Monday, April 13, 2009

On being attuned to the spiritual

‘There are two ways to live your life, ‘ said Albert Einstein. ‘One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.’ Which is another way of saying you can live as though there is no spiritual basis to life or you can live as though there is.

You can live as though you and your desires are all that matter. Or not.
You can live in selfish ignorance of a moral code. Or not.
You can live in a void of gratitude and reverence. Or not.
You can live…

Well, you get the drift.
There are two worlds existing around us at the same time. The material and the immaterial. The visible and the hidden. The mundane and the spiritual. Most of the time the spiritual is not obvious unless you train yourself to look for it. Unless you are awake to it. Unless you are attuned to it.
Look at an airplane. If you are not attuned, you simply see a big piece of technological hardware, so many hundred tons of metal and a nice paint job. But an airplane is the embodiment of man’s infinite creative genius. A great deal of imagination, dedication, hard work and sacrifice over time from a great number of men and women like you and me was necessary to perfect that flying machine.
Look at the banking system. It was designed and perfected much in the same way as an airplane – it is also the embodiment of man’s infinite creative genius. Normally you would not think much about it, when it works properly. But unlike an airplane, the banking system is built on relationships between people. And these relationships are subject to moral law. And recently, the consequences of neglecting moral law became visible in a spectacular fashion. To everyone. Looking for it or not. Awake or not. Attuned or not.

The power of spiritual forces in the Universe – how active it is everywhere! Invisible to the eyes, and impalpable to the senses, it is inherent in all things, and nothing can escape its operation. Confucius

At World Scripture I came across this quote from the Bhagavad Gita in the section on Ignorance. Here you have in a nutshell the two ways to live your life: as though you are but a higher form of animal living in a sensual world or as though you are a human being attuned to the spiritual in the material. Think of the credit crisis as you read it.

The demonic do things they should avoid and avoid the things they should do. They have no sense of uprightness, purity, or truth.
"There is no God," they say, "no truth, no spiritual law, no moral order. The basis of life is sex; what else can it be?" Holding such distorted views, possessing scant discrimination, they become enemies of the world, causing suffering and destruction.
Hypocritical, proud, and arrogant, living in delusion and clinging to deluded ideas, insatiable in their desires, they pursue their unclean ends. Although burdened with fears that end only with death, they still maintain with complete assurance, "Gratification of lust is the highest that life can offer."
Bound on all sides by scheming and anxiety, driven by anger and greed, they amass by any means they can a hoard of money for the satisfaction of their cravings.
"I got this today," they say; "tomorrow I shall get that. This wealth is mine, and that will be mine too. I have destroyed my enemies. I shall destroy others too! Am I not like God? I enjoy what I want. I am successful. I am powerful. I am happy. I am rich and well-born. Who is equal to me? I will perform sacrifices and give gifts, and rejoice in my own generosity." This is how they go on, deluded by ignorance. Bound by their greed and entangled in a web of delusion, whirled about by a fragmented mind, they fall into a dark hell.

Bhagavad Gita 16.7-16

This was written centuries ago. Human nature is the same today. We cannot expect human nature to change overnight. We can only try to change ourselves. One person at a time, starting here, with me and you.

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Discover The Tale of Genji, the 11th Century classic of Japan (click image)

Discover The Tale of Genji, the 11th Century classic of Japan (click image)
Kiyomizudera Temple has a large veranda looking out over Kyoto and beyond