Intellectual Balance 2

 

 

Holistic Education

 

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. 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.

 

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”. To gear it specifically for children, a great resource is the audio album called Freedom of the Child. 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 the 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. 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 Alchemy of the Heart by Prophet and Spadaro.

 

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 and feeling 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.

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. The book Your Seven Energy Centers – A Holistic Approach to Physical, Emotional and Spiritual Vitality links the soul to the seat-of-the-soul chakra (energy centre). There are many good exercises in this book for the healing and strengthening of the soul.

 

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.