Adding Wisdom To Love
It is commonly thought that there are specific pathways to God: the path of faith, the path of good works, the path of devotion, the path of the will, and the path of wisdom.
In India, for example, there are many different pathways recognized as separate forms of yoga. A guru teaches techniques which will enable his students to pursue one particular path, and no other. To a large degree, this practice has also been transplanted to the West. Often, teachers will instruct their students not to experiment with any meditative techniques other than their own.
Up to a point, there can be value in such specialization.
An individual frequently needs to concentrate on one specific approach to God and the Higher Self, especially in the beginning stages of growth. Until one path is mastered, the effort to pursue many paths at once would be a distraction. Nevertheless, it is also important to see the need for balance in our approach to God and the Higher Self.
Those who can only love God do not have a very complete relationship with God. They will be in harmony only with the heart of God, and not with the mind, the will, or the plan of God. Individuals who have built great faith in the Higher Self, but nothing else, have likewise limited themselves to those facets of the Higher Self which are activated by faith alone. This is just a matter of common sense.
Most people choose the path of faith or devotion when they first embark on the spiritual quest, and rightly so. Until we are properly imbued with an unshakeable love for divine life and a solid faith in the benevolence of God’s design, the development of esoteric knowledge and skills might prove disastrous.
Untutored emotions succumb all too easily to temptation, selfishness, and rebelliousness. The risk of entrusting an immature personality with the mysteries of life is great.
As a result, the major focus of spiritual teaching throughout history has been directed at instructing the emotions in the lessons of faith, love, and devotion. But once these lessons are mastered, we must go on, and learn the lessons of wisdom, the will, and good works.
We must teach the mind as well as the emotions to become involved in:
- contacting God and the Higher Self
- rendering the plan of God into effective service
- interpreting the will of God into purposeful direction
- translating the light of God into specific knowledge
A fundamental tenet of the Western tradition of Active Meditation is to add wisdom to our faith, good works to our love, and the penetrating power of divine will to our devotion.
And yet, strangely enough, most systems of meditation do not encourage the development of the mind.
They are so intensely focused in the techniques of faith, devotion, surrender and love that they view the mind as an enemy, a slayer, rather than a meaningful pathway to God and the Higher Self.
Some, encourage their adherents to still the mind and view it with contempt, failing to see the inconsistency of holding in contempt one of the major creations of the Higher Self.
Because this blighted view of the mind and the role of wisdom in meditative practices is so widespread, it deserves to be carefully examined and evaluated. If we allow erroneous concepts about the mind or wisdom to influence our thinking, we can undermine much of the good that Active Meditation is designed to do.
The Wisdom Factory
The Higher Self is a repository of great wisdom and great archetypal ideas. It also is a resource of understanding the meaning of those ideas and the skills to apply them creatively.
Being immortal, our Higher Self has acquired a tremendous store of talents, powers, and knowledge from various dimensions throughout its long existence. Some of this accumulated wisdom has been extracted from life experiences on earth, some from its experiences in other dimensions.
In addition, because the Higher Self is a divine creation, it also has access to the full wisdom and force of divine archetypes.
Archetypes are the fifth-dimensional patterns of consciousness from which the forms of life are created.
There is, therefore, enormous wisdom in the Higher Self.
To some degree, the emotions are able to reflect this wisdom, by learning to love truth and adore beauty. But the portion of the human personality which is designed to receive the wisdom of the Higher Self is usually quite small.
The average human mind is still enslaved by the emotions. In many people, the mind is used chiefly to rationalize and defend the emotional judgments that already dominate their personal beliefs and habits.
When the mind is properly trained, however, it has the potential to become a miniature “wisdom factory.” Such a mind can harness the wisdom of the Higher Self and use it to refine the experiences of daily life into common sense, insights, new skills, and greater perception.
Such a mind will be a noble element of the personality.
As long as we remain obsessed with our emotions and the sensations of the body, however, we are unlikely to tap this potential. Unfortunately, this is a major problem for most people.
Commonly, they choose to listen to their feelings and what their body tells them, rather than training the mind to view life objectively and understand the events which occur.
As a result, they are focused almost wholly in their physical bodies and emotions. Their minds remain weak, undeveloped, and rarely in contact with the wisdom of the Higher Self.
The problem is that when a person does decide, at last, to train and cultivate the mind, the early lessons to be mastered sometimes are difficult and annoying. They can lead to approaching life in ways which cause the typical spiritual devotee to recoil in fear.
