Wisdom is achieved very slowly. This is because intellectual knowledge, easily acquired, must be transformed into ’emotional’ or subconscious, knowledge. Once transformed, the imprint is permanent. Behavioural practice is the necessary catalyst of this reaction. Without action, the concept will wither and fade. Theoretical knowledge without practical application is not enough.
Balance and harmony are neglected today, yet they are the foundations of wisdom. Everything is done to excess. People are overweight because they eat excessively. Joggers neglect aspects of themselves and others because they run excessively. People seem excessively mean. They drink too much, smoke too much, carouse too much (or too little), talk too much without content, worry too much. There is too much black-or-white thinking. All or none. This is not the way of nature.
In nature there is balance. Beasts destroy in small amounts. Ecological systems are not eliminated en masse. Plants are consumed and then grow. The sources of sustenance are dipped into and then replenished. The flower is enjoyed, the fruit eaten, the root preserved.
Humankind has not learned about balance, let alone practiced it. It is guided by greed and ambition, steered by fear. In this way it will eventually destroy itself. But nature will survive, at least the plants will.
Happiness is really rooted in simplicity. The tendency to excessiveness in thought and action diminishes happiness. Excesses cloud basic values. Religious people tell us that happiness comes from filling one heart’s with love, from faith and hope, from practicing charity and dispensing kindness. They actually are right. Given those attitudes, balance and harmony usually follow. These are collectively a state of being. In these days, they are an altered state of consciousness. It is as if humankind were not in its natural state while on earth. It must reach an altered state in order to fill itself with love and charity and simplicity, to feel purity, to rid itself of its chronic fearfulness.
How does one reach this altered state, this other value system? And once reached, how can it be sustained? The answer appears to be simple. It is the common denominator of all religions. Humankind is immortal, and what we are doing now is learning our lessons. We are all in school. It is so simple if you can believe in immortality.
If a part of humankind is eternal, and there is much evidence and history to think so, then why are we doing such bad things to ourselves? Why do we step on and over others for our personal ‘gain’ when actually we’re flunking the lesson? We all seem to be going to the same place ultimately, albeit at different speeds. No one is greater than another.
Consider the lessons. Intellectually the answers have always been there, but this need to actualize by experience, to make the subconscious imprint permanent by ’emotionalising’ and practising the concept, is the key. Memorising in Sunday School is not good enough. Lip service without the behaviour has no value. It is easy to read about or talk about love and charity and faith. But to do it, to feel it, almost requires an altered state of consciousness. Not the transient state induced by drugs, alcohol, or unexpected emotion. The permanent state is reached by knowledge and understanding. It is sustained by physical behaviour, by act and deed, by practice. It is taking something nearly mystical and transforming it to everyday familiarity by practice, making it a habit.
Understand that no one is greater than another. Feel it. Practice helping another. We are all rowing the same boat. If we don’t pull together, our plants are going to be awfully lonely.
~Excerpts from Many Lives, Many Masters by Brian L. Weiss, M.D.~