On the surface it seems logical that the best place to learn about God is ‘holy books’ and ‘sacred scriptures,’ but when we know that everything in existence is the Divine, we realize truth can whisper to us from any source. To hear it, we can follow Rumi’s advice “Make everything in you an ear, each atom of your being, and you will hear at every moment what the Source is whispering to you, just to you and for you, without any need for my words or anyone else’s.”
Rumi’s observation has to be true, or awakening would be dependent on our ability to procure specific ‘sacred texts’ or come into contact with ‘special’ teachers, mediators or saviors. But when we make everything an ear, the entire universe becomes our instructor. And often we’ll find that the voice of the Divine comes in the most unexpected ways. When we were in the library recently, we picked up a business book with a premise that sounded quite intriguing, but in the end it ignited quite a few spiritual thoughts.
The book’s first chapter told readers to “ignore the real world” and reject what society had accepted as the logical way of doing things. The authors felt strongly that the ‘tried and true’ business models that are regularly taught and used hadn’t been working for a long time and will only deteriorate more as time goes on. The authors defied conventional wisdom very successfully in their own business, and were certainly in a position to make their point. From a spiritual standpoint, it’s imperative that we hear the same message. The world we think of as real is not working. Although most of the world refuses to admit this and keeps trying to improve the innately flawed model of dualism our world is built on, spiritual masters like the Buddha have long recognized we must “renounce the world of appearance to find reality” and be “freed from illusion.” Of course it takes courage to go against the grain, but spiritual masters have always rebelled against the status quo.
The authors also pointed out that, “failure is not a rite of passage,” and “learning from mistakes is overrated.” It’s expected that the majority of small businesses will fail, and when they do, the owners are told to learn from their mistakes. But usually this means only learning what doesn’t work instead of figuring out what does. How often do people feel like religion has failed them and end up rejecting a personal relationship with the Divine along with organized religion? Or perhaps yoga or meditation doesn’t work for them and they drop the entire idea of the Divine. When we learn from our successes, no matter how small, and build on them instead focusing on our so-called failures, we have a far greater chance of growing. But that means we must be looking for them. The Divine can be known and wants to be known; we’re the ones that need to remove the barriers we’ve erected. Removing these barriers is an interactive process that may come about quickly or very slowly depending on how attached we are to those barriers. Understanding the process can assist us in recognizing our successes as each barrier is released.
Here are a few more gems:
Planning is guessing; even an educated guess is still a guess. Planning creates another attachment that can keep us from being adaptable, fluid and open to embracing a new truth. It’s silly when we think about it; how can we plan something we’ve never done before? And yet, the little self likes to take charge by giving us the false confidence of plans. Since each of us returns to Oneness on our own path, it’s uncharted territory; we can’t use anyone else’s path, so there’s no point in looking for a map. Planning stands in the way of unfolding and keeps us from trusting the Self to give us the information we need at the right time.
Workaholism: Our culture holds workaholics in high regard, and that mindset can spill over into spirituality as well. Again, this is an opportunity for the little self to get in control. It makes us feel that if we just practice a little harder, meditate a little more or read all the latest spiritual books, we can force the desired outcome. It also helps the little self feel superior since it’s outworking all those other spiritual slackers. But Spiritual growth happens of its own based on what is in our heart, not the physical work we put in. When all is said and done masters look back and laugh, realizing mastery could have been reached through their willingness rather than their efforts.
Be a starter: The authors encouraged everyone who wanted to start a business to feel that they were adding something worthwhile to the world and then loose no time getting started. They advised that it made no sense to wait until you’re in the perfect position with the right education or the best financial backing, but instead start where you are with what you have. Nothing could be truer on a spiritual basis. Too often we think we have to purify ourselves or get to some particular point in our lives before we reach out to the Divine. It’s far better to adapt the attitude of Jesus’ prodigal son and get up out the pig sty and start walking when we feel the urge to return to oneness. If we don’t, the little self will find reason after reason to keep us exactly where we are.
It would be easy to add pages of additional information based on the business book Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. But the point is not that their book is special, but that the Divine can and will speak to us from any and every possible venue when we “make everything in us an ear.” Life-giving intelligence permeates everything in existence. This intelligence wants to be known and can be known. The truth is on the wind waiting for us to notice its gentle sigh and soft caress.