In order to learn discrimination, so that we can separate the wheat from the chaff, we must train the mind to make evaluations and judgments.
In the beginning, it is easy to take this lesson to extremes, becoming harshly critical of others, ourself, and society. Eventually, these critical tendencies are seen to be destructive, and we learn to use the skill of discrimination as a lens to the Higher Self, not as a weapon.
In order to learn discernment, so we can embrace and comprehend the ideals of the Higher Self, we must train the mind to reach out and discover what lies beyond our current state of knowledge and beliefs.
Much of this new knowledge can conflict with what we “already know for certain.” This clash of ideas can strain the willingness of the mind to accept new ideas. Thereafter, the mind often chooses to retreat into skepticism and disbelief until it becomes more comfortable with the work of actual thinking, as opposed to its usual practice of reshuffling its opinions.
Ultimately, genuine progress in tapping the wisdom of the Higher Self will not proceed efficiently until the full purpose of thinking is accepted, comprehended, and engaged.
The basic purpose of thinking is to discover and expand our knowledge and skills and to be creative in applying them to bringing the divine plan into manifestation.
In order to learn to work with knowledge, we must train the mind to work pragmatically. This essential step enables us to translate the wisdom of the Higher Self into practical activities, not just endless, philosophical speculation and mystical moods.
Practical activities can include the healing of our chronic fears, the repair of our hostile outlook, and creative changes in our lifestyle that lead to greater self-sufficiency.
At first, this may be disturbing to the individual who has had a long- standing habit of adoring the “unknowable, ineffable, abstract wisdom of God.” It may also cause us to focus excessively in the mundane issues of life, ignoring the divine realities of the Higher Self.
Eventually, though, we learn that we are a multidimensional being, capable of working pragmatically in daily life while remaining focused in our spiritual heritage.
In order to learn to work abstractly, so we can interact with the divine archetypes of the Higher Self, we must train the mind in certain intuitive skills.
At first, this may lead to a preoccupation with low-level psychic phenomena and showy displays of psychic gifts. Sooner or later, however, we outgrow this mode of psychic work and begin using our intuitive skills to explore the abstract nature of life.
In order to learn to work with the power of thought, so we can tap the power of archetypal life, we must train the mind to form convictions.
In early stages, this lesson may go awry, and we end up becoming prejudiced and willful instead. Nevertheless, we eventually master these distortions and learn to use the mind as an agent of the Higher Self.
Unfortunately, many struggle with these lessons and, at first, use the mind largely to criticize and condemn. These immature ways are not well respected by older authorities on spiritual development. Thus, the mind has earned a bad reputation of being critical, skeptical, materialistic, profane, and prejudiced.
Yet this reputation is not really deserved. These problems are not actually inherent in the nature of the mind.
They occur as emotionally-oriented people try to learn to use the mind, or even worse, try to use an undeveloped mind.
Still, it is the mind which has taken most of the blame. It is the mind which has been labeled “the slayer” by a host of spiritual authorities, because they do not understand the phenomena they observe.
To believe that the mind is designed to be a slayer is tantamount to believing that wisdom kills. This is nonsense.
Wisdom is the accumulated knowledge, insight, and power to act of the Higher Self. It can only be tapped by us for use in our daily lives if we have trained and developed the mind.
Nevertheless, hordes of well-intentioned and dedicated people are convinced that they must bypass the mind in order to attain enlightenment.
It is always difficult to observe these people, as they try to pursue a life of goodness and spirituality without the benefit of wisdom. These are good people, filled with faith, devotion, and love.
But their faith is built on belief alone, not a knowledge of what they believe.
Their devotion is based on adoration alone, not on insight into what they idolize.
Their love is guided only by their hopes, not a comprehension of life.
In their commitment to believing in all things divine, they neglect the need to understand what they believe.
This lack of comprehension can lead to serious distortions about the spiritual life, the Higher Self, and God. Sadly, much of what has been written on these subjects has been written by people who have scorned or ignored the development of the mind.
Consequently, their descriptions of the spiritual life tend to be bland and filled with platitudes.
Their analysis of the Higher Self is usually vague.
Frequently, they will simply state that these higher states cannot be described in words. This is not true. The problem lies not in the failing of words, but in the faultiness of the person using the words.
It is therefore important to realize that ignorance has never been a spiritual virtue. It is ignorance which destroys the spiritual life, not wisdom.
It is the empty mind which is the slayer, not the active and enlightened mind. And those who label the mind the slayer and encourage others to view it as such are the ones who have done the greatest damage.
