Thursday, June 09, 2005

Dissolving the Intellectual Ego

Dissolving the Intellectual Ego

The greatest enemy of an intellectual is his own intelligence. The moment he recognizes himself as an "intellectual", he has already formed a barrier that impedes his further development. Intelligence is a great tool to dispell ignorance. But it is only a tool and all tools have their limitations.

The intellectual has a tendency to develop a very strong ego because of his great confidence and belief in his own mental capabilities. This ego is a mental construct that is very difficult to dissolve because it results directly from his well-honed thinking ability. He thinks out an image of who he believes he is, and this mental image over time begins to take a life of its own--his intellectual ego--which then becomes a major obstacle in his spiritual development.

The intellectual develops pride very easily and never misses an opportunity to deride lesser beings, often calling them "stupid". This is nothing but an indirect way of reenforcing his need to be recognized as "smart". He craves for such recognition and everytime this craving is satisfied either directly (through praise by others) or indirecty (by labelling other people "stupid"), the intellectual ego grows bigger.

When the intellectual ego has solidified into such an intractable mass, it begins to hamper his spiritual progress. He can still develop intellectually because intelligence can alway grow laterally, infinitely. He can learn all the intricate details about every obscure subject in the world, analyze the causes and effects of things, the interrelationships beteween ideas and even synthesize new ideas but he will not gain any further insight into the higher realms of existence.

Spiritual insight can only come from breaking the barrier of the intellectual ego. This cannot be done through further analysis or thinking. The intellectual has to learn how to "unthink" himself. And the best way to do it is by cultivating a devotional heart.

But this is such a difficult thing to do because he has grown to belief in the superiority of the head over the heart. But how wrong he is! The heart knows things that the head can never every dream of comprehending. The heart possesses wisdom that puts the smartest head to shame.

The first thing for the intellectual to learn is humility. Humility dissolves the ego. Once dissolved, he unleases all the latent forces within his spiritual being which propel him on to the next level of evolution. And only then will he realize how limiting intelligence is, how "stupid" his old intellectual self was, and most importantly, how much more he still has to learn.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Raising Ourselves to Godhood

Raising Ourselves to Godhood

All artistic pursuits are ways to serve God. An artist creates; in doing so, he partakes in the unfolding cosmic drama that is the evolving universe. The artist becomes a vehicle of God, an expression of the Divine Will.

Scientists pursue God intellectually--through analysis and understanding. The artist dives straight into God's veins and swims in the sweetness of His blood, while the scientist is content with measuring blood pressure and putting blood cells under the microscope. Each finds spiritual ecstasy in his own way.

An artist tunes into God's Mind to allow a fragment of His infinite creativity to find expression through him. The artist knows that the entire universe is throbbing with creative energy. He taps into this universal flow of creative energy and allow it to crystalize into beautiful forms, which we call works of art.

The dichotomy between art and science is false, an illusion, a mental barrier that should not exist. How wonderful life is if we have the opportunity to pursue both art and science! We may not be born with the talent to become great artists or scientists but all of us can experience theirs joys in our own small ways. All the artistic masterpieces of the world are easily accessible to anyone who's interested. All scientific discoveries of mankind are freely available in books for us to learn.

When we listen to Mozart, we feel as if God is speaking directly to us, in His voice. Such is the beauty of Mozart's music. When we look at the beauty and symmetry of Maxwell's equations, we feel awed by the grandeur of His works.

There's so much beauty in this world for us to enjoy and yet we waste our time complaining about life and quarrelling with others over insignificant things. Enough of such pettiness! Let's all take a cue from Beethoven:
Go on; do not practise art alone but penetrate to her heart; she deserves it, for only art and science can raise man to godhood.

- Teplitz, July 17, 1812, to his ten year old admirer, Emilie M.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

The Inner Voice of Wisdom

The Inner Voice of Wisdom

I've learnt to trust my instincts a lot more these days. But still it doesn't mean that I will abandon cold hard reasoning when it comes to making a decision; just that I will always allow my instincts to say its piece and give it due consideration.

Why should instincts be given such prominence? Isn't instinct driven by our animal desires?

To a certain extent yes, instincts are our hardwired animal behaviour. Evolution has honed our instincts to enable us to know exactly how to behave in certain life-threatening situations. Self-preservation is always the goal of animal instincts. When such instinctive behaviour are allowed to manifest in our civilized society, it exhibits itself as selfishness, cruelty and opportunism. People who never bother to develop their souls are slaves of animal instincts and suffer great karmic consequences for their actions.

As humans evolve into higher beings, the emotional, intellectual and spiritual dimensions of the personality becomes more developed. Our education, our life's experiences, our piety and our natural maturity brings us into this higher realms of existence. When we have spent enough time living on these higher planes, "instincts" begin to form. The soul always learns through pain and pleasure and when enough experiences have been accumulated, our responses become "hardwired". On the physical plane, we call it instincts. On the higher planes of emoton, intellect and spirit, sometimes we call it "intuition". Intuition is the holistic result of our emotional, mental and spiritual experiences. Intuition is spiritual instincts.

I listen to the voice of my intuition because it always has something valuable to say to me. It is a good barometer of my higher states of being. It tells me how to react and respond to the world around me. To know whether the intuitive insights that flash through our minds are reliable, we must be able to know the "noise level" that are present inside us. Noise comes from lust, desire, selfishness--the promptings of the ego. If we know how to filter out such noise from our minds, then our intuition will be crystal clear and consequently, reliable.

It takes practice and a great deal of mindfulness to benefit from one's instincts and intuition. To know them well is to have a wise teacher beside us all the time. Intuition, when separated from ego-driven noise, is our inner voice of wisdom.