I have appreciated greatly the One Garden group’s dialogue and inspiration generated around insights, the aha moments, satori etc. and I am wondering if you remember where you were, not when President Kennedy was assassinated or the Twin Towers were attacked but when you had a particular ‘aha’ moment.
Was it when you stood in the prow of a speeding boat like Kate Winslet in Titanic? Or in bed? Or in front of a beautiful vista? I better not extend the similes this is starting to sound like a Mills & Boon bodice-ripper! But first a word about intellect being part of spirituality.
INTELLECTUALITY IS (part of) SPIRITUALITY: There is a lot of anti-intellectualism about – like flu in winter! But for at least one of our 7 spiritual traditions, The Baha’i Faith, the intellect is seen as part of our spiritual makeup. This is a subject for another time but I do want to share one extract;
All blessings are divine in origin, but none can be compared with this power of intellectual investigation and research, which is an eternal gift producing fruits of unending delight. Man is ever partaking of these fruits. All other blessings are temporary; this is an everlasting possession. Even sovereignty has its limitations and overthrow; this is a kingship and dominion which none may usurp or destroy. – PUP 50 (RP Written in around 1910 I am sure the intention was not sexist but meant ‘human’)
Pow! – imagine that you take to joy of your ‘aha moments’ and intellectual investigation and research with you into eternity – the writer suggests that this treasure is greater than being a sovereign.
ONE OF MY ‘AHA’ MOMENTS – AT TALKIN TARN IN CUMBRIA:
For my ‘aha moment recalled’ I re-visited a subject necessary when I wrote my thesis namely ‘What is soul?’ If you want to see how challenging this apparently simple question is visit the WikiPedia page on ‘Soul’! – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soul
I found I got most help from Baha’i teachings. I would like to correlate what I got from Baha’i with other major traditions – so if you want to do some research in one or several of the other traditions please send me the results of your investigation.
The passage that gave me the most help doesn’t amount to scripture but if it is an accurate report it provides a great insight. So great was the impact when I discovered this passage about 20 years ago that not only did I yell something like ‘Eureka’ I can remember the exact spot of the exact place when I first read the passage – it was Talkin Tarn Country Park in Cumbria (see photo). I was sitting on a bench in front of the trees – Marion was a little way away.
THE PASSAGE THAT GAVE ME AN ‘AHA’ MOMENT ABOUT THE SINGLENESS OF BODY, MIND & SPIRIT
t (Human Reality) is the same reality which is given different names, according to the different conditions wherein it becomes manifest.
Because of its attachment to matter and the phenomenal world, when it governs the physical functions of the body, it is called the human soul.
When it manifests itself as the thinker, the comprehender, it is called the mind.
And when it soars into the atmosphere of God, and travels in the spiritual world, it becomes designated as spirit. – Star of the West 7.19 (March 1917):190
At one level I take the soul to be ‘human spirit individuated as a person’, as in ‘several souls were saved by the lifeboat crew’.
But from the above passage, and from indications on the WikiPedia page, the soul is more a particular activity of being human – as the will particularly in regard to ‘governor of the body’. The singleness of being human or ‘human reality’ manifests as three roles or activities of which one is our will;
1) The soul as will governs our body and our interactions with the physical world. The same human reality that manifests itself as soul, also manifests as
2) mind when engaged in thinking and
3) ‘spirit’ when soaring in ‘the atmosphere of God’ and ‘travelling’ in the spiritual world.
For those who see themselves as inter-spiritual the three in this ‘three-in-one’ incorporates
1) being engaged in thought or contemplation (mind),
2) turning to God/The Whole/Mystery with mind quietened (ie spiritual connection as in prayer or meditation) and
3) willing an action e.g getting up and closing a door or deciding to give some money to a particular charity etc.
All three are modes within ‘the human spirit individuated as a person’ – in terms of levels of spirit (mineral, plant, animal, human and Holy Spirit). All three emanate from the singleness of Being, and from ‘being that individual’. But that singleness shifts into one of the three modes depending on circumstances and intention.
A similar three-in-one I suggest in my SunWALK thesis. Each of us is a discrete individualization of the human spirit – the singleness of white light. But continuously, in micro-seconds even, we switch between the three modes of Caring, Creativity and Criticality – for the same reasons – need and circumstances. These three can be seen as the 3 primary colours of being human. We develop these, or fail to develop them, in a fourth C Community (in reality communities plural). These are not three kinds of thinking. If a child falls in front of you you don’t paint a picture (Creative response) or intellectually examine the frequency of particular kinds of accidents in UK families (Criticality response) – you pick the child up and dust her down, console & distract her.
See the logo design HERE
These three Caring, Creativity & Criticality are THREE MODES OF BEING & ACTING not three ways of thinking (sorry to shout) – thinking is the servant, and in at least Caring & Creating can be at a very low level – like the hum of the nondual as we go about our daily lives. When we take a conscious breath we are simply ‘fore-fronting’ the nondual which when we are doing the shopping or washing-up is the ‘hum’ in the background – like the drone in certain kinds of music. The conscious in ‘conscious breathing’
Incidentally according to Baha’i teachings you retain your individuality through out the worlds of God after this life. So does that mean I don’t believe in the drop into Ocean idea? No – I think we as a drop are relieved of the burden of self whenever we rest in the Whole i.e our true Ultimate Self. Breathing in “I rest in…’ – breathing out; ‘….the Whole’. There this particular tiny drop, so far as he is able, just became at-one with the Ocean. Hooray! Wow as Tim Freke-ians say! It is a real-time nowness thing not a goal at the end of a journey. (Check out Richard Rohr’s The Naked Now, as stunningly good as Tim’s The Mystery Experience). Every time we rest in a circular breath we sense that at-one-ness. Wow – and Aha! Wow – and Aha! Wow – and Aha!
The above passage attributed to Abdu’l-Baha was important to me since it it presents a ‘trinitarian driver’s-eye view’ of being human. We can simply ask which of these modes am I in most often or at a particular time. Am I getting as Tolle suggests of the human condition as a whole ‘lost in thought’ too often?
My aha extract is far from being a comprehensive view of Baha’i teachings on the subject. The following suggests that mind, will and heart are capacities of the soul ie soul is more than will and the governor of the body and its interaction with the physical world;
Since human nature is spiritual, the essential capacities of women and men are the capacities of the soul. In other words, one’s personality, one’s basic intellectual and spiritual faculties, reside in the soul, even though they are expressed through the instrumentality of the body for the short duration of earthly life. Some of the faculties that Bahá’u’lláh mentioned as capacities of the soul are
the mind, which represents the capacity for rational thought and intellectual investigation;
the will, which represents the capacity for self- initiated action; and
the "heart," or the capacity for conscious, deliberate, self-sacrificing love (sometimes called altruism).
The Bahá’í teachings confirm that the soul retains its individuality and consciousness after death, and is able to associate with other souls that are drawn together by love. SOURCE
I don’t know how to resolve the apparent differences between the two except for the obvious possibility of changes made in inadequate translation.
Other Baha’i sources on this subject are here;
Life Death and the Soul – http://info.bahai.org/article-1-4-0-5.html
The Soul – http://info.bahai.org/article-1-4-5-1.html
The Human Soul – Selections from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh – http://info.bahai.org/article-1-3-2-25.html
Heaven and hell: a Bahá’í view of life after death – http://info.bahai.org/article-1-4-5-2.html
Abdu’l-Baha on the Journey of the Soul – http://info.bahai.org/article-1-4-6-1.html
1 How does the tradition that you know best explain ‘What is the soul?’