by Dr. Laurel Clark, President of the SOM Board of Directors
I believe that this education is especially important in today’s world. Our society seems to be increasingly focused on material gratification. Even when metaphysical ideas are promoted, they are often presented with the perspective that you can “get what you want” or “manifest your desires.” with visualization. This is true; however, there is a deeper truth that is often missing. The deeper truth is knowing that there is a purpose for physical existence. The purpose for creating anything in this physical world is so that we can become more like our Creator. This means that we need to have ideals. We need to be purposeful in choosing what to create, and why. We need to create with the good of the whole in mind.
When people live with ideals they can make wiser choices about how to spend their time and where to invest their attention. Every day we are bombarded with stimuli. In a city, people live with constant noise, with shopping malls, commercials, busy traffic. How does one decide where to give his attention? How does one choose, with so many stimuli, what to eat, what to buy, where to go? The best way to make such choices is to know what one’s values are, to be clear about one’s ideals. Then one can choose to move in the direction of those ideals. When we create for more than physical gain, when we create for the purpose of building spiritual awareness or soul understanding, we live a more fulfilling existence.
This is an unusual idea. Even people who discuss popular metaphysics often do not consider who they are or what gives meaning to their lives. Many people think of themselves as physical beings. They plan their lives to have a good occupation, a stable family, a comfortable income, and satisfying recreation. They live good lives. But sometimes after the basic physical desires are fulfilled, there is something that seems to be missing. That something may be elusive. It manifests as a kind of restlessness, vague dissatisfaction, feeling of being incomplete.
This is a challenge in today’s world.
Everywhere we look, there are more physical devices and gadgets that can distract us if we allow it. When I drive down the road, I see about 80% of the drivers talking on cell phones. I have even seen drivers reading a newspaper while going down the highway! Is it any wonder that traffic “accidents” are on the rise? A driver whose attention is split between driving and talking on the phone does not have the ability to respond as well as one who gives his undivided attention to the road and the other drivers.
I’ve heard many people who work in offices complain because they are inundated by e-mails and spend their time trying to “multi-task”; i.e., they try to talk on the phone while answering e-mails. They hold the phone with their neck against their shoulder while making coffee or typing on the computer, and then wonder why at the end of the day they have neck pain. They can’t find the files they put somewhere while they were eating lunch and reading at the same time.
These people think they will save time by doing several things at once. Scattering attention in these ways does not save time. In the end, it wastes time because people are ineffective. Either they don’t remember part of the phone conversation because their attention was somewhere else or they becomes frazzled or anxious. Then they don’t understand why their relationships turn sour. An alarming number of children are being labeled these days as ADD or ADHD, meaning Attention Deficit Disorder of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. I don’t think that there is some infection or contagion that is mutating the brains of our children! It is a disease of our society. As a society we have become attached to the idea that being busy means being important, that scattering attention makes one more productive. The adults who are increasingly scattered and hurried teach this to their children.
There are alternatives. Adults who learn to give their undivided attention, who learn to concentrate, to develop memory and listening skills, who learn to use imagination and reasoning and intuition, become calm, efficient, effective, and fulfilled. They can give themselves completely and therefore they receive completely. Their influence then becomes calming and centering. These skills are taught in the School of Metaphysics course of study.
Humanity needs this kind of education.
The world seems to be moving fast. Scientists are always developing new technology and new medical advances. This increases our physical power. We have the ability to destroy the world with the atom bomb. We can transplant organs and destroy cells with radiation. We therefore need to think about how to use this power responsibly. We need to be purposeful with the choices we make. It is imperative that we think about the effects of what we cause, not just immediately but long term. This requires imagination.
What are some of the ways that developing the self can aid us to be more aware of our influence? First, when we recognize that each individual is part of a greater whole, we can begin to look beyond our own interests to consider those of others. With concentration we can listen to our neighbors to understand their needs. We can develop communication skills to resolve conflict within ourselves