Sara’s new book and I noticed the clarity that doing that made no sense.
I reflected on this after the conversation and realised again about the difference between analysis and logic.
Analysis is opinion.
It’s a conceptual ideas-based activity. It’s about my opinion vs your opinion. It’s about what I think is right/wrong, good/bad. It’s about judgements and comparisons and critiques. Which are all fine, but which are no place to find sanctuary or security.
I don’t know about you, but my ideas have continually changed throughout my life. I’d be surprised if yours haven’t too. So to hang my hat on any idea or opinion, and think that I will be OK by holding that opinion, and thinking I’m right in that opinion, is shaky ground to stand on. Because it can so easily change.
As soon as I’ve fixed on an opinion, the world comes and shows me counter evidence, and exceptions to my rule, and examples where my opinion simply can’t stand up.
From here we have two choices — we can cling to that opinion even tighter and become more deeply entrenched and fixed, and as a result experience the extra buffeting of life as it tries to wake us up from our false fixed-ness. Or we can realise that no opinion is a permanent truth. And therefore analysis is not permanent either.
I analysed theories and models as part of previous educational processes. If I analysed those same things today, I’m pretty sure I would have a different perspective. Clearly neither is permanent, and therefore neither is True. If I’m trying to find sure-footedness through analysis to find the ‘right’ answer — well, which is right? No sure-footedness to be found. Just a bunch of conceptual ideas and opinions, and always subject to change.
So analysis is an opinion. It’s my opinion or idea right now. And it will change as I change. And it will either bump up against your opinions and ideas, or align with them, and everything in between.
Staying in this space keeps you at a distance from life. It keeps you in the head and in ideas and stories.
And the head is fine. There’s no problem with the head and its ideas in and of themselves. Our idea-generating capacity is incredible! But to only exist there, and to go there as your primary reference point, is unsatisfying.
Let’s look at logic to see why…
Logic is borne of reality.
Logic is a way of using conceptual words and ideas to describe what’s been discovered. The concepts used to do that could vary, but the reality they’re all pointing to is agreed upon.
Let’s take an example to slow down the process of reality first, then logic, by using the experience of opening a door.
If you come to a door that you want to open you look at the door to see what it’s like. You look at its handle. Its hinges, or slide rails. You might look at the floor and see if there are markings there from its opening.
Just from this information, you could extrapolate using logic to arrive at a plan for how to open the door. If there are hinges, and a handle, and dark marks on the floor on my side, logic would say I need to pull this door towards me to open it.
I would then be able to test that out, and see if my logic still holds true in my lived experience of opening the door.
By beginning with reality as it is, logic is then the conceptual capacity that allows us to translate that information into action in the world. And our action in the world then provides a feedback loop. It could have been that my original observation of the reality of the door was wrong in some way. Maybe the door had just been re-hung to open the other way but the floor marks remained. The action of opening the door, and the feedback obtained, then allows me to update my understanding of the reality of this door.
Notice how reality comes first, and the conceptual logic comes second.
Notice too that if I’d brought analysis to this experience of the door that I, and as many others as we liked, could have stood around commenting on the colour of the door and whether we thought it was the best shade of brown. We could have measured the length of the floor markings to describe that to another and ask their opinion of whether they’re too long or too short. We could have critiqued the way the screws had been applied to the door frame and what the best method is for getting screws completely flat.
But would any of this support our ability to open the door?
Let’s look deeper then at…
Why does this distinction between analysis and logic matter?
Because most people, most of the time, are walking around sharing opinions and ideas, and then critiquing and analysing other’s opinions and ideas by judging them and comparing them to their own. Making decisions from this about whether mine or theirs is right. We then feel happy because someone thinks the same as me, or unhappy because they’re saying something different.
This is how wars on all scales begin.
Nowhere in that is there a check of “what do I know for sure, for myself?”.
Nowhere in that is there a coming close into reality, to see it for how it is, and then allowing logic to naturally extrapolate from that into action.
In fact, when we do come into close contact with what we call reality, we discover that it’s not very real.
It’s always changing. There are always multiple perspectives on the same situation. And then those perspectives keep changing. And the situation keeps changing. So that very soon we realise, what I mentioned before, that there is nowhere secure to hang your hat.
It’s at this point that the analysing mind feels terrified.
What?! There’s no right answer? There’s no clear, definable equation to neatly tie life up with a linear bow of cause and effect?
But for the person in whom the courage of the heart outweighs the terror of the mind, there will be a continuation of that inquiry… “If I can’t know any of that for sure, what do I know for sure? For myself? What is real if it’s not this world that we’ve been calling reality? What is reliable?”
This line of questioning then brings you right into contact with the only reliable, permanent, 100% True reality there is. A reality of no objective form. And therefore no colour, or texture, or shape. A reality which the mind dismisses as ‘nothing’. But which in fact is the only reality that — once realised — returns all of experience back to its rightful order:
To see the True reality of life as it is — to then extrapolate that with logic into the implications of what that means about who I am, and who you are — to then test that in your lived day-to-day experience — then, just like with the door, to have feedback from life as it provides opportunities to keep testing and refining what I’ve seen reality to be, and updating the logic that flows from that.
From that place, analysis falls away. What is there to analyse? I have seen reality as it is, I have seen what that means for how I live my life, and now I’m testing, learning and updating that model as I go.
There is no need for an opinion in this process. You can share one by all means, and I will listen to see if there is some fresh feedback here that I haven’t yet considered. I can test your opinion against what I’ve seen of reality. And if it doesn’t align, I will invite you to look at reality too, and start from there.
With love, Helen