I saw a Peanuts cartoon in which Lucy is reading a book. “A man was born, he lived and he died. The End!”, she says, and tosses the book aside. Linus picks it up reverently. “What a fascinating account”, he says. “It almost makes you wish you had known the fellow.”
I laughed, then asked myself – what makes an interesting life?
My parents’ lives were very interesting to research, but my life would be very boring for my sons to research. I was born, I live and I will die.
But is the point of your existence that it should provide material for an exciting biography?
I think not.
The point of your existence is
- to become wiser i.e. raise your consciousness
- to do good deeds – take on more responsibility
- to overcome the fears that hold you back
- to improve your performance, move yourself up a notch (“step-up” is the trendy word)
It would be hard not to raise your consciousness over three score years and ten as all the people of Planet Earth are collectively doing that. For example – once upon a time it was considered by many that it was the natural order of things that some people would be slaves all their lives. Rich people went on safari and killed as many wild animals as they could and boasted about it. Great men with a higher understanding persuaded mankind that these kinds of behaviour were not acceptable, and today most people would agree.
In some ways humankind’s behaviour appears to be getting worse, but maybe that’s the perception of people who are more questioning and have higher ethical standards than previous generations. Things seem to get worse before they get better.
There are inumerable ways in which we can raise our consciousness and “step up”. But if you never change your beliefs throughout your lifetime, then you are stuck on one rung of the spiritual ladder. Acquiring wisdom means being open to new ideas; it means assessing the beliefs and values which were instilled into you as a child. It means searching for the truth, even though it might turn out to be something you really don’t want, or it scares you.
We all tend to get locked into belief systems. If we are challenged, we justify our beliefs and ignore anything that might prove them wrong or suspect. We just can’t bear to lose an argument. The religious person might refuse to read a a book disclaiming God; he convinces himself that the book is the devil tempting him. The atheist might refuse to read a book about reincarnation; he is quite sure there is no such thing as an eternal spirit, and although he can’t prove that there is not, he wont read anything that might give evidence that there is.
Many older scientists rubbish the young person’s breakthrough theory. It would be too painful and humiliating to admit that you were wrong for 30 years, and your job might be at risk. If we have invested for many years in a belief system, we are not about to change now.
“Do something that scares you every day” - advice I heard recently.
So go on – read that book that might make you throw some dearly loved belief into the trash can.
Ask yourself – “What if I’m wrong?”
I say - who wants to waste a whole lifetime believing lies or untruths?
I say - stand tall and when you are wrong, admit it – to yourself and to others.
IT’S GOOD TO CHANGE YOUR MIND.
It means you have learnt something, become wiser and faced your fears.
Then you can step up onto the next rung of the ladder.