The human intellect is often thought of as man's main advantage or asset over the rest of the life forms on earth. But sometimes it can be our biggest hindrance. Of the 4 elements, our mental body relates to the air element (even though being called an "air-head" is not a complement). The thoughts that pass through our minds are not necessarily an integral part of our true identity. Just as your thoughts go out into the world like ripples on the water, so others may unknowingly pick up on them. (I hope they were good ones!) Some people can consciously read the thoughts of others.
Some of your horrible thoughts that you wonder how you could ever think them, might not even be your own, but someone else's you picked up on. Our thoughts are part of our mental "body", a kind of forcefield or garment that we wear as part of our aura. It is one of our 4 "bodies" which are instruments for the expression of our Real Self. (There are prayers you can give to help seal your aura on The Summit Lighthouse website (www.summitlighthouse.org). Search for "tube of light". See also Balancing Our 4 "Bodies" page on this website.)
What is our true potential?
Is our intellectual potential limited by our brains? The best answer to that is: Our only real limits are those which we impose, or unwittingly allow to be imposed, upon ourselves. Our entire culture and educational system conditions us with certain expectations regarding our abilities and potential. If these are way below our true potential, then we have basically been brainwashed into under-achievement. This may sound rather cynical to you, but we need to look at all sides of the subject with open minds if we are to achieve a wholesome balance. Besides, isn't it fun to explore greater inner potential? True genius is often found more in children, as they are still open to all possibilities. So the next section will be a lot more enjoyable if you approach it in that frame of mind. : )
You've probably heard that the average person only uses about 10% of their brain power. Actually, modern research tells us the figure is closer to 4%. Did mother nature give us an extravagant excess knowing that we'd probably kill many of those cells through riotous living? Not at all! And this is the "good news" if ever there was. But to make this more understandable, let's first look at some facts. The number of neurons in our brains, around 13 billion on average, were already developed when we were tiny embryos about 20 weeks after conception, and they do not renew themselves later like other body organs. Amazing, huh?
Use it or lose it!
About ten weeks before birth, each neuron starts to send out some fibres to make ACTUAL and POTENTIAL connections. Our mental ability depends more on the quality and number of connections than on the number of neurons themselves. And the most important point is that only some of the connections are ACTUAL (i.e. made automatically). The more you use your brain, the more the POTENTIAL connections become ACTUAL ones! The brain expands through use, so "use it or lose it!". It's potential is mind-boggling. Dr. Frederick Tilney, a leading brain specialist has said: "We will by conscious command evolve cerebral centers which will permit us to use powers that we now are not even capable of imagining." The decrease in mental ability in the elderly is mainly due to a decrease in the amount of oxygen to the brain through an ailing circulatory system. This can be compounded by excess stress and unresolved issues deeply embedded and entrenched in the unconscious. Sometimes considered as dissociative disorders, which become mal-adaptive & eventually permanent.
Geniuses are the ones who are normal.
This all tells us that we are operating at a fraction of our full mental potential. So the small percentage of true geniuses this world has seen are not freaks of nature but just using more of their potential. They are the ones who are normal. As Colin Rose wrote in his book ACCELERATED LEARNING (Dell Trade Paperback, N.Y., 1985): "Thus it is probably correct to say that almost every normal child is born a potential genius." He relates many examples under the section Genius is More Made Than Born about children that become "geniuses" by intensive educational programs from a young age. He also makes a very important point: "... no child should be forced like an intellectual hot-house plant. Clearly, it is vital that the child should become a socially well-integrated adult, enjoy her childhood, and never be pressured. The point to make here, however, is that there is no question that a loving, relaxed, and rich environment during the vital formative years definitely does create a higher degree of mental capability. And that is of undeniable benefit." (More on this under Holistic Education below.)
It is not only a matter of how MUCH we use it but HOW we use it. Our brain is designed with two halves. The left brain is more for linear, academic, analytical thinking and the right brain more for lateral thinking e.g. imagination, creativity and intuition. When these are well balanced and exercised like a muscle that is built up in a gym, "amazing" feats can be accomplished, like reading at 25,000 words per minute for instance! (More on this to be included later!)
The "good news".
