The Birth of Intelligence

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Image by Peg Belcastro

“Drink water from the spring where horses drink. The horse will never drink bad water. Lay your bed where the cat sleeps. Eat the fruit that has been touched by a worm. Boldly pick the mushroom on which the insects sit. Plant the tree where the mole digs. Build your house where the snake sits to warm itself. Dig your fountain where the birds hide from heat. Go to sleep and wake up at the same time with the birds — you will reap all of the day’s golden grains. Eat more green — you will have strong legs and a resistant heart, like the beings of the forest. Swim often and you will feel on earth like the fish in the water. Look at the sky as often as possible and your thoughts will become light and clear. Be quiet a lot, speak little — and silence will come in your heart, and your spirit will be calm and full of peace.”

Saint Seraphim of Sarov


Some sages are married, some remain alone. Some sages are naturally kind, some naturally harsh and abrasive. Some vegetarian, others perhaps enjoy junk food. Ramesh Balsekar spoke about the conceptual distinction between “awakening” and “deliverance”. Awakening being awareness in the pure recognition of itself. Deliverance being when that awakening has fully matured and all the old conditioning has been un-done and dissolved. Allowing the actions that naturally arise in that organism, to flow from pure love. However, even then, the natural traits of that human being remain.” — David Rivers

Animals are connected to their innate wisdom through their bodies. They are guided and kept safe through instinct. We humans are civilized out of such wisdom. We live at a distance from our bodies, unable to hear and heed its messages. Yet, if humans get quiet and cock an ear to the inner world, they have the potential to come upon extraordinary wisdom. As stupid as humans often are, they still have a secret well of wisdom inside them if they can remove the barriers to it.

Removing mental barriers is the essence of any spiritual discipline, but our education is full of unexamined conclusions that abort our intelligence. Our judgements are many and our questions few. We are soon conditioned out of a questioning mindset. We learn to stop wondering and listening. Swallowing our culture’s precepts, we learn to live “automatically.”

Right now people are worried. Normal life seems to have gone off the rails. Descriptions of overwhelming stress flood the internet. People just want to sleep until life returns to some semblance of normal.

But normal life was the problem. It’s why we’re here. What this situation demands is awakening. Now is the time to become alert and intelligent. Now is the time to look, listen and ask questions. Now is the time to learn.

I think we are required to grow enough to face ourselves and the situation we have created. Partly that involves instinct and partly it involves watching and learning as energies pour through us. We know ourselves so little that the first thing we have to do is study ourselves without jumping to any conclusions.

This dangerous situation is also a great opportunity to advance human consciousness.

Watching people stand in line ten hours or more just to vote gives me hope that we will live another day to learn our lessons. It looks like our compatriots have decided to wake up and act. These are the unsung heroes of our day. How they are getting the message of the current emergency in spite of all the other things demanding their attention is a mystery, but somehow the urgency of our predicament seems to have hit home.

Frankly, at this point, this is the only thing that can ward off disaster. I’m cautiously optimistic.

Written by

I occasionally write fiction and also about creativity, loving, language learning and travel. I’m a longtime painter and reader.

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