Over the years, I’ve noticed a human tendency to become attached to a thought, idea or concept to the point of claiming it to be “the” way or “the” truth; whether it be a way of being, acting, communicating or doing. Regardless of which industry sector, spiritual dogma or healing modality we study, each has the potential for we humans to be afflicted by this tendency.
The ego is a tricky thing; sneaking up on us when we think we’re being oh, so spiritual.
Several years ago, while chatting over coffee, I had a man become instantly angry when I stated that rarely is there ever an original thought in the universe. I explained that we are all a part of a collective consciousness and how there have often been cases where people on opposite sides of the world apply for patents on identical inventions. Inventions that they each believed were completely unique and of which they had “discovered” or “thought up” all on their own.
Whether you agree with the 100th Monkey Principle or not, many of us have had similar experiences – I was just thinking that! We can choose to look upon this as the way things are, being amused and delighted at sharing great ideas, or we can grow suspicious – hmm, perhaps someone is stealing ideas! Or even worse, resentful that someone else has patented the very idea we had!
One of my personal interests is energy healing. There are numerous modalities, so to keep things simple, let’s just take a quick look at two: Pranic Healing and Reiki. Which is better? Pranic is from prana, the sanskrit word for “breath” or in Hindu teachings, “life force energy”. Reiki is made up of two Japanese words, Rei, meaning “spirit” or “divine”; and ki (which the Chinese call chi), being “life-force energy”. Both modalities include the practitioner streaming universal life-force energy (usually through the palms of their hands) to the recipient, either in person or distantly, in order to clear chakras and restore energetic harmony to a person on many levels (emotionally, physically, etc). Is one modality better than the other? Are they one and the same? Do we even need to debate this when people are out there doing good work and others are experiencing healing from it?
Because we are all connected, we all have access to the same, collective pool of information. We all share this potentiality. However, after a lifetime of conditioning, we’ve become increasingly disconnected. Many of us now lack the capability of tapping into this awareness on a regular basis. We only “know” what we’ve studied or watched on film and no longer access our innate intuition.
On another occasion, I met a man who claimed to have created a brand new universal language. It was a language that transcended cultural barriers, and as he explained it to me, he grew increasingly excited. The concept wasn’t new and it resonated with me due to the teachings I had been receiving for years. Although I was happy for his new found realization, it was already “common knowledge” for me… it was a Truth. When he found that my excitement didn’t match his, Judgment crept in and he exclaimed that I “didn’t get it.” I attempted to explain my experience of the same Truth. He then sat down, leaned back and proceeded to list his credentials: his educational and professional background. He restated that this was a brand new language – nothing like this has existed before. As Ego consumed him, I felt my own ego rising to the fore – who does he think he is? I was able to carry on my way politely, but on the drive home I succumbed to Ego’s tenacious grip. How can he be so arrogant? I’m going to call and tell him a thing or two! Thankfully, in this case, I came to my senses and did not make that call, recognizing my ego’s attachment to my version of reality.
When a person realizes a grain of Truth from the collective consciousness, and believes that s/he alone has realized it, and continues to excitedly talk about it as being “the” way, it is time to take a breath and open up to the possibility that there is more. It is great to be enthusiastic about the idea, modality etc., but the danger in a person believing that it is “the” answer goes well beyond the Messiah Syndrome. It causes the person to become stuck in a genre, a modality, a subject, a science, a thought-pattern and to miss key elements of the bigger picture. This attachment actually blocks the energetic flow, the intuition and awareness that we all innately possess.
“Knowledge of the truth consists not in proclaiming it but in living it.” – Anastasia, from the Ringing Cedars Series.
Try as we might, we cannot patent Truth. We patent the various modalities, techniques and slogans but what have we gained in doing so? We are all on the same team. And even when our intentions are honourable and well-meaning (I’m going to share this with the world!), it can be very easy to get caught up in our ego.
What does our lifestyle and behaviour say about our “knowledge of the truth”? Are we actually living it?
My partner once had a conversation with a woman who strongly encouraged him to see a film she was promoting that many people had found to be particularly meaningful. As it was the time of year where he was farming from morning until dark, he wasn’t willing to be indoors watching a DVD so asked her to share something about it. She gave a description of the topic and as he shared his understanding of the subject matter, she became increasingly agitated. When he asked if it was along the same line of what Gary Zukav teaches, she reacted, “It has nothing to do with Gary Zukav. It has to do with vibration and you don’t know what the f*** you’re talking about!” The next morning, my partner jumped into his truck, and as he was driving down the road, Gary Zukav’s calm, loving voice on the cassette player was saying, “… it’s all about intention and vibration…”.
My point is that there isn’t one “right” way. There are a multitude of ways whether it be approaching health and nutrition, business, healing, brainstorming solutions… anything. And the moment we form an attachment to “a” way, and make it “the” way, we are starting down the same slippery slope we humans have been guilty of for thousands of years: that which creates separation from and even persecution of those who see things differently than we do.
When we feel the tendrils of our ego defending “a” way, it is time to slow ourselves down and take a step back. Once we bring ourselves back to a more peaceful state and recognize our attachment, we can then choose to live in a manner that encourages curiosity, experimentation and creativity. When we do this, it is natural to experience living in harmony by listening to our intuition. When we are tapping into intuition, we tap into the same energy that Leonardo da Vinci and Albert Einstein tapped into. Inventors, artists and the like are incredibly curious people who keep trying new ways of thinking, being and doing. Their thoughts and feelings flow, which allow them to access the collective awareness much more often and at a much deeper level than those who are caught up in day to day busyness or those who are too fearful of making a mistake.
By choosing to live more peacefully and harmoniously, we will find that our decision-making is more in alignment with our values. Knowledge of the truth is certainly more than talking about it, it’s living it!
Nicole publishes this magazine, is co-owner of Compassion Farm and is a board member of both the Bowen Road Farmers’ Market and the Nanaimo Womens’ Business Network.