So, concerning the "good news" mentioned above, it wasn't just wishful thinking when Paul the Apostle said: "Let that mind be in you that was also in Christ Jesus." Some spiritual teachers teach that the human brain is a "chalice" for the mind of God within us, and that we can attain the Cosmic or Christ Consciousness whereby we can access wisdom and intelligence way beyond that which is normally accessible to us. This is in a different league even to psychics who can read people's auras and thoughts. There is much written about the Christ Consciousness. It is also referred to as the higher mind or higher mental body, or part of our Holy Christ Self. This subject is well covered in the book Climb the Highest Mountain by Mark and Elizabeth Prophet (Summit University Press).
Learning styles and "Accelerated Learning".
"Although intelligence is useful, it needs to be returned to the spirit. This is called the great harmony." – Huai-Nan-TzuAccelerated learning makes optimum use of the co-operation between the left and right sides of our brain. The accelerated learning movement includes various techniques, like Neuro-Linguistic Programming and "right-brain education", and includes skills like speed reading and photo reading. It also takes into account that different people learn differently. The three main learning styles are visual, auditory and kinesthetic (movement and action). Some people have identified eight different learning modes. (See more on this in the Holistic Education section below). Yet our educational systems and IQ evaluation tests concentrate mainly on just two of them, and on the left or analytical half of the brain. How many children have we rejected or discouraged throughout the decades just because we did not identify the unique intelligence and potential that they had? It's just as well that they didn't throw Einstein out of school when he failed mathematics. He had the true gift of using both sides of his brain, being an accomplished violinist, artist and mystic. Home schooling obviously has a big advantage in this area of holistic education, as long as the parent is aware of these factors.
Being "in alpha".
Our brain operates on different frequencies, measured in cycles per second (CPS), depending on our activity. These are grouped into four ranges:
Colin Rose wrote the following in his book Accelerated Learning about being "in alpha": It is a state of relaxed alertness that facilitates inspiration, fast assimilation of facts, and heightened memory. Alpha lets you reach your subconscious, and since your self-image is primarily in your subconscious, it is the only effective way to reach it." There are various ways to help be "in alpha", but a meditation mode with baroque music (around 60 beats per minute) is a good start. However, it can be as easy as just joyfully relaxing, playing or "being in the moment". This is what is encouraged in "right-brain education", which is an aspect of accelerated learning, as the right half of our brain is more for lateral thinking e.g. imagination, creativity and intuition.
To achieve your goals, meditation and mind work can help tremendously. As mentioned on the page Balancing Your 4 “Bodies”, our energy cycles from the mental to the emotional. Much of it is at a subconscious level. But we can get our subconscious working for us by concentrating our thoughts on the desired results i.e. visualizing success. The most effective way to utilize the amazing potential of our brain is to “be in Alpha”. (See above for more on this). There are various ways, but a meditation mode with baroque music (around 60 beats per minute) is a good start. Do not put any of your attention on the negative. Spend 5 to 10 minutes twice a day of vivid imagination on how you’re going to be once you’ve achieved this victory or success. Say for instance it is to lose weight. Engage all of your senses in as much detail as possible. Imagine what it feels like fitting into those clothes that are the size you are aiming for; what it sounds like to hear that special person in your life complementing you on your weight; how you look in your bathroom mirror when at your ideal weight; the smell of the sea breeze while you’re lying on the beach in the sun in your bathing suite that looks great on you with your slim figure etc. And lastly, imagine how good you feel about yourself for enduring and turning your attention away from all those tasty temptations that came your way during the process.
In the periods between your meditation, your subconscious will work for you in bring about your goal. This technique is the basis of a lot of methods and books on the subject of success and achieving your goals.
Giving our children the best shot at life means providing the best all-round education. Home schooling obviously has a big advantage in this area, as long as the parent is aware of these factors. Straight left-brain academic will not do, neither will waiting until they go to school, which is already past most of their major formative years. We need to help them develop in all of the eight intelligences or learning styles which we all have, as described by Howard Gardner, a Harvard psychologist. (Originally he only described seven, but later discovered the eighth, Existential Intelligence - a person who naturally questions and ponders the deeper meaning of existence from a relatively early age.) This includes right-brain education used in accelerated learning, as mentioned above, plus the education of the heart and the soul. It includes learning by music and movement. And it includes teaching them from an early age. Much research has been done and many positive results obtained from people teaching children from an early age and/or in a holistic way. The following are some examples.
