Walking in The Woods Today

This weekend was gorgeous!  In the early morning coolness (60s), I walked in the Emory forest and reflected on one of my university professors from the mid 80s:

A small, thin, bearded man who jogged all over the University of Illinois and just seemed to float into the classroom every day, Dr. Clause Witz, who taught me Advanced Statistical Analysis, and Qualitative Behavioral Analysis, had to be one of the most extraordinary professors I had in my long academic career—and I was most fortunate to have had brilliant and colorful teachers and professors throughout my education.

Dr. Witz taught my young mind and heart that we are our most powerful selves when our words and our behaviors are in alignment, when what we say is what we do, and what we do is what we say. Our feelingful selves flow from what we think, say and do. When these aspects of our being are lined up in a straight line, are all in sync, then we are living at the pinnacle of our being. And when all of our mental, physical, and emotional energies, and all of our resources are actively pursuing truth, Dr. Witz believed we were destined to come to know God, to know Truth, to know The Way.

He believed that all thinking people should rigorously pursue Truth, that such pursuit was indeed the very purpose of education. I was fascinated by his notion that all of the great spiritual writings directed our journeys to the same place, as this idea found sympathetic vibration in my soul.

He believed that our life journey, if honest, could not help but lead us to what our present reality merely dimly reflects—Truth. In fact, completely contrary to how I had been raised to think in my conservative religious training, he suggested that, if we disagreeded with his premise, if we believed something other than God was Truth, we should commit all of our energies and resources and pursue with all of hearts, minds, and assets what we believed Truth to be so that we would quickly exhaust that journey and come to realize we were wrong and be able to redirect our search and thereby come to Truth all the sooner. He did not want any of his students to only halfheartedly pursue our journeys, as this would only slow the unfolding of Truth in our lives.

Then there were his discussions on form versus substance, and how we so easily become addicted to form and not substance. He spoke brilliantly of how, for many people, form actually came to supplant substance and with its replacement hollow out the very nature of the human soul with selfishness and materialism.

He tortured our minds with abstractions like: is mathematics Truth or does it merely describe Truth. How well does it describe Truth if indeed it does so at all?

Oh, and I should mention Qualitative Behavioral Analysis. His goal was to train us to get inside a person’s mind to learn their thinking patterns and processes, to study every nuance of meaning they communicate consciously and subconsciously.

Brilliant, quiet, unassuming, always smiling with eyes glinting deeply, Dr. Witz had a profound impact on my life.  Let the power and depth of these, his ideas, find rich soil in your heart and mind.

P.S.  I am excited to say that a quick web search yielded Dr. Witz’ homepage at the University of Illinois.  I have included the link with his name throughout this reflection.