Resonance

Resonance is the key to all challenges in life.

When in resonance things transform, when out of resonance they resist.  Are you resonating with your challenges?

Resonance includes:

Flow – in resonance with oneself

Harmony – in resonance with the world around

Connection – in resonance with the cosmic energy

Simple and Deep

It is a simple principle and a lifetimes study to learn to resonate with all of life

Every personal problem, every relationship problem, every environmental, political and social problem can be resolved simply through resonance – and I would go so far as to say cannot be resolved in any other way

Everything you do in your life creates some kind of resonance, it is an unavoidable aspect of our lives.

Are you aware of your resonance?

How can we do Spiritual Science

To unite science and spirituality would be a wonderful thing — if we could have an approach to spirituality that truly was based in deep understanding, and therefore we can be guided in the best and deepest possible ways of practicing our spirituality, and in understanding about the spiritual worlds. Imagine if instead of a plethora of unconnected gurus each teaching their own things we had united thought where each was developing on the work of the other, and building a more and more cohesive and effective system of understanding and practice of spirituality. Imagine the power and effectiveness of spiritual healing, and other spiritual technologies when dealt with in such a rational, effective way. You can imagine in the same way that we had a flourishing development of the physical quality of life under the development of rationality and the physical sciences we would have a flourishing of the inner life through the development of the inner, subtle sciences.

The difficulty is how can we do this? How is it possible to study in a scientific way such subtle things as spirituality and subtle energies? Although this seems at first glance to be near impossible — how can we even measure such extremely subjective qualities such as states of consciousness, and vital force? With a deeper look we can see that although we need to use very different methodologies, the basic principles of science can still be applied.

The Principles of Science

Science is (mistakenly) often seen as at its core about laboratory equipment and experiments, but this is only one way of doing science — a part of the field. Science is the careful pursuit of knowledge and understanding, and it at its heart consists of a few simple steps that people have been doing for thousands if not millions of years. 

The first step is observation — we see things happening in the world for example we notice that things fall down to the earth. If i drop a rock or an apple or a feather it falls down. These are observations. The more observations I make that get similar results the more it seems to tell me something, and that leads me to the second step — Hypothesis — hypothesis is the development of theories, of ideas about why things do what they do. What is the invisible action behind what we can observe. For example — why do things fall down? Is it because there is a love affair between the apple and the earth? Is it because there are invisible rays pulling things together? Is it because there are a whole lot of little fairy like creatures whose job it is to make sure the apple doesn’t fly away? You can come up with all kinds of theories, and we should and do come up with a great variety of theories some of them reasonable, some of them seem kind of crazy, but at this point in the process we really have no way of knowing which theory to listen to, which one to believe in.

The next step is experiment — can we design experiments that test our theories? Can we design ways of looking carefully at these theories and seeing how likely they are to be correct. It is worth noting here that the focus in testing theories is not on proving them true, but on proving them false. It is very difficult to prove anything to be true. Edward de Bono says “Truth is only a lack of imagination”. It is not really possible to even prove the existence of the tree outside your window, that everyone considers absolute fact, so what we look for is edges that can be tested — areas where there is the possibility to show a theory to be invalid, or to reinforce the theory by giving yet another example that seems to fit the theory. 

It is worth noting here a few points about our choice of theory to explore. Firstly we try to choose the theory that most simply explains all the observable facts in the simplest possible way. A theory that says that apples fall down for a different reason to feathers is awkward and complicated to one that simply says all things fall down due to one key principle — gravity. And this is at its essence why gravity is an accepted fact in the modern world. We also try to choose theories that we have some ability to test. The theory that things fall down because God tells them to has great explaining power, but as it is so difficult to test, that theory is generally left aside as not within scientific thinking. This is not to say that science says it is wrong, just that it we do not and cannot know at this point. There is always the possibility that our methods and understanding will develop and we will be able to come to a point of being able to consider this theory. So we are left with some theories that seem most likely and most productive to explore. We explore these and gradually narrow down our options until we are reasonably sure of one theory or other. After observation, hypothesis and experiment we repeat the process with more observations, more hypotheses and more experiments and move forward one step at a time in our clarity and certainty. 