The Best Source Of Wisdom
The skillful practice of Active Meditation illuminates the pathway between the intelligence of the personality and the wisdom of the Higher Self. This illumination generally does not occur as a sudden flash, but rather builds gradually over a long period of time.
This development often moves more quickly when we focus on our pragmatic need to know something (as opposed to idle speculation) and then seek the guidance of the Higher Self.
To understand how this occurs, we must comprehend the following basic points:
- Everyone is endowed with an enormous inner wisdom and the capacity to acquire greater understanding of life.
- This wisdom is available to anyone who develops an effective and balanced working relationship with the Higher Self. This is achieved when:
- the physical body is attuned to the Higher Self’s ideal of productivity
- the emotions reflect the Higher Self’s capacity to express love
- and the mind is aligned to the Higher Self’s resources of wisdom.
- The nature of the wisdom of the Higher Self is abstract.
As such, it defines principles and archetypal themes rather than how they are applied in specific situations.
The personality grounds wisdom in its conduct of daily living as it learns to formulate practical uses for the abstract principles of the Higher Self.
4. The abstract ideas or principles of the wisdom of the Higher Self have three aspects—power, meaning, and pattern. Another way of describing these three aspects would be force, quality, and design.
To learn to
work with these abstract ideas and principles, therefore, we must train the
mind to rise above its usual preoccupation with the form of ideas, and learn to
work with the power, meaning, and pattern of ideas.
5. Access to the wisdom of the Higher Self is acquired by learning and practicing the skills of contacting and using abstract knowledge and intelligence. It is not learned merely by absorbing the predigested precepts of a guru, philosopher, or religion, or the traditions and opinions championed by mass consciousness.
The statements of enlightened individuals can be useful guides to the abstract levels of wisdom, but the pathway to the wisdom of the Higher Self can only be illuminated through our own efforts.
In any circumstance, the most reliable source of guidance is always our own inner wisdom! Cultivating it is therefore a matter of good sense.
A Bridge To Wisdom
Many people know so little about wisdom that they end up pursuing the wrong way. Some people, for example, are convinced that wisdom and truth cannot be understood, perhaps not even experienced, because it is known only by God. Such dedicated nihilism is an anathema to wisdom.
What truly is remarkable is how these people can know so definitely that truth is unknowable!
Others are equally determined to reduce truth and wisdom to the level of mere opinion. These people are offended by the suggestion that the inner life is structured on definite principles and laws.
They prefer to think that “what you believe in your heart is true for you and what I believe in my heart is right for me.”
But truth and wisdom are not relative. The nature of any principle, whether of truth, physics, or math, is that it applies to all alike. It does not vary from individual to individual. The applications of wisdom may vary, but the principles of wisdom do not. They remain absolute.
The principles of wisdom and truth have an existence independent of our observations, senses, understanding, or belief. They are the structure of the intelligence of the fifth dimension.
Or, to explain it in a different way, they are the structure of intelligence which is the mind of God. As such, they are knowable, and reliable.
They are the one objective phenomenon of life.
In other words, if one thousand enlightened individuals were to contact the same archetypal force of divine wisdom, they would all basically agree on their interpretation of it. Their interest in it and perhaps even their description of it might vary, depending upon their background, work, and cultural training, but they would all recognize that they were contacting the same archetypal force.
This is a powerful concept, because it confirms that divine wisdom is an absolute reality which can be known.
It makes the process of cultivating wisdom much easier, because we can reasonably proceed on the assumption that the Higher Self and the universe in which it lives is already wise.
Our task is primarily one of building a bridge between the personality and the wisdom of the Higher Self. As we do, we increase our capacity to become aware of and utilize the wisdom within us.
The bridge which links us with the wisdom of the Higher Self is built in five stages:
- By cultivating a love of truth.
- By training our mind to become responsive to wisdom and truth.
- By learning to work intelligently with symbolic and abstract thought.
- By focusing the intention to apply wisdom in the pursuit of enlightened living.
- By developing the habit of exploring the higher realms of life.
Each of these five stages in building the bridge to wisdom will be examined in a section of its own.
The Love Of Truth
The magnetic power of love is a tremendous asset in the effort to attune to the wisdom of the Higher Self. The love of truth is not just a platitude, but a dynamic concept.
As our love of truth grows, our capacity to invoke inspiration, penetrate self-deception, and comprehend the ideals of the Higher Self also grows.
