Pearls of Wisdom
(1) Pearls of Wisdom
A creative intelligence flows through the universe which holds the key to living to your potential. You can feel it pulsating in every part of your being. Like the Sun, it constantly emits energy, and you can light up yourself and the world around you when you are plugged in and switched on. You are charged with spiritual energy which needs only to be released for you to create the kind of life you want to lead.
‘Spiritual’ means ‘non-physical’. Our ideas, intelligence, imagination, sense of humour, kindness, creativity and so on – all the qualities that make us who we are - are non-physical. We seek happiness, love, friendship and peace, and all of these are non-physical too. Our spirituality creates our world, because our lives are simply a refl ection of whatever we hold in our minds.
‘Spirituality’ also relates to the meaning of life in all its splendour. Have you ever wondered who you are, why you’re here and where it leads? The only thing we know for sure is that we were born and one day we’re going to die. But do our lives matter? How do we fi t into the overall scheme of things? Many philosophers have offered their views down the ages, each shedding a little light on the subject. We can learn from them all. My aim is to share some ideas that I have found to be helpful. Use those which appeal to you; the time may come when you are drawn to the others too. The Buddha offered the best advice over two thousand years ago: Friends, do not be hasty to believe a thing even if everyone repeats it, or even if it is written in Holy Scripture or spoken by a revered teacher. Accept only those things which accord with your own reason, things which the wise and virtuous support, and which in practice bring benefit and happiness.
How will you find out if an idea brings benefit and happiness? By applying it! Reading can take you only so far. Doing reaps incredible rewards. Everything we need to build a happy and fulfilling experience for ourselves and become a force for good in the world already lies within us. Use it to create the kind of world you want for yourself, one filled with peace, health, prosperity, and happiness for all. No words can express how you feel once you have awakened the infinite power of Spirit within and experienced the freedom it brings. To quote Paramahansa Yogananda, a twentieth-century spiritual teacher, ‘You realise that all along there was something tremendous within you, and you did not know it.’
We have within ourselves a great reservoir of wisdom, strength, and peace waiting to be recognised and released. Once we are strong within ourselves, we find that outer circumstances begin to mirror the inner, and life starts to change for the better.
Spirituality Goes Beyond Appearances
Definitions of ‘spirituality’ in the Oxford English Dictionary run to several pages. This is largely because the word ‘spirit’ has many meanings. These include a sense of loyalty or cohesion (‘team spirit’), an emotional state (‘in high spirits’), a deeper sense of meaning (‘the spirit of the law’), certain chemicals (‘white spirit’) and, of course, strong alcoholic beverages (‘spirits’). There are many interpretations of spirituality, and they all relate to things outside the realms of physical nature or matter. Spirituality goes beyond the appearance of things to their underlying principles or forces. Living spiritually doesn’t necessarily mean following a particular religion, but it does infer understanding that the universe has some order and that the creative force behind it (whatever that may be) is intelligent and purposeful.
Spirituality is highly practical. It is about finding meaning and purpose in an apparently imperfect world then using what we learn to create happy, healthy, prosperous, and fulfilling lives for ourselves and others. It is not, as we shall see a special thing to be found in out-of-the-way places – it is Life itself, flowing, ever-present and abundant.
The Material World Is Not Ultimate Reality
Spirituality is founded on an appreciation that the world we detect through our five senses is not the ultimate reality. Objects that appear to be solid are not as solid as we think they are. One of the first to understand this was the Greek philosopher Plato. He realised that everything we perceive through our senses is merely an expression of universal ideas or ‘Forms’. These are independent entities which exist whether or not we are aware of them and able to grasp them with the mind. Love, for example, exists in the universe as an idea; we only become aware of it when it enters our experience. Even then, my experience of love may be different from yours. Meanwhile, the idea of love itself remains constant, permanent, and unchanging, as do other universal ideas such as wisdom, justice, honesty, beauty and so on.
For more than two thousand years, Plato’s theory was just that - a theory – and could not be proved one way or the other. Then at the beginning of the twentieth century it was verified by scientists when quantum physicists discovered a ‘substance’ or ‘energy’ out of which all physical things are formed. In other words, the universe is not solid at all. It is made of energy – and so are you!
Shadows on a Wall
Plato devised a metaphor to explain how our limited view of reality governs how we think and act. He likened us to prisoners chained to the wall of a cave, unable to turn their heads. Behind them is a fire burning brightly, and between the fire and the prisoners is a raised path. Along the pathway walk puppeteers holding puppets that cast shadows on the wall. The prisoners are unable to see the puppets. All they see are shadows; all they hear are echoes made by objects they cannot see. They mistake the shadows for reality, knowing nothing of their real cause, and only when they are released can they can turn their heads and realise their error.