Spiritual Science Methodology

Now this basic approach is the universal approach of all science whether physics, or chemistry, psychology or sociology, but you can see that the methods differ extremely between the “hard” sciences like physics and the “soft” sciences like Sociology. Spiritual science is even more subtle and “soft” than the so called “soft sciences”, and so it requires even subtler methods of enquiry. The main differences lie in the different types of measurement that are possible. A physicist may be able to measure the velocity of a particle with their advanced equipment. A psychologist may be able to observe patterns in people’s experience through controlled situations (often involving rats!), or questionnaires. The subtle spiritual sciences require us to observe our own inner experience and how that is affected by different stimuli, and to compare that with other people’s experiences. A possible objection here is that our inner experience is subjective and that this means it cannot be studied — now of course it is much more difficult to make measurements in a subjective study than in an objective study, but this doesn’t mean it cannot be done. Let us explore a few of the methods that have been used, are being used and could be used in the future to study these subjective, spiritual experiences.

Homeopathic Provings

Homeopathy, despite its reputation as a “pseudo-science” very strictly follows this basic scientific approach, and though they have little understanding of the mechanisms behind the effects of the remedies, they have a very simple scientific methodology that can be applied not just in the field of homeopathics, but can also be extended to explore other spiritual and subtle energy technologies including spiritual practices, meditations and other healing methods. Truly with some of these it may be difficult to apply the “double blind” methodology, and yet still some observations can be made.

The way a homeopathic proving is done is that a homeopathic remedy is prepared from a particular substance and then put into a series of bottles labeled with code numbers. There are also a series of bottles with plain water — placebos as a control to be able to see the difference between the placebo effect and the homeopathic remedy. (For those who claim that homeopathy is just the placebo effect, this does not explain the differences noted between the remedies and the controls.) The person who has prepared the bottles then provides them to a homeopath who will supervise the trial, and they take no further part in the trial. Those involved in the trial have no way of knowing which bottles contain placebos, which contain the remedy, and they also do not even know what remedy they are testing.

A group of people then each take a dose of the remedy and observe the results in themselves. First they observe their current state of being, any emotional or physical issues, and then after taking the remedy observe any changes. This observation is done in great depth and for some time to try to get as much information as possible. At the end of the trial it is revealed which bottles contained placebo and the different experiences are tabulated. Any experiences that are common to the placebo and the remedy are discarded as not relevant, and experiences that are common to those taking only the remedy are treated as important results that demonstrate the effect of the remedy. 

It is nice to be able to do such a sofisticated double blind test, but sometimes we do not have the time or resources to do such a test, or it is difficult to create a protocol for the particular thing you are studying. For example it would be very interesting to observe the results of practicing a particular meditation with a particular mantra, but it is hard to imagine doing this experiment without people knowing which mantra they are using. It is still worth doing the experiment, there are still observations that can be made. Only it must be remembered to put the observations in context. When an experiment has been done with a large number of people in a double blind test, the results are much more certain than a test with only a few people and they were aware of exactly what they are testing. Every observation is valid — it is important to observe and use all information available to us even if it is not entirely clear or certain — all the more in a field such as spiritual science where we are plagued with a lack of clear data.

Self Observation

Observing the effects on ourselves is one of the most important and core practices of spiritual science, and it can and should be done by anyone who is interested in spirituality even if it is just for exploring and finding their own spiritual path and what works for them, and it is also the method that all the great spiritual masters have used to create effective spiritual practices. Any meditation practice you have learnt, or any yoga exercise, qigong, etc. was most likely developed in this way by someone observing the effect on themselves and developing methods that therefore are good for others. When buddha sat under the bodhi tree he observed himself and observed the result of his practices on himself. He then taught others based on that experience. The same with most spiritual teachers that you have heard of — at essence these spiritual masters are spiritual scientists exploring the power of their practices on consciousness. The only thing lacking from a true expression of spiritual science is the collaboration and discussion between them. 

Intuitive Abilities

When people do practice and develop theselves spiritually they often develop some kind of intuitive abilities. Some learn to perceive energies as colours and auras, some learn to feel and become very empathic, some learn to hear messages from angels and spirits, some simply have a sense of direct knowledge. All of these though difficult to test and prove are valid observations. In the same way that seeing something with our own eyes is an observation, experiencing it intuitively is as well, and this observation needs to be taken very seriously. One should not immediately jump to the conclusion that this is absolute truth — it should be retested and checked by others, but the more one develops this ability the more reliable it is, and hence spiritual masters are able to say with some certainty a lot about the subtle worlds that the rest of us are completely unaware of. This becomes another way to observe and therefore another way to do spiritual science. The masters may begin by observing themselves, but often they can also observe the results of different exercises in the people they work with, and can be even more certain, not only of the effect on themselves, but also of the effect on others.