Like wisdom, truth is multidimensional. In physical life, we often think of truth one-dimensionally, as the accuracy of facts, statements, and statistics. Sometimes we attempt to personalize it, referring to “my truth,” making truth subservient to our subjective beliefs, desires, and opinions.
As we explore the inner dimensions of life, however, we will find that there is much more depth to truth than this. We must consider the meaning, design, purpose, and universality of truth as well as its appearance and application to us.
We also need to cautious of those who use isolated fragments of truth to deceive and manipulate. For instance, it may true that we all deserve to be free and safe in certain ways. This “sounds good” when we hear it, but these slogans do not give us a license to ignore responsibilities or neglect our duties. Such a “true” statement when used to deceive people can hardly be thought of as embodying archetypal truth.
In the same way, a concept about the power of God which causes people to think themselves worthless is surely not a part of divine wisdom.
Consider, for example, a popular Biblical quote: “The foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom; the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.” (I Corinthians I)
When some use this quote, which is obviously true, to demean our best efforts to comprehend our life situation, this works against the purposes of both divine and human life.
If the concepts of wisdom and truth are to make sense, we must see them as derivatives of the divine archetypes of life.
Any idea or concept which is in harmony with archetypal life and helps to fulfill its purpose is wise.
Any statement or act which is in harmony with divine ideals and honors them is truthful.
We do not establish the wisdom or truth of any idea or concept, for wisdom and truth are inherent in the plan of God.
However, by applying wisdom, we can reveal its usefulness and validate its authenticity.
By loving truth, we master the first stage in building the bridge of wisdom.
The love of truth consists of three elements:
- Devotion to the divine origin of truth and wisdom.
- Respect for truth and wisdom as the basis for conducting life, individually and collectively.
- The effort to honor truth and wisdom by revising our personal thoughts, feelings, and behavior so that they reflect the quality of the divine archetypes of life.
Unless we love truth, we will be too easily satisfied with superficial explanations and counterfeit ideas to guide our thinking and creativity.
For example, a common way we can deceive ourselves occurs when we assume that simply accepting and believing in a benevolent God leads to forgiveness for all our faults and failures; further efforts to improve ourself are unnecessary.
This type of thinking short-circuits the long work of purifying our character and transforming our thinking, values, and behavior.
Exploring the wisdom of the Higher Self can lead to discovering that some of the attitudes and beliefs we have cherished at the personality level are nothing but prejudices or self-serving deceptions.
It can be painful to make these discoveries, and even more painful to act upon them, unless we are sufficiently motivated to do so.
The love of truth is the one force which can provide this motivation. It gives us the courage to risk being wrong, and learn from our errors.
It likewise gives us the courage to risk being right, which to some people is even more frightening.
Unless we love truth, we will be constantly adrift in the sea of public opinion. We will be unsure and confused as to how to proceed, whether to be skeptical or enthusiastic, pessimistic or optimistic.
We may even believe that we can serve truth by hating falsehood, which is perhaps the greatest deception of all.
The love of truth helps us establish a proper attitude toward the use of the mind and the wisdom of the Higher Self.
Training The Mind
The empty mind which some misguided spiritual authorities cherish is not a blank slate waiting to be written on, it is no slate at all!
The mind is the primary staging ground by which the wisdom and creative inspiration of the Higher Self enters into the personality. An untrained mind is therefore a serious barrier to the development of practical wisdom, common sense, and truth.
To build the bridge to the Higher Self, we must make it a constant habit to train and improve the quality of the mind.
These are some of the basic skills the mind needs to develop:
None of these skills by itself would guarantee responsiveness to the wisdom of the Higher Self, as they can all be developed for the use of the personality alone. Yet until these skills are at least partly mastered, it will not be possible to become responsive to our inner wisdom.
How are these skills learned?
To some degree, the conventional instruction of high school and college can provide an excellent basis for developing many of these skills. But the level of skill demanded by these institutions is not at present very high.
The intelligent person should see this instruction only as a starting point, and that the education of the mind must continue throughout his or her life.
This is accomplished by using the mind actively to pursue insight about our past, our relationships, our careers, the weighty issues confronting society, the new frontiers of mental discovery, and the meaning of daily events.
When the mind is able to comprehend these issues, without coaching from others, then it can be assumed that it is well prepared to comprehend the guidance and wisdom of the Higher Self.
Symbolic And Abstract Thought
Working effectively with the potentials of Active Meditation eventually will require that we learn to view the world of ideas, events, and ourselves as symbols of wisdom and truth.