The great spiritual teachers taught us not to judge by appearances and to seek what is real, not what merely looks real. There is a reality that lies outside space and time, beyond our comprehension. We can explore ideas until we discover something that feels real to us, but we would be mistaken if we thought that our perceptions were ever complete.
Are you content in the cave? Do you want to see more? Experience more? Do you accept that you cannot know everything? To be satisfied with not knowing is a profound act of spiritual awareness.
Awe and Wonder
Do you ever reflect on the mystery of life? Do you experience an overwhelming sense of awe when you contemplate this incredible planet and the universe in which we live?
Next time you see a striking sunset, a rainbow or a beautiful Moon, pause for a few minutes and just look. Ask yourself, ‘What exactly am I looking at? How did this come to be?’ Contemplate an open flower or a tree. Where did it come from? Why is it there? Why do I perceive it as I do?
Watch a star twinkling in the night sky. Its light has taken millions of years to get here. The star probably no longer exists, but you have no way of knowing. You are looking back in time!
Look at your skin though a microscope. What do you see? How did it get there? Why is it as it is? Why do the beautiful things in this world - the trees, birds, flowers, rivers, oceans, animals, clouds – come into existence? Why do they grow, reproduce, break down and regenerate? We don’t know, and that’s OK. Spiritual seekers are comfortable with the notion that we live in a profoundly mysterious universe and that it is not for us to understand everything.
The most beautiful emotion we can experience is the mystical. It is the power of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead.
(2) Pearls of Wisdom
Spirituality and Religion
Many people are leaving the traditional religions because they cannot relate to the dogma and ritual that characterizes them. Spirituality is not concerned with theology, but with life.
To be valid, a spiritual truth must be true for everyone, everywhere and for all time. It must apply equally to people living in the Arabian Desert, the Arctic wilderness, the Himalayas and a modern Western industrial society; in the fifth century BC, tenth century and the twenty-first AD; men, women and children; those who have passed on and those yet to be born.
(3) Pearls of Wisdom
All the works of nature indicate intelligence
Human beings have always sensed a power greater than themselves. In ancient times they believed there was a god or gods ‘up there’ looking down on them and a place below ground where they went after death. Because they didn’t understand very much about the natural world, they reasoned it was under the control of these gods. If the gods were happy, they showed it by arranging bumper harvests and victory over their enemies. If they were unhappy, all manner of hardships and disasters befell their mortal subjects. When it was shown that the Earth is a globe spinning around the Sun, the religious authorities felt threatened. They condemned the scientists and astronomers and banned publication of their work. In time, the Middle Age gave way to the Age of Reason. Scientists showed that the material world behaved according to proven ‘laws’ which could not be reconciled with miracles, heaven, hell and an after life.
In the twentieth century, men flew to the Moon, bringing back photographs of the small blue-tinged sphere we call home. They looked beneath the ground and found nothing other than rocks and a molten core. There was no sign of gods living above the clouds or the walking dead below ground. ‘Proof,’ said the scientists. ‘There is no God. We’ve been sold a lie.’
Or have we?
Where Do the Laws of Nature Come From?
There’s a passionate debate going on in the
six thousand years ago. Carbon dating techniques which show the earth to be much older than this are misleading, they say, because the Creator deliberately made it seem older. Some schools run by Christian fundamentalists teach only this view. However, there is another group who support a third idea – intelligent design. They don’t dismiss evolution, but argue that it’s not just down to adaptation and the survival of the fittest, but that some organizing intelligence is overseeing the process. If this is correct, what is this ‘organizing intelligence’? Is it just another name for God? Let’s examine this question.
Science and Creation
Today, many scientists believe that we cannot dismiss the notion that there is but one source of everything. For example, in December
We cannot discount the possibility that the universe and everything in it was created entirely for our benefit. Is it possible that the next great scientific discovery will be proof that everything was brought into being by an all-pervading intelligence which maintains balance and harmony in the universe? Some leading scientists already believe so. For example, when asked about his religion, Professor Albert Einstein replied:
I do not believe in a God who maliciously or arbitrarily interferes in the personal affairs of mankind. My religion consists of a humble admiration for the vast power which manifests itself in that small part of the universe which our poor, weak minds can grasp.