Kinesiology

Kinesiology is another method that has been developed to create more detailed, systematic observations of oneself. The idea is that the muscles of the body engage and become stronger as do something that empowers and is beneficial for our energy body. This includes telling truths, and substances and practices that are good for us, allowing us to tell what is true for us, and what is good for us. For many this is a more accessible way to begin to do spiritual science experiments, and also it gives data in a way that is easier to compare and record, so it is very valuable in the spiritual science method. Kinesiologists have already developed a lot of understandings about the workings of the human energy system that are testable and repeatable. One very interesting development of kinesiology is the Hawkins scale of consciousness which allows us to put a numerical figure on the level of upliftment that a person, or object, or practice has or creates. This can give some very clear results in exploring spirituality and subtle energies and our inner worlds.

Difficulties

All of these methods have their difficulties, and each of them take some skill to apply well. Observation takes practice, and the more we do it the more we notice, and the more information we are able to gain, and all of the different techniques of observation depend on our skill of observation — of observing ourselves and our own experiences, of observing others, of observing our subtle intuitive feelings, and all of this develops over time as we practice. Science takes training and experience. I love physics but I could not understand the mathematics and concepts of modern cutting edge research into physics with a lot of education and training, in the same way spiritual science takes training and practice and develops over time. This is a development that any of us interested in the field can do as we learn and practice, and it is also a development that the whole field will take over the coming years. We need to study the methods of spiritual science itself and how to teach and create effective ways of understanding the world. It is exciting to be at this early stage in the development of such an important endeavour that could have such a positive influence in the future of society. I do my best to my little bit of spiritual science research myself, and to encourage others to develop the field, and I look forward to seeing the development of the field over my lifetime. Already in the last 47 years of my life i have seen great leaps and bounds in the field moving from something barely even acknowledged to now a well known (if controversial) part of modern society. Let’s see what happens next.

Schools of Connection

To continue our discussion about schools my daughter has now started at her new school and she has some complaints about it, and it doesn’t seem to be very forward thinking or creative, but what is really interesting is the things that she says are good. They are not about what they are taught in the class, how difficult it is or how interesting it is – they are about connection. If the Teacher connects with the students then it is a wonderful teacher even if she hates the subject, and she is really happy to be there anyway. If the teacher does not connect then no matter how much else might be good about the subject she hates it and wants nothing to do with that teacher. On some levels this is not surprising. Of course connection is the most important thing – it is always the most important thing. In all of life connection is the key, but somehow I was not expecting it – I was expecting that it was more important the actually content and teaching style, and not this outcome that the human connection between the humans can overpower all other issues.

But doesn’t this really make sense of our lives? We are not given a perfect wonderful peaceful existence, but we are always given the opportunity to connect, and that connection makes existence meaningful. I pity materialists and religious folk equally because each of them has trouble seeing what makes life truly meaningful and positive. If we are focused entirely on God we tend to lose track of the opportunities to connect in our daily lives, and create an existence that is somehow grey and dreary (but how can that be truly focused on God – God is Goodness and Love and Joy – God is connection). The materialists in denying the existence of energies and spirits and souls make it very difficult to understand and focus on connection. Of course this is not necessarily the case. It would be perfectly possible to create a materialistic explanation for the experience of connection – something to do with brain chemicals no doubt – and to encourage connection without necessarily believing in any higher powers. Some atheists seem to manage to do it. Terry Pratchett once impressed me with a talk about the mystery of street lights in which he seemed to demonstrate very deep connection.

But this is mostly beside the point. The point is connection – we need connection, we thrive on connection, and connection is powerful. It transforms ourselves, the people around us and the world. Connect up people – It’s good stuff.

Schools should be streamed, but not by ability

Today I took my daughter to her new school. It was not a very encouraging experience. We spent a long time listening to speeches and explanations that we could not understand (our portuguese is still not that good) and then she was taken away to do activities that were supposed to be fun, but she didn’t find fun at all. I would hope that there might be some corner where she will find herself there, but I am not at all confident that will happen. I find myself full of demands that I wish to make to the school to make it better, and yet I can understand the school’s point of view too. They have to deal with the needs of all the students, and the restrictions of the national curriculum and education system. How can they have the time and energy to give one child everything that they need?