These symbols are not wisdom and truth themselves but have the potential to embody the richness and force of archetypal life.
In time, the skill of recognizing the real within the symbolic becomes highly important to the meditator. It becomes the basis for comprehending the broad patterns, meanings, and principles within events, relationships, self-expression, and the unfoldment of consciousness.
The ultimate statement about the importance of understanding symbols was probably written by the Apostle Paul in Romans I:20 “For since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities, his eternal power and divine nature, have been seen from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”
He is boldly stating that all things visible reveal (symbolically) the nature of the invisible, inner creative life of the divine.
While inner wisdom does exist independent of the life of form and the personality, the way to wisdom is found by studying the outer appearances of life. This study would include speculating on the laws, principles, designs, and ideas which gave rise to the outer appearance and activities.
A symbol is any concrete form which reveals the abstract essence from which it has derived. The symbol itself does not contain the power, significance, or intelligence of the abstract thought it represents. This limitation is similar to a picture of a flower which clearly does not contain the fragrance, beauty, or life of the flower. The value of either the symbol or the picture is that it helps us become aware of the reality it represents.
Many people are confused by the value of symbols. They have been taught that symbols are images, and the ability to “think in images” is the same as working with abstract ideas. This is as silly as believing that a person who thumbs through a seed catalog, looking at all the pictures of flowers, is a gardener. And yet this misconception is widespread.
An image is not a symbol at all until we go beyond the image itself and contact the abstract reality it represents. The mere observation of an image does not accomplish this.
Symbols can become a doorway to inner wisdom. But first, we must learn that the mind is not limited to concrete intellectual analysis. It is capable of handling creative inspiration, abstractions, and insights. As such, it can lead us to a refined world of subtle qualities, meaning, and purpose, greatly stimulating the power of our thinking.
Those who have not learned to think symbolically will likely read a few paragraphs in a book and then struggle to comprehend its meaning.
They will be limited to a literal interpretation of what was read.
But those who have trained themselves in symbolic and abstract thought will be able to read the same paragraphs and intuit many more facets of meaning. For instance, they might glimpse the intentions of the author in writing them, the value of these ideas to their own life, and the relationship between these concepts and others they have read on the same subject.
In working with symbols, however, it must be understood that there are abstract thoughts, abstract feelings, and abstract principles and purposes. A symbol can lead us to any of these, depending upon our need and orientation.
An abstract feeling would be the essence of a particular emotion. Goodwill, for example, is the abstract quality which is the essence of the practical expression of tolerance and forgiveness. It is experienced as a broad, pervasive feeling of love and respect for others.
An abstract thought, by contrast, is the archetypal force which is the essence of a particular idea. It is experienced as direct understanding or realization of the significance of an idea and how it relates to other ideas.
An example may help clarify this distinction. If we are unhappy in life, but manage to tap the quality of cheerfulness and joy in meditation, we would be touching an abstract feeling.
If we then also touched an understanding of why we have been unhappy, that we have expected others to make us happy instead of accepting responsibility for our own happiness, this would be an abstract thought.
Abstract feelings are quite useful in our work to heal and enrich the emotions and expanding our expression of divine love.
In the work of building a stronger bridge to wisdom and truth, however, we must focus primarily on abstract thought.
We must seek to understand life and be guided by wisdom, not just feel good about life.
As we begin working with abstract thought, it will most commonly arrive in response to our efforts to understand a confusing aspect of mundane life, as described in the example just cited. But as we become more adept at interacting with inner wisdom, the focus of abstract thought will shift.
More and more it will arrive in response to our efforts to be creative.
While contemplating a set of ideas or possibilities, we will suddenly find ourself immersed in an awareness of what to do with these ideas, what they mean, and the purpose they fulfill.
These will not be separate, finite thoughts, but rather the perfectly proportioned facets of a pure and clear diamond of thought.
It will be a thought which embraces the entire range of possibilities and applications and yet remains whole.
Wherever we focus this diamond, we are able to understand how to proceed. We have tapped the basic design and power of this particular idea
This kind of abstract thinking is experienced only by those who spend large amounts of time in deep thought and have refined their skills in working symbolically and abstractly.
Such experiences are almost totally devoid of mood or attitude; the meditator is entirely absorbed in the intelligence, meaning, and purpose of the thought that is contemplated.
When we reach this level of functioning, we are able to deal directly with the archetypal forces of divine mind.