The Montessori method teaches children to develop their seven intelligences. Maria Montessori brought a message and a method that transformed early childhood education. Because the message is based on principles, not theories, it continues to be right for the children of today and tomorrow. Holder of doctorate degrees in psychology and philosophy and professor of anthropology, Dr. Montessori keenly observed little children, sensed their needs, and helped to fulfill them through a carefully prepared environment.
Kindermusik is an early childhood music and movement program based on the beliefs that: Every child is musical. Every parent is the child's most important teacher. The home is the most important learning environment. And based on research, music nurtures a child's cognitive, emotional, social, language and physical development. Their web page says: "From birth through seven years of age, your child can grow with Kindermusik without pressure to perform, only encouragement to explore, express and discover. You'll see a developmental evolution in language skills, emerging literacy, listening, problem solving, social skills, self-esteem and musicality!"
Early Childhood Education.
As mentioned in the section above called “What is our true potential?”, “no child should be forced like an intellectual hot-house plant”. But this does not mean that we should deny young children the education they need and desire. How do you know they desire it? Because you offer it to them in small doses, and observe them closely. This has been researched and demonstrated extensively even with infants. When done in the right way, they get excited and joyful. When you go too fast or too slow, their attention starts wandering. The Institute for the Achievement of Human Potential covers this subject well. It introduces parents to the field of child development (physical, intellectual and social) in a joyous and sensible way, and is based on the teachings of Glenn Doman.
One of the principles that Maria Montessori discovered reveals the mind of the child up to the age of seven to be extremely absorbent in nature. Everything in the child's environment and experience is assimilated into the personality and character of the child. Read her book The Absorbent Mind for details. It explains how language and self-discipline develop in the child. It also shows how to create a stimulating environment at home or school to release the child’s imagination and promote independence and self-reliance.
We need to remember that the child’s brain had all of it’s cells (neurons) for this entire life developed as an embryos about 20 weeks after conception. In the months following birth, synapses (the connections between the neurons) increase 20-fold, to more than 1,000 trillion. The child's environment and stimulation greatly affects this process. Plus, there is a soul behind that little body who is eager to learn and get ready for its mission on earth. New scientific research is confirming what parents have always known--infants begin learning from the moment they are born. Some would even say that learning begins months before they are born. A good book on the subject is Nurturing Your Baby’s Soul – A Spiritual Guide for Expectant Parents by Elizabeth Clare Prophet (Summit University Press, www.summitlighthouse.org). It offers incredible insights into the inner life of the unborn child and presents practical spiritual techniques and meditations to help develop your baby’s unique gifts.
Character education is vital to every soul. It is meant mainly for children, and it covers things like taking responsibility, tolerance, respecting and valuing others, self worth, honesty and integrity. These are obviously things that parents should teach their children. But not all do, and those that would do not always know the best way. A major cause of youth crime, and subsequently adult crime, is that many children are not lovingly taught and nurtured by their parents, either because their parents are absent or themselves dysfunctional and even abusive. Many strong-souled children survive and do well. But our world would be a much better place to live in if people received the character education they deserved as children.
There are many resources available for character education. A good start is TeachingValues.com. It provides an answer for reaching today's children with successful accelerated learning methods using storytelling to give children an understanding of values. The Character Education Partnership is also a good resource. It is a non-partisan coalition of organizations and individuals dedicated to developing moral character and civic virtue in our youth as one means of creating a more compassionate and responsible society.
Heart and Soul Education.
Education needs to cover more than our intellect, as we are holistic beings with seven different intelligences, as covered above. Some of the resources already mentioned take this into consideration. This subject is also covered in the section below called “The balance between intellectual knowledge and soul knowing”. But gearing it specifically for children, a great resource is the 4-tape album called The Freedom of the Child, which is available from the bookstore section of www.summitlighthouse.org. Oatmeal Angels also has some good products.