But I have an answer – one that I have never seen put into practice, but is born out of my experiences teaching music over many years. (and some other knowledge from my spiritual education work.) The answer is a kind of streaming. And this at first might seem a strange thing for me to promote. Streaming tends to be a highly competitive system that rewards those with certain talents and is not so supportive of others who are not able to do as well. The idea tends to be that if some people are good at maths they go in a class together and get to do more maths, faster, and others who are not as good do maths in a slower more careful way so they can understand it – or similarly with other subjects. This kind of streaming can be very damaging to some people’s self esteem, and even to those who excel it does not really help them with their life skills. They do not come out of school particularly better prepared for life or career, and I who am so against the current competitive system – how could I promote something like this?

But it is very different if Streaming is applied in another way. Instead of thinking about it as different abilities better or worse why don’t we put people of similar learning styles and personality types together. Someone who loves to talk and discuss can be in a group that learn together through discussion – the interesting ideas of mathematics can be explored, and they can in the process learn more about themselves in a deeper way as well as about mathematics. Similarly someone who loves a more rigorous learning style can be with a group of others who also enjoy this. Mathematics will be more rigorous – may be it will be applied a little bit more and become something closer to engineering, and those who like to learn like that will love it, and again learn things that can be very useful in their lives.

Of course what I am talking about is the different centrings, the 8 personality types that I find really important in all aspects of life. Each one centring in a different chakra, and each one finding their flow in a very different way of looking at the world. If we are surrounded by people similar to us we learn so much about ourselves and who we are – things that can never be taught directly, but are crucially important to a good life and career.

It seems quite simple to apply this idea to our education system. Do you think we can begin to do it?

Why I still use the ‘N’ Word

Apparently we should never use the ‘N’ word in any circumstance. It is offensive and should not be allowed to be spoken because that is racism.

Let me clarify what I am talking about, the word is ‘Nigger’

Nigger Nigger Nigger

Are you offended yet?

Now I must clarify that I would not in ordinary speech use this word. I do not see any reason to call anyone this word that does indeed carry with it some rather unpleasant connotations and baggage, and could be considered offensive for very good reasons. In the same way that I don’t normally swear. Walking around and swearing all the time in ordinary conversation is very coarse and unpleasant, and I would not like to be that kind of person, nor would I want to spend much time with one who speaks like that, but there are times under extreme stress or pain that a swear word has been known to pass my lips. There are cases where it is appropriate. There is a study that has shown that swearing actually increases your tolerance to pain. It is a useful part of human society and culture – in moderation.

Now there are places where any word is appropriate or inappropriate, and I would attempt to use them in an appropriate way.

What happened recently is that I was explaining to my children the origin of the childrens rhyme:

Eenie Meenie Miney Mo – Catch a tigger by the toe.

When I was a child it was ‘Catch a knicker by the Toe’ which I always think of as a very funny image, and I felt it was important to also explain the origin of it ‘Catch a nigger by the toe’ and one person who shall remain nameless found this to be very offensive and asked that I never say that word, but I can see serious problematic implications of taking such an extreme stance – ‘never’ is a long time. In this particular case I do not believe that all the children I was speaking to would have even understood me if I said ‘the n word’ instead of saying ‘Nigger’ and how can we begin to discuss historical literature and culture without using the words that were used back then? Do we ban books like Huckleberry Fin that use the word because that was how people spoke at the time despite being clearly in favour of respect towards all races? Do we constantly wonder whether any other words I might be using are also going to be offensive, but I don’t know it? There are so many good classics of literature that use the word that to refuse to ever speak or use that word would deprive us of so much of our cultural heritage.

Or is it possible that we take another approach? An approach where we treat each other with respect, and those speaking do their imperfect best to express themselves in a way that others will be able to hear and appreciate, and those listening do their very best to listen in a way that can understand the message without getting offended – to take in the deeper spirit of a person’s meaning even if their expression is not perfect. In Non-violent Communication this is called ‘Giraffe ears’ as against the way of listening that easily gets offended ‘Jackal ears’ – the image being that the Giraffe stands tall above the issues and can look down and see the whole pattern, whereas the jackal leaps in to attack.

Let me tell you a comparative story – in the city of Samara, Russia there once was a statue to the Czar Alexander II which commemorated his compassionate works including freeing the serfs – freeing the slaves is worth commemorating no? And after the bolshevik revolution it was destroyed and replaced by a statue of Lenin. Is there not something wrong with destroying art because we changed our minds about what we believe in, should we not hold onto our cultural heritage even when it is disturbing?