We are able to inspect the fundamental principles and patterns which serve as the ideal blueprint for all creativity, healing, and self- improvement.
We do not have to speculate as to the nature of human psychology; we can examine the archetypes from which it derives.
We do not have to wonder when creative inspiration will strike; we can go seek it out, rather than waiting for it to arrive.
The capacity to operate in this way is one of the great fruits of Active Meditation.
In practice, the simplest way to develop a capacity for abstract thought is to search for the purpose or underlying themes behind any event, pattern, or fact in our life, our relationships with others, and the affairs of society. As this becomes a regular habit, we become progressively more attuned to the meaning behind the outer symbols of life.
The Intention To Apply Wisdom
Within every archetypal idea there is not only intelligence and meaning but also a strong impulse to act.
In order to work fully with the wisdom of the Higher Self, therefore, we must become responsive to the will-to-life and will-to-act that it contains.
This is accomplished by cultivating the intention to apply wisdom in enlightened living. Without such intention, much of the value of Active Meditation is apt to be dissipated in idle speculation and otherworldly pursuits. It will lose its practical benefit.
The will-to-life is a powerful force which seeks to activate all enlightened elements within consciousness. The best way to harness this will-to-life is to nurture a personal determination to be the right person doing the right thing at all times. As this determination builds, we gain access to the force of will within wisdom.
We can then use this force of will in meditation to penetrate the elements of ignorance, self-deception, and selfishness still in the character of the personality. Simultaneously, we can strengthen the elements of intelligence, maturity, and discipline to clear them away.
Many people fail to appreciate this active mode of wisdom. They believe that wisdom consists entirely of understanding the esoteric details of life.
For example, if they become aware of their foibles and failings, then they assume they are wise. And yet, this is not actually true. The person who understands his deficiencies and flaws and then fails to change them is hardly wise. This understanding must be translated into actions that create useful changes based in these insights before it becomes wisdom.
The intention to apply wisdom to the challenges of enlightened living creates a pathway for the light of wisdom to enter into our conscious thoughts, feelings, and behavior. It also helps provide a practical focus for the wisdom, qualities, and ideals we contact during meditation.
Some people, of course, would argue that giving meditation a practical focus destroys the whole purpose of meditation, which they think is to leave the physical plane behind. Yet the spiritual duty of the Western tradition is to give enlightened expression to the forces, ideas, and qualities of spirit, and not just passively adore God.
If we can find no practical use for the love and wisdom of the Higher Self, either in ourselves or in society, then there must be something missing from the “love” and the “wisdom” we have discovered.
The need for the life of spirit is great. There is hardly an area of our character, our endeavors, or the affairs of society which cannot benefit from an extra touch of understanding and insight.
The pursuit of wisdom should never be limited to arcane secrets and religious mysteries alone. In most cases, it has a direct application to daily life, because God is involved in every area of life!
The wisdom and light of the Higher Self has the power to shine through every facet of our self-expression.
But it cannot do so until we formulate the intention to take an active part in applying wisdom, to harness the illuminating light of the Higher Self to cast out ignorance wherever we find it.
This is what enlightenment means in the Western tradition.
Exploring The Higher Realms
The power within archetypal ideas affects us in another way, too. It stimulates our curiosity to explore the higher realms of mind and spirit.
Many are afraid to leave the easy comfort of the known and the familiar. Genuine growth of knowledge and wisdom, however, requires us to reach out beyond the boundary of our thoughts and discover new dimensions.
The mundane focus of ordinary consciousness serves a useful purpose in helping us remain attentive to our duties and obligations. And yet, it can also serve to cramp our curiosity and limit our perspective on life.
To complete our bridge to the wisdom of the Higher Self, it is therefore necessary to teach ourself to break free from the restrictions of ordinary consciousness and periodically explore the higher realms of life.
Many people, even meditators, simply become bogged down in narrowmindedness and limited perspectives. They value only the qualities and principles of living which are directly useful to them, and either ignore or reject everything else.
As a result, they become mired in prejudice, fear, doubt, stereotypes, and misconceptions.
These traits can sabotage the entire effort of anyone who pursues the wisdom of the Higher Self.
There are three fundamental attributes to cultivate in teaching ourself to explore the higher realms of consciousness:1. Broadmindedness. We need to recognize that a single archetypal force can give rise to thousands of different expressions. This is the basis for expanding our appreciation for the rich diversity of self- expression among the peoples and cultures of human civilization.