The balance between keeping our attention on our goals and analysing our weaknesses.
Our weaknesses can be a major hindrance to obtaining our goals, but analysing ourselves to pieces can make matters worse. The priority for obtaining balance is to know exactly what you want to do and be in this life. If you aren't sure, it's a wonderful exercise to engage in. It is an opportunity to let your soul soar and to set your imagination free. There are many books which can help you with this process, like The Path : Creating Your Mission Statement for Work and for Life by Laurie Beth Jones (Hyperion, 1996).
Once you know where you're going, your best chance of getting there is to "keep it in your sites". What you put your attention on, grows. It's like watering a specific plant. It grows well, and the other plants, as bad habits and things you don't want, wither away. There are some effective meditation techniques to make the practice of keeping your attention on your goals more defective and powerful. Authors like Napolean Hill, Jose Silva and Marilyn Furguson (author of Superlearning) help us to harmonize mind and emotions to manifest our goals. To aid this whole process, it helps to be able to see ourselves objectively and to know our main weaknesses that are holding us back. One method, astrology, is largely misunderstood by some and misused by others. By the gift of free will, we have been given power over our destinies as co-creators with God. One quick way to relinquish this gift is to believe in predestination, including believing in the daily astrology reports in your local newspaper or magazine. This is also a good way to shirk responsibility for your future. After all, if our destiny is already determined by our stars, then we don't have to take responsibility for our actions. Great, eh?
Astrology cannot predict the future, as mankind's frail human consciousness is unpredictable, as is his free will. The true value of spiritual astrology is mainly the interpretation of our natal chart. It can help us to objectively see our strengths and weaknesses (challenges). Our weaknesses are not set in stone. On the contrary, they are areas that we need to strengthen in this life, which can be incorporated into our goals. And our strengths are there to capitalise on as wind in our sails to facilitate the whole process. This brings great meaning to life and it is at the core of Jesus' parable about the servants and the talents. The servant who did the best was the one who used his talents to get more.
Our reason for being is to become more of our Real Self, which requires personal growth. (For more on Real Self, see Spiritual Balance page). There are other ways to assist us in personal growth, including personal psychology. There are several resources for this at the bottom of the Emotional Balance page. But the key to all self-analysis is not to go overboard with it; otherwise it's like taking apart a flower until there's nothing left. Plus, you can get overly preoccupied with your problems instead of just going out and doing it right. Most of our attention should still concentrate on our goals and the end result, which we desire. This is part of the art of "holding the immaculate concept".
The balance between intellectual knowledge and soul knowing.
There is a mode of knowing that is above intelligence. Let the intelligent soul transcend intelligence. …This, my friend, is the divine working of the soul." – Proclus, 5th century philosopher.
Soul learning is related to the balance between the left and right sides of the brain as discussed above, but goes beyond the intelligence to soul knowing and intuition. Intuition is defined as: "the direct knowing or learning of something without the conscious use of reasoning; immediate understanding." This is a source of inner guidance, often as a gut feeling or hunch. It comes from our soul when it is in harmony with our Real Self, which is one with the Christ Consciousness and knows everything. In spiritual psychology, this occurs when we act from the level of our loving inner parents and loved inner child (or children). We reinforce our bad habits when we choose to act from the level of our unloving inner family members. It is essential to develop a good balance between this soul knowing and intellectual knowledge, as not everything we learn intellectually is accurate or appropriate for us at the time. As Buddha said: "Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your common sense."
There are lots of contradictions in the religions and science books of the world, and no one who has written a book is perfect. Also, much that has been written is translated or retold from other sources, and many words in one language have no direct or single equivalent in another. Take the Bible for instance. There are four gospels written by four different authors, all telling the same story, but they are very different. Some Bible scholars have pointed out contradictions between them that are irreconcilable. And that is using only one of the many different translations of the original scripts. Does that mean we reject the whole book? Not at all. We just use soul knowing to transcend the letter of the law and reached the spirit of it. Even the Bible itself says: “…for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” (II Corinthians 3:6)
Centering in our hearts.