And there are more issues that this brings up as well – the fact that company cultures where people are focused on using the correct, inoffensive words have been shown to be detrimental to people’s sense of wellbeing, and even to reduce the ability for people to negotiate issues of equality and race – making it so difficult to talk about that people avoid the issues rather than solving them. This is totally counterproductive to the reason for making this stand against offensive language – shooting ourselves in the foot if you will. And then there is the question of how far this extends – do we avoid anything that any person finds offensive? How many people have to find it offensive for us to stop using the word? One in a hundred, one in a thousand? One in a million? Is there actually anything that we can say safely if we are focused on not offending any single person? And if we do not take it that far, then what is the basis for deciding what is offensive and what is not? Is it only the minority groups that have made enough of a fuss for us to realise that they find something offensive who we have to think about? As Jordan Peterson says it is difficult to say anything important without risking offending someone, so what do we sacrifice in this attempt to avoid offense? Our cultural heritage, our ability to communicate, our ability to express ourselves clearly?

Don’t get me wrong I am not about to go around shouting the N word everywhere. It is not a word I am likely to use very many times in my life, but the creation of a very strict rule around the word, is completely counterproductive and is likely to create more racial tension not less, and more importantly prevents us from truly meeting and understanding ourselves, our history, our culture, and each other.

here are some important videos and links on the topic:

Censoring Mark Twain is unacceptable

Rethinking Political Correctness

Learning the N Word

The Downwards Journey

There is a concept that the greatest journey you can make is from your head into your heart.  It is a nice thought, but inaccurate.  The first confusion here is between centring yourself in a particular centre, and opening a particular centre.  The heart should be open, and flowing with the pure love and light of spirit, but to focus on the heart as your primary centre – that is more questionable.  As we awaken we journey through our energy centres our chakras – I hope you are familiar with the chakras.  If not I will quickly introduce them – they are energy centres found down the centre of the body where we store different emotions, feelings and states of consciousness.  We all have 7 main chakras – main energy centres (and of course a myriad of other minor centres in the same way that you have countless muscles, nerves and veins in your body).  We are most familiar with these centres through their (mostly negative) expressions when one certain emotions arise.  We describe someone as a tight ass if they are too self controlled for their own good, as having balls if they are courageous.  We talk about butterflies in the stomach, heartache, frogs in the throat, stress and worry in the head, and only in the 7th chakra the crown of the head I can find no stressful situation to describe, but it is here that we feel the connection with universal consciousness and divine love.  So these 7 centres should be reasonably obvious to most people – Yogis will describe them in more elegant ways, but for a general understanding you can look at them in this way – the butt, the genitalia, the belly, the chest, the throat, the forehead, and the crown.  

Now the obvious expectation and one that is very popularly discussed is that we grow spiritually as we move upwards through the chakras eventually achieving some kind of spiritual enlightenment when we reach the crown chakra, and this may be true in some esoteric sense, but in the more obvious sense of how we experience ourselves and our own journeys it actually goes the other way.  As people first get in touch with the spiritual path they tune into the crown chakra and get a sense of the presence of God and God’s love which leads to religiousness, they then proceed to develop and deepen and begin to question, entering the head, the third eye centre, and learning deep thought.  (This of course is what people are talking about ‘coming out of the head’)  For someone who is new to this intellectual approach it is a very valuable and positive thing, but for those ready to move on it can be stifling and prevent their further growth.  (As can any of these centres if one allows it to be the end of the journey.)  In further development one focuses on the throat and its expressive and creative powers, becoming  more expressive and insightful oneself.  This eventually leads on to the heart where one finds compassion and inner peace – a great thing, but hardly the end of the journey.  In the belly one finds transcendental passion, intuition, knowledge that goes beyond this world.  In the sacral centre (the genitalia and lower abdomen) – one develops the ability to connect and become one, to harmonise.  In this sense much of what I am talking about oneness is found here in the lower abdomen, and hence the recommendation in many martial arts of focusing your mind on the tantien, or hara, or lower belly.  It is also interesting to note the connection between harmonising, connecting, oneness and sex.  Sex is the physical expression of those principles – of coming together as one, of harmonising our energies.  It is a profound expression of spiritual upliftment and connection – or at least it should be. 

You can see that we have reached the expression of oneness, but have not reached the end of the journey through the chakras, through the centres – there is one left – the bass chakra, the butt.  It is here that we find true transcendence taking our consciousness outside of this world, and experiencing the joy of the beyond, of emptiness.  A wonderful experience that is indescribable, and barely possible even to remember, I can highly recommend that you learn to experience it, but it is not a very practical place from which to deal with worldly concerns, and so in order to deal with the world we return back to the lower abdomen, the sacral centre, and the experience, of oneness, universal connection as the deepest way of truly living in this world. 