The results can be the cultivation of a more universal posture toward the entire human race. This needs to replace the narrow focus on our personal needs and the common tribalism that is now dominant.2. Speculation. We make it a habit to review situations from the past, present, and future and explore them from different perspectives. It is common for many to look mainly for flaws and faults in the behavior of others or examine only our distress.
There is often greater meaning in these events, perhaps an important lesson for us about managing problems, seizing opportunities, and fulfilling responsibilities.
3. Innovativeness. In dealing with problems and creative challenges, we strive to look for new ways of handling them. In this way, we invoke the guidance of inner wisdom to help us to find better answers and solutions, instead of merely relying on the traditions of the past.
These five stages in building the bridge to the wisdom of the Higher Self can, of course, be translated into a meditative technique for invoking wisdom.
While this technique, like all of the others in this book, begins with establishing contact with the Higher Self, it is designed to be used at light meditative levels as well as more profound levels.
As such, it can be conveniently used whenever we have the need for wisdom, at work, while reading, while reflecting on the problems of life, and so on. It should not be limited to formal meditations.
The technique is also designed to be flexible and versatile.
Routines and set formats can become deadening to the development of wisdom. So can rigid expectations.
There are many ways in which the Higher Self can communicate with us, through mental impressions, images, a sense of rightness or wrongness, or specific words and symbols.
We should be flexible enough to perceive wisdom in whatever form it arrives.
Once contact has been established with the Higher Self, the next step is to take a moment to define our need to know.
What is our need for wisdom? This could be:
- a problem we need to solve
- an area of confusion
- an opportunity we want to evaluate
- an aspect of character we want to review
- a relationship we want to improve
- a responsibility we want to better execute
- or something else of this nature.
In order to better understand this situation, we need guidance and assistance from our inner wisdom.
The purpose of defining this need to know is that it gives us a starting point from which to proceed. We are not just waiting for a handout of wisdom from the Higher Self, but taking the initiative to invoke guidance to help us act more wisely in a specific way.
Having defined this need to know and given focus to our quest, it is then important to be flexible and choose the method of contacting the wisdom of the Higher Self which will best suit our purpose.
There is an extensive “menu” to choose from:1. Invoking the ideal solution. We can assume that the ideal way of handling this situation already exists in the understanding of the Higher Self, as a pattern or principle. All that we need to do is to transfer this existing wisdom into our conscious awareness.
This can be done by thinking of our inner wisdom as a vast research library where information on every subject already exists, including the ideal solution to this particular line of inquiry.
In our imagination, we can visit this research library and investigate the answers it already contains.
Or, we might take advantage of a “meditative time warp” and assume we can move into the future after this ideal resolution has already worked itself out in physical manifestation. By looking back over what has already occurred and reviewing the way in which the ideal has unfolded, we are able to obtain valuable insights and clues as to how best to proceed.
2. Discerning purpose and principles. Since the abstract essence of an idea includes its purpose and principles, an excellent method for transcending the limits of mundane thinking is to seek to discern the purpose and principles at work in the subject of our inquiry.
This must involve something more than just examining what we want from the situation, however, this would only reveal our personal motivation.
Rather, we must endeavor to look at the situation from the perspective of the Higher Self, and how it views the purpose and principles being served.
This process can be stimulated by asking our inner wisdom various questions: What forces are involved in this situation? What is their origin and intention? What lessons are being taught? Is this in harmony with universal principles? What is the best way to fulfill the purpose being served?
3. Role playing. We can imagine that we are a wise research scientist or an experienced investigative reporter seeking to discover the truth behind some phenomenon or aspect of life.
Cast in one of these roles, we can reflect on the why, how, when, where, and who of the object of our inquiry. We seek this information from the vast resources of the wisdom of the Higher Self.
Role playing is an excellent way to achieve a greater measure of impersonality and objectivity in our effort to invoke wisdom.
4. Working with symbols. It is sometimes quite useful to invoke a symbol for our object of inquiry from the Higher Self, and then ponder on the meaning, insight, and force which the symbol represents.
Such a symbol can be a concrete image, the recall of a significant memory that hints at what we need to know, something from movie we have seen, a book we have read, or the lyrics of a song we have heard.
This is done by dwelling briefly on the expectation that the Higher Self will subtly suggest to us an appropriate symbol.
We want to shift our attention from our need to the realization that the Higher Self is capable of doing this.
This assists in shifting us to a receptive, listening attitude in which the invocation is answered, and the symbol comes into focus.