All Visible Things Come From the Invisible and Depend on the Unseen for Their Existence
Before Einstein, the world was thought to be a collection of atoms behaving according to fixed and observable ‘laws’, and space was exactly that - empty space. This explanation seemed to fit the data in
Everything, including you, came out of an invisible energy field which, when investigated, is shown to have nothing in it! How does it feel to know that everything you see, hear, smell, taste and touch is made up of particles that don’t actually exist?
(4) Pearls of Wisdom
Why Does the Physical World Appear Real?
If nothing exists, then how is it that things appears solid? It’s because our consciousness (our awareness and beliefs) tells us so. It is playing a trick on us. Nothing is solid, except in our imagination. For example, take a pile of bricks. You can’t see through it. It feels solid. You believe it is solid. If you were to try and break it with your hands, you would injure yourself. Your belief would be proved valid through painful experience. A martial arts expert looks at a pile of bricks differently. He does not perceive it to be solid. He focuses his mind, directs his energy, and smashes it with his bare hand without the slightest pain. His belief is also proved to be correct. Who is right? Both! If your consciousness tells you that something is so, it is. For you.
(5) Pearls of Wisdom
It Doesn’t Matter What You Call It
The creative force has been called many things. Some call it God. God is the personification (or a symbol) of this omnipotent and omnipresent power. I prefer to avoid this term because it has negative associations for too many people.
Writers refer to it in a variety of ways:
- Higher Power
- The Source
- The Life Force
- Infinite/Universal Intelligence
- The Presence
- The Oneness
- Universal Love.
I refer to it mainly as CI - Creative Intelligence - because this conveys precisely what it is, but will use other terms too.
Do you have a preference? Are you put off by any particular term? Why do you think that is?
Whilst everything around me is ever-changing, ever-dying, there is underlying all that changes a living power that is changeless, that holds all together, that creates, dissolves and re-creates. That informing power or spirit is God.
In the midst of death life persists, in the midst of untruth truth persists; in the midst of darkness light persists. Hence I gather that God is life, truth, and light.
God is love. God is the supreme good. I know that I can do nothing. God can do everything.
J. Krishnamurti, a distinguished twentieth-century teacher educated in both Eastern and Western traditions, urged us not to be put off the idea of CI by worrying about what we call it.
There is only one God as manifested in you, but I am not going to use the word ‘God’. I prefer to call this Life.
If you don’t like the word ‘God’ (or any other particular term), follow Krishnamurti’s advice and substitute the word ‘Life’ or any other that feels right to you.
Read the quote from Mahatma Gandhi above again, substituting Life for God. How do these words strike you now?
The nature of Creative Intelligence
The religious powers-that-be describe the qualities and characteristics of their particular deities in various ways. For example, the Old Testament God was equally capable of loving and acting out of vengeance, but beware if you were not one of ‘His’ chosen. The supreme being of Islam, Allah, and the God of Christianity are loving, fair and merciful, but mete out stern justice to non believers in the after life. These beliefs are a matter of faith, relying on scripture written long ago.
However, there is another way of learning about Creative Intelligence. Its qualities can be inferred from science, experience and common sense. The world around us provides plenty of evidence that intelligence is at work. It has beauty, order, meaning and intent. What kind of power could produce these effects? Only a positive, bountiful and constructive life force. What would life on Earth be like if this were not so? Could we exist? How long would we survive? A destructive, negative life force would surely destroy its own creation.
The only sensible conclusion is that CI must be good, and since it flows through everything, then everything too must in essence be inherently good.
Creative Intelligence has a direction in mind for the universe, and since we can’t prevent it from pursuing its purpose, doesn’t it make more sense to try and understand it and harmonize with it?
God says to you, I have a dream. Please help me to realise it. It is a dream of a world whose ugliness and squalor and poverty, whose war and hostility, greed and harsh competitiveness, alienation and disharmony are changed into their glorious counterparts.
-Bishop Desmond Tutu
Creative Intelligence is Positive
CI is positive energy, a moving, active force that enables the universe to unfold in an orderly way. Imagine what it would be like if this were not so. Could life on this planet, where everything is in perfect balance, have been created by a malevolent power?
Only human ignorance and shortsightedness disturb the balance of nature. Imagine if we were to disappear like the dinosaurs millions of years ago; CI would soon return the Earth to its natural state of harmony. If humans were to raise their consciousness, rise above their destructive behaviors and help CI realize its dream of a perfect world, it would surely happen more quickly.