Universal Harmony

Likely you have heard of Chi, Vital force, Orgone Energy, Prana, or whatever you like to call it. Star Wars fans will call it ‘The Force’ – and that is as good a description as any. This is an energy that is as yet not measured by scientific machinery, but the mystics, and healers, and spiritualists are able to perceive it, and in fact it is not hard to learn to perceive it yourself.  This energy flows through your body, through all people, through all things.  There is a popular idea that if you strengthen this energy then you will become healthier, and stronger.  There is some truth in that, but a deeper understanding is useful.  

It is the quality of this energy that is more important than its quantity, though quantity also helps.  If you have an illness then that illness will be communicated and expressed through a particular frequency of that spiritual energy, if you cultivate negativity and hatred then that also is a particular frequency of the spiritual energy (The Dark Side of The Force).  And of course the more positive experiences, the love and peace and compassion, health and vitality – they are also expressed as frequencies of this universal spiritual energy.  In order to transform from the darker and more negative to the more positive and uplifting a transformation of the frequencies of energies is required.

Now many attempt this with a focus on positivity instead of negativity, beauty instead of harshness, and this has some effect, but the ultimate positive spiritual energy that resolves all of the negatives, and brings together all of the positives is the universal energy – the infinite energy of the cosmos.  When we tune into some particular flower or plant, rock or person, we tune into the frequency of that object, of that being, and each object is different, and brings a different feeling.  When we tune into different feelings then also each one has a different frequency.  Some seemingly more negative than others, but all of these frequencies are part of a holistic pattern that is more beautiful than any single part – more uplifting as one infinite harmony than any individual expression.  When we tune into the universal holistic infinity then we tune into the ultimate positive energy.

The harmony that we create when we tune into one particular aspect of creation allows us to work with it, to move with it, to dance with it.  If you tune into a gemstone you can feel how to cut it, if you tune into the wood you can feel how to work it, if you tune into the plants in the garden you can feel what they need, if you tune into your partner you can dance together as one.  All great craftsmen understand this principle of tuning in, and it is this tuning in that allows peace and harmony instead of conflict and stress.  When we are out of harmony with some aspect of our lives, or the world around us that disharmony creates stress, creates ineffective action, creates conflict, and in the end leads to more and more difficulties and problems as the disharmony exacerbates.  Once we come into harmony all of that stress quickly disappears.

If you look for the cause of a problem do not seek for who did what – for who caused the problem, for who is to blame.  That in itself will prevent you seeing the true nature of the situation.  Look for the nature of the disharmony – where are we out of harmony, and where can that harmony be created.  The environmental destruction of the capitalist system is not caused by particular people who do not care about the environment – it is caused by a disharmony between the nature of the environment and the nature of the system that we are using.  A fight between two people is not caused by one person striking the other, but by the disharmony between the two (and thus could be solved by a harmonising process by either side or by a third party).  Please note that harmony does not always equate to passivity or submission.  In order to harmonise with an intense situation somewhat more intense action is required, though certainly being as non-violent as possible is worthwhile.  Please consider Aikido – the gentle martial art of love – a great demonstration of this principle.  The student learns to harmonise with the attack.  This results in the attacker falling down – and being controlled, but not necessarily hurt.  This very gentle power to control disharmony and to bring it into harmony is what I am talking about here.  Similarly with all the challenges facing us – if we can harmonise with the situation then we can resolve it.

But do we want to solve only one problem?  Or do we want to solve all the problems?  Do we want to harmonise with the holistic pattern that is challenging us on all sides in our life?  This is universal harmony.  In order to do this we must tune in to the frequency not of one particular thing, one particular issue, but to the frequency of everything at once – seemingly a very difficult task as everything is very big, but this task is made so much easier because at the infinite cosmic level all is one, and we only need to tune into that oneness in order to tune into all things, and harmonise with all things.  This is Oneness.

Selfishness, Selflessness and Self-fullness

Obviously selfishness causes all kinds of problems in ourselves and society and the world.  It is a kind of love, but a very limited kind of love that can be cruel to others because its compassion is limited to only the self.  Most of us are not purely selfish – that dubious honour is reserved for only the most undeveloped or traumatised of us.  However for most of us there is a limit to our love where we become a little selfish, there are at least corners of egotism.  Look around at the political leaders of the world, how many of them seem truly good people?  So few.  But how important it is that truly good people can lead and guide us.