There are a great many esoteric symbols which can lead to much insight into the wisdom of the Higher Self as they are contemplated and examined. Nevertheless, it is always important to remember that the purpose of symbols is not fulfilled merely by receiving a vivid image.
The reason for invoking a symbol is to go beyond the form and tap the abstract essence it represents.
5. Personifying our inner wisdom. Personification is a marvelous way to translate abstract patterns of wisdom into concrete images the subconscious mind can relate to.
In using this approach to inner wisdom, however, it is important to always keep in mind that the personification of wisdom we create is being guided and directed by our Higher Self. A strong dedication to truth can protect this personification from being taken over by our wishes and fantasies.
In personifying our inner wisdom, the most convenient image to use is that of a wise sage or teacher whom we can consult to guide us and instruct us in the proper perspective regarding our object of inquiry. It is never necessary to see this image clearly. The point of this exercise is not to obtain clear visions, but to improve our understanding of life.
Consequently, the emphasis should be placed on looking at life from the perspective of this wise teacher, the personification of our own higher wisdom. The actual dynamics of conversation are less important.
Another useful personification is to think of our inner wisdom as a committee of experts seated at a round table. These experts are there to answer our questions concerning the object of our inquiry.
6. Working with divine archetypes. Archetypes are the patterns of wisdom and intelligence in the mind of God. They contain the insight, meaning, intelligence, and power from which genuine creative work draws its strength.
To become a wise parent, therefore, it can be helpful to work directly with the archetypes for parenting and growth. To become a wise citizen, it can be useful to work with the archetypes of civic responsibility, duty, and group consciousness.
To become truly wise in any field of human endeavor, it is important to become familiar with the archetypes which govern it. This is not as difficult as it might seem at first.
Taking the object of our inquiry, we reflect on the patterns of divine intelligence which govern it and the basic design by which it operates.
As we ponder on these patterns, we invoke the appropriate archetypal force, resting in the belief that our invocation is being answered.
We then communicate with this pure force of life.
It may require a touch of imagination and a bit of experience to become comfortable with communicating with abstract patterns of intelligence, but if we persevere, we gradually begin to recognize the distinct qualities of the various archetypal forces of life.
Once our use of one of these six methods of contacting the wisdom of the Higher Self is finished, it still remains to translate the wisdom we have touched into a definite plans and intention for action.
Each meditative exercise in working with the wisdom of the Higher Self should conclude by reviewing the insight gained, examining its larger implications, and then determining its practical application in our life.
Until we have mastered these approaches to the wisdom of the Higher Self, there will always be a certain measure of doubt as to whether we are actually contacting our inner wisdom, or just the playacting department of the subconscious.
This is a real concern, but it should never be allowed to become so intense that it actually interferes with the reception of guidance and intuition.
We should always proceed with the quiet confidence that the Higher Self is just as interested in these meditative efforts as the personality is. It wants to help us be the right person and do the right thing. So, our exercises will be overshadowed and supervised by the wisdom of the Higher Self.
A measure of self-deception and fantasy may creep in from time to time, but we must not be overly attentive to it. The more we work with these techniques, the more we will become familiar with what is wisdom and what is fantasy. In addition, our basic integrity and common sense will always prevent us from wandering too far astray.
Under no circumstances should we assume that we are duty bound to accept without reservation all input arising from these exercises.
We all have an obligation to review advice and guidance, from whatever the source, before we act upon it. This good sense extends even to advice we believe to be coming from the Higher Self.
If the insights we receive mesh with our values, principles, and sense of duty, it is reasonable to trust them. If they do not, we should be highly skeptical of them.
It is the failure to exercise this responsibility which leaves open the door to self-deception.
By using simple common sense and good judgment, we can avoid the vast majority of problems which tend to arise, and far more quickly develop a useful rapport with the wisdom of the Higher Self.
The Technique For Invoking Wisdom
The technique for invoking the wisdom of the Higher Self can be summarized as follows:
1. We begin by entering a meditative state and contacting the Higher Self, as described in chapter five.
2. We define our need to know, giving focus to our invocation of wisdom.
3. We choose the appropriate method for making contact with the wisdom of the Higher Self, selecting from the various skills of Active Meditation.
The choices include invoking the ideal solution, discerning purpose and principles, role playing, working with symbols, personification, and working with divine archetypes.
Using whichever method we select, we then thoroughly investigate the topic we have in mind.
4. We conclude by reviewing the insights we have gained and building the intention to apply them to life, thereby touching the power to act wisely.