God knew that everything would not be black and white, and he had a solution to the problem. He said he would put his laws in our inward parts, and write them in our hearts (Jer. 31:33). In order to know what is written in our hearts, we need to remain centered in our heart and tune into it. It is basically tuning into our Real Self, who knows everything and communicates to us via the Holy Spirit. Jesus described this process in John 14:26 when he said: "But the Comforter, who is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatever I have said unto you."
The Spirit of God is known by several names besides the Holy Spirit and is active within all of us in different ways. It can be increased suddenly just by a change in our attitude towards life and God. (See also the Attitude page.) Centering and tuning-in to that Spirit is a gift and an art that is usually associated with meditation and spiritual practice. But this state can be maintained throughout most of our daily activities. Many are doing it in part without being conscious of it. If you find it difficult, read up on some practical ideas in Taking Your Soul to Work by Tanis Helliwell, the Chicken Soup for the Soul series by Hansen and Canfield, and Alchemy of the Heart by E. C. Prophet and P.R. Spadaro (Summit University Press).
Learning with our souls.
Even if we have mastered tuning-in fully to our Real Self, we will still need to read intellectually. This can be aided greatly by invoking and using the Holy Spirit that we already have access to, to help us get exactly what we need out of the material at that time. You can read the same material over later and get much more out of it each time. This is particularly relevant to spiritual teachings. Reading with the aid of the Holy Spirit will open your heart and mind to the spirit of the message and help you transcend the dogma. It's the dogma that has set so many Christian factions against each other, and whole religions against each other. You'll find that people who stick dogmatically to the letter tend to be more fanatical, rigid, fear-based and insecure. This usually makes them very zealous in convincing others to join and follow them. It is easy to feel insecure when you are not tapping-in to the Spirit of your Real Self.
How do we hear the voice of our Real Self? This is different for everyone. Some people hear it as a voice, others as a thought that comes to them. To many, it is just the background knowing of our conscience. In any case, we need to experiment with it. If you're serious about knowing it, and you ask, you will receive. It is more difficult for some, like very left-brain intellectual people, and those who hear voices or get messages very easily. We need to discern that they are really of God and not some other spirit's voice. "Try the spirits whether they are of God." as the Bible advises us (1 John 4:1). This can be a difficult process, but we can start with something as simple as: "In the name of the Christ, I demand you show forth your Light!" (If it is God's voice, he will never feel insulted that you challenged it. It actually pleases him to see that we desire no substitutes.) For a much more powerful and detailed prayer on trying the spirits, see the one by the Ascended Master El Morya on page 118 of the book The Chela and the Path by Elizabeth Clare Prophet (Summit University Press).
If you don't seem to have any experience about knowing God's voice, see "The balance between growing via spiritual experiences and getting on with spiritual growth regardless" on the Spiritual Balance page.
Increasing our soul faculties
If we can educate our intellect, can we also educate our soul faculties? Sure we can! (This goes hand-in-hand with the education of the heart.) And there are some fun ways to do it. The best approach is a balance between working on it spiritually and physically. Spiritually, we can purify and strengthen our soul through various practices, like invoking the violet flame to transmute the misqualified energies of our soul. Elizabeth Clare Prophet and Patricia Spadaro link the soul to the seat-of-the-soul chakra (energy centre) in their pocket-book Your Seven Energy Centers - A Holistic Approach to Physical, Emotional and Spiritual Vitality (Summit University Press). There are many good exercises in this book for the healing and strengthening of the soul. There are also fragments of our soul that can be lost. The ritual of soul retrieval is a great blessing. Details can be found at The Summit Lighthouse. There are also many other references on this site that relate to spirituality and intuition.
Too much information?
A last point on intellectual knowledge: The nice thing about balancing it with soul knowing is that we are guided as to how much information we really need. It's pretty easy in this "information age" to get information overload. Plus, with knowledge comes responsibility. By cosmic law, whatever you become aware of, that you feel is wrong or unacceptable, you have the responsibility to challenge. Silence is consent. So if you like studying and finding out about things which you don't really need to know at the moment, be prepared to get active in writing letters and challenging issues! This is a great way to balance karma, but it can be very stressful and draining. On a personal relationship level, you can find more on this subject at "The balance between correcting others and not trying to change them" on the General Balance page.
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