The obvious conclusion would be that we need selflessness.  People who care more about others than themselves, and people who have completely lost their egotistical nature, who have destroyed or given up on their egos.  This however is not a reasonable request.  It is not really possible, and if this is the direction that we aim then we will never achieve it, and our situation will be all the worse.  Aiming for unachievable goals creates a stress that leads often to the opposite of what we are wanting to achieve.  Aiming for true selflessness leads people to pretend to be selfless, or to be very critical and spend their lives in seclusion because they realise they are not good enough to serve in an egoless fashion.  And this means that our leaders remain the least developed and most selfish of all – who do not realise their own flaws.  It also means that we can never truly step into our own power – our own expression of self actualisation – of serving the world in our own natural way.

What is possible?  Not selfishness, or selflessness, but self-fullness – not removing the ego, but rather expanding it and creating a greater sense of self.  When we expand our sense of who am I, then we expand our love with it, and in the end when we identify with all, then our ego is expanded, not destroyed, and we achieve Self-fullness.  We still do everything out of self interest, but as that self interest incorporates the interests of everyone else (being all part of that self) then we have a generous form of self interest.  In effect selfishness and generosity become one and the same thing.

People who achieve this form of enlightened self interest become very powerful agents for change, because their work in serving and making a difference is not done out of the rather weaker force of idealism, but out of the strong heartfelt desire to serve, and strengthened by the joy that is received in that service.  

Seek not to lose your self, but rather to find it.  In this we will be set free.

Love in it many forms

I once was looking for good words to describe love in more subtlety than we tend to do in English – to try to express the different types of love – the love of a mother is different to the loyal love that a dog will express to you, and the love for your romantic partner is quite different again, and then there is divine love… So I looked at the words for love in sanskrita, and it was completely overwhelming – I found over a hundred different words for all the different subtle expressions of love. This is great, but not something that I will ever be able to make use of, so I turned to greek – they at least limited their definition of different types of love down to 7 or 8. But the important point is that we need to recognise these differences. It is not really useful to discuss love without defining what we are talking about – love is so all encompassing, so present everywhere in every thing that we do that it is difficult to say what is not love. It would seem obvious that war is not an expression of love, but what is it that moves a person to fight for their country if not love of country? Aggression and abuse would seem to be the opposite of love, but they are so prevalent in exactly the situations where people feel that love is appropriate – in close families – that there must be some link. At the other end of the spectrum the mystics who sit and do nothing and can smile at the world’s problems are also experiencing a kind of love. In the end I believe that all our actions are motivated by a kind of love – the various expressions coming about through the different types of love, or perhaps the different directions that love is directed. Much of what we think of as not love would be rather love of something else – if one focuses exclusively on the wellbeing of their own family then one can be quite harsh to everyone else etc. And so this leads to the obvious conclusion that what makes a difference here – what makes us more loving, and good people, is not the quantity of love, but its scope – how big a circle do we draw around ourselves inside which we love, and how large is the rest of the world where we choose not to diret our love? Where do you draw the line? What do you love? and what do you not?

As we grow personally we expand that circle of love and learn to connect and care about more and more of the world. This is a process that can be continued unto infinity, expanding and exanding until love becomes our world. I believe this is what the mystics, and spiritual teachers are referring to when they say that love is so important for us, to open to love etc. Allow that love to expand and fill your world, and in the process the love changes flavour. We go through a series of stages very similar to what we discussed previously about the different kinds of connectedness and disconnectedness. People begin with a kind of love that is very selfish, they expand to care about the people around themselves, and goodness, and it becomes generous, and noble, but less focused on themselves and their personal needs. Then the expansion happens again and they start to love the world around, and understanding it, the truth of the physical manifest world. This kind of love of truth is a rational intelligent way of looking at things, that may sometimes seem dry, lacking in warmth, but there is plenty of love and warmth it is just focused less on people and relationships, and more on things. As people expand their love further it encompasses more depths inside ourselves, and the animals and life around us, and becomes very compassionate, and interested in the emotional side of the world, and this then leads to the next step where the focus is on the whole pattern of relationships and connections, and not on any one individual which can be less earnest, but more peaceful. And then when people open up to the love of the universe, to the love that flows everywhere they experience ecstatic states of joy and divine romance, but the one that interests me the most, and the one that I think is very important for us as a society and as individuals is to learn to expand beyond the universe – beyond limitations to experience the infinite flow of love that is everywhere and in everything. This great expansion of love is known as Agape – it is not just ‘unconditional love’ but rather the essence of love that underlies all other expressions of love – it is this love that is the building block of the universe. Nothing exists that is not made of this infinite cosmic energy. (Sorry for making such a big claim without evidence to back it up, but to one whose eyes are opened to the experience of oneness and Agape this truth is patently obvious. All great mystics should be able to tell you this, because they experience this truth in every moment. Some things cannot be proved by logical argument, but can only be experienced directly. For example how do you know that the leaves on the tree are green? Only because you see them, some of our knowledge must be based on this direct perception.)

Triple Connection

We aim for connectedness – which is perhaps a better way of saying love – not the I love you, but the ‘we are connected’ however there are a lot of different types of connections, and ways of being disconnected. It is easy to see people who are lacking in connection to others – they are course, insensitive, rude. But what about people who are lacking in connection to themselves? They can be self sacrificing, and sometimes surprisingly needy, as they are not able to satisfy their own needs, or to really acknowledge them, but those needs still exist. It is also reasonably easy to see people who are disconnected from the universal, positive flow – this creates depression, unhappiness, meaninglessness. And so you see the three main directions of connection that we all need: to self, to others, and to the infinite.

Again you will find this theme throughout all spiritual traditions – the recognition of the 3 ways in which we need to connect. Some people would call it 1st person, 2nd person and 3rd person – as in I, you and It – which you should be able to see is just another way of describing Self, Other and the Infinite. You might call it Authenticity, Sensitivity and Positivity, but whatever words you use these three kinds of connection are essential to the harmonious balanced experience of life. Oneness and universal harmony implies the connection to all three at the same time. I do not serve you and forget myself, I do not serve myself and forget you, and I never forget the infinite loving connection. Sometimes this may seem difficult to balance, but in the end it is where joy and ease is found – once you discover it, it is really quite simple.

Let’s look at some of the possible imbalances:

Meaninglessness

the most unpleasant and difficult of all the states of consciousness is that when we are disconnected from all – from ourselves, from the infinite and from others. Life becomes completely meaningless, and the purpose of our very existence is questioned. The answer to this question of ‘why am I here’ that existential crisis comes only in finding some kind of connection that brings some joy and meaning into our lives.

Selfishness

When we connect to ourselves, but not to anyone else then we become selfish. We can be narcissistic and self absorbed, or cruel, selfish and greedy. It does not in the end lead us to happiness, but certainly is less depressing than absolute meaninglessness.

Martyr

If you choose instead to tune into the other person instead of yourself you make yourself into a martyr, always serving others to the detriment of yourself, never making yourself happy, and the happiness you give to others is never real or lasting, or sufficient. Perhaps you are less destructive to the world around you, but hardly effective in creating a good life for yourself or for others. You simply do not have enough emotional resources to be giving of yourself all the time.

Fanatic

Focusing only on the infinite but not on self and others leads you to religious fanatacism or fundamentalism. There is a joy that is found in the divine, but the insensitivity and lack of understanding of yourself and others leads you to unwise, forceful, and sometimes downright hurtful actions. This is what leads to bible bashing religiousness. The spiritual connection that these people have is real, but it is not balanced enough to be a truly positive force in the world.

Angry Activist

Activism is a good thing, but if it is led by a connection to self and other, but lacking in the infinite positivity it becomes a kind of humanism that while caring for others is at the same time, aggressive, angry, and lacking in a positive vision. This is not fun for the individual living in that way, nor for those around, and that angry aggressive approach can also lead to conflicts that actually get in the way of solving the very things that they are trying to improve.

Peaceful Mystic

Being at peace and having compassion for all certainly seems like a good way to live, and it does appear to not cause much harm, but when lacking in a connection to the self – when it is only the understanding of others and the divine love that leads to deep compassion and peace at the same time is missing the inner passion and spirit of self knowledge that leads to powerful action in the world. Yes this experience may lead to a good life of meditation, but it does not lead to really making a difference.

Crazy Devotee

Dancing in ecstacy feeling the love of the infinite divine as it flows through me the devotee is drunk on the nectar of spirit, but they are still lacking in awareness of others and sensitivity – this also leads to an inner spiritual journey that lacks the outer practicality. Again the devotees tend to be good people and don’t do much harm, but it is often surprising how much resistance they create in others less open, and how that resistance can actually lead to the opposite of what they want.

Complete Connection

The ordinary, happy, effective person is one who connects to all. They have an inner joy of spirit, a warm smile, and a sense of human connection, they know themselves and what they need, and the devote themselves to something that is meaningful to them, when not working they know how to have fun, and overall they seem like very normal person, but one with a deeper strand of peace and joy that runs through them. This is the life of Oneness that I think is worth pursuing.