What a precious gift is kindness. Don’t we all wish there was more of it in our lives! Isn’t the idea of a truly kind friend something we all cherish, but all too often simply long for?
Kindness sees, kindness understands, but kindness doesn’t judge. Understanding is not blind; judgment is blind. Understanding need not be all knowing. In fact, understanding knows that omniscience is the domain only of the divine. Yet, understanding is inherent in the kindness we mortals are capable of. We don’t have to look far to see that judgment and negativity seem to be the way of this world. Agni (fire) and Soma (water) make up this world. There is an excess of Agni in the world these days. It is the Soma nectar of loving kindness that supports and upholds the very fabric of life. Mount Soma was created to cultivate that nectar of peace and kindness. May we all hold one another in that light of kindness.
In my experience as a beginning musician, I stumbled upon an analogy that works in a limited way, but provides, I think, some valuable insight.
It seems there are essentially two approaches to learning music. One is to understand the theory and basically jam on the notes and chord progressions of the theory underlying a particular song or type of music. The other approach is sheer memorization. Memorizing, for example, where to put your fingers, and in what sequence. As a beginning musician, I found the memorization approach tedious and confining. In my observations of others, it seems like a common experience: they get halfway through a piece, hit a wrong note or lose their place, get frustrated, pound on the keys, and start once again.
In contrast, when I learn to jam, I feel free. Mistakes don’t matter because I can just flow right through them and they become part of the music. Now I understand that other people, and no doubt advanced musicians, would have a lot to say in agreement and in opposition to my perspective. So yes, the analogy does break down, but there is a real value to the point of the analogy as follows:
Life is to be lived in a state of psychological and intellectual freedom. It is the foundation of creativity and individuality. The indoctrination of mimicry is confining, limiting, and painful.
However, I’m not talking about anarchy here, or sheer rebellion. As with the laws of music, there are laws of nature. To succeed in life, we must live in harmony with those laws of nature, while enjoying the freedom of our own unique nature. There are laws of nature that we adhere to, but afford us a great deal of freedom. That way, we can jam with the freedom of self-expression in life without overstepping the bounds of natural law. That is the state of liberation. On the other hand, trying to conform to a memorized notion of proper behavior is self-limiting.
As a final note, I’d like to once again acknowledge that this analogy only goes so far. There are many great musicians who find tremendous unique self-expression by performing memorized pieces of music. However, understanding the essential concept of this analogy is something we all do well to understand.
It’s not uncommon for a competitive athlete to thank God after a victory. It’s also not uncommon for some people to assert that God picks a side in a sporting event. Let’s take a deeper look at this to figure out what is going on.
On the deepest level of existence, God is universal, supporting all things equally. We can say that God is like the trunk of a tree, supporting all of its branches. However, as that divinity wells up through different levels of existence, it, like a tree, branches outward.
Nations, communities, and individuals align with that divinity in different ways. That is one reason why there are different religions. Each religion aligns with a branch of the tree of divinity according to the laws of nature of the land. The laws of nature are different on the mountaintop than they are in the valley. Thusly, this births different religions. Each religion has with it a different and unique face of the one God. In that way, there are an infinite number of different faces of God. Some correlate with entire continents and some with small communities.
An athletic team is supported by the spirit of the community it represents. That spirit is fed by the unique face of God (the unique aspect of the one God) that correlates to the laws of nature of the community represented by that team. On a team level, it is called “team spirit”; on a national level, it is called “patriotism.” We feed our team, our community, our nation, and our world by aligning with that quality of divinity, that face of God, that soul which supports, nourishes, sustains, and feeds each particular group consciousness. Just as different branches of the same tree can sway in different directions simultaneously while still rooted in the same trunk, diverse personified aspects of divinity can lean in different directions.
If they know it or not, this explains the mechanic of how an athlete can validly thank God for their victory. If we know it or not, we all rest upon the same one God as that life-sustaining value wells up in an infinitely diverse number of ways.
In different parts of India, different aspects of divinity are worshipped. Even small villages have their own chosen aspect of, for example, Lakshmi, that they worship as the God/Goddess of their small village.
Said simply, God is on everyone’s side. The degree to which we align with natural law (with God’s nature) is the degree to which we receive the support of nature. That can play out as worship of a particular aspect of God, as team spirit, as a devotion to family, to nation, to community, or even to the group consciousness of a small business. That spirit breathes life into the community.
Dr. Shen was a famous Chinese medical practitioner and my dear friend. He once told me, “I don’t deal with disease. I support health.” Similarly, we support health on all levels of life by maintaining a positive dedication to what is healthy in the society. It is not that we bury our heads in the sand with respect to problems. Rather, it’s that we understand the source of true health, success, and prosperity. So, feel free to cheer for the home team!
Jordan Peterson is a professor, psychologist, author, and lecturer with perspectives on many things… masculinity, religion, etc. If you would like, you can sample some of his many YouTube videos. I do not agree with everything he says, but do find some of his talks interesting and useful.
"Relative life will have to be with problems... [We only aspire] to infuse… a state of consciousness that will be... more capable of finding solutions to the problems that arise. — Maharishi Mahesh Yogi ... See MoreSee Less
"Take the time to reflect on what is said here. If you find yourself associating this material with things you have heard elsewhere, please take the time to diligently explore how they are different. This knowledge is elusive. I share it here because I have seen how much this knowledge helps people – the potential is enormous." – Michael Mamas