Friday, 17 April 2009

Humanity’s Conceit

“And hark! The nightingale begins its song,
‘Most musical, most melancholy’ bird!
A melancholy bird? Oh! Idle thought!
In nature there is nothing melancholy.
But some night-wandering man whose heart was pierced
With the remembrance of a grievous wrong,
Or slow distemper, or neglected love,
(And so, poor wretch! filled all things with himself,
And made all gentle souls tell back the tale
Of his own sorrow) he, and such as he,
First named these notes a melancholy strain.
And many a poet echoes the conceit;

From “The Nightingale” by William Wordsworth.

It seems that not just ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’. As Wordsworth so tellingly points out above, human beings are so conceited as to suppose their individual woes are of such importance as to be mirrored by nature herself.

Of course the nightingale’s song is not melancholy; if it sounds so to us, then it is because we ourselves feel so. There is nothing sweeter than the beautiful song of the nightingale on a clear summer’s evening, especially in the hills and valleys of the English Lake District, where Wordsworth penned his lines. If only we could truly forget ‘self’ at such times, then instead of reflecting our own melancholy, the notes of the nightingale would bring us solace; would uplift our hearts in the knowledge of God’s love and the beauty of the earth which He has lent to us for the brief span of our physical life.

The natural world is ‘God’s vestibule’ and in her arms we can reconnect to the beauty at the heart of all things. Were you but permitted to see, even momentarily, the reality of a few grains of sand, you would be astounded at the light and colour surrounding each speck and would KNOW that the sand and you are one. “All are but parts of one stupendous whole; whose body nature is and God the soul.” The light energising the grains is the same light that vitalises you – oh for eyes that could see and ears that could hear - could hear the reality of the natural world!

You have those eyes and ears! They are part of the light within your heart and soul. Take time; be still; contemplate; let go; be humble! - Remember the Sermon on the Mount? “The meek shall inherit the earth.” - Then shall you be made aware; aware that the earth really is part of the spiritual world. Only the conceit of our ego-driven brain blinds us to this reality. Amid the pain and confusion of our hopelessly misdirected society lies its own salvation. ‘All is not what it appears to be’ is a truism which by ignoring we obscure. Even the meanest creation is a marvel of ingenuity and beauty if only you will allow yourself to see it with the eyes of your soul. “All chance, direction which you cannot see.”* All sounds are harmonious to the ears within. “All discord, harmony not understood,”* as Alexander Pope points out. ‘Listen’ to the stillness and hear the voice of God. Or as the psalmist put it, “Be still and know that I am God.”

Many people travel to the far corners of the earth to see its wonders, without realising that the greatest of them lie all around us. Particle Physicists are discovering this in the wonder and beauty within the microcosm of the atom’s nucleus, while once it was considered to be the ultimate, nothing smaller. They certainly know that all is not what it at first appears to be, although generations of materialistic scientific training is making it difficult for them to draw the obvious conclusions from their revelations. They are discovering that the heart of matter is light! Conversely, astrophysicists and astronomers are discovering the wonders of the macrocosm of ‘space’ which is turning out not nearly as empty as they thought for so long. They are increasingly conscious of the order and logic of the universe – no longer does chaos theory reign supreme. Neither does the universe appear to be finite, for no-one has so far detected the end or the beginning.

It may seem foolish fantasy to the materialist but we may be closer to discovering the purpose of life in the song of the nightingale than in all the painstaking research of science. Listen with your heart and look with your soul is sound advice if you would gain the most from physical life. The human spirit is not intended just to dwell in the rarefied realms of the spiritual worlds; it is meant to take part fully in physical life also. Its light is not meant to be hidden away behind the façade erected by the ego. It is meant to be free, to illuminate our earthly pathway and to resonate with the inner life of all that shares this planet with us – animal, vegetable and mineral. If you would be made aware of how wonderful and uplifting such sharing is, stand beneath a tree for a while and consciously imagine sharing your energy with it. It is certain that refusal to allow your inner light its freedom is behind much of the inner conflict that has produced so many ills and illnesses in our world.

All life is spirit and all spirit is light. Therefore all life is light. Human life is consciousness, which like spirit, mind, love and joy, cannot be measured physically, although like them, its absence is easily detectable. To the great Swedish thinker Emmanuel Swedenborg life was “light under the control of mind.” It follows therefore that if we use our minds aright we can direct that inner light in wherever we wish. We can follow the biblical advice and let our light so shine before men that even the most materialistic amongst them will obtain a glimpse of the truth and demand to know more.

Oh humanity, you should cry aloud each day, “Open my eyes that I may see…” - See how everything is interconnected and interdependent – See the mirage of materialism for what it really is – See through those two impostors, fame and fortune - See the light of every soul (no exceptions.) Your inner eyes will do nothing but enhance your earthly life, whereas reliance upon your physical senses only will deny your true, inner self and condemn you to a mere pretence of living. You will be ‘going through the motions.’ Human conceit is our own worst enemy. It fills us with self-importance, makes us fail to see the needs of others, gives us the impression that everything ends when we die and fills us with fear of that very end. If you would be free of such fear then turn inwards; first reach for the light within, next use it to reach upwards to that divine light - the source of all love and truth.

© Lionel Owen 2009 *Alexander Pope –“ Essay on Man.”

This will be my last post until Monday - I am away to the mountains and won't have access to the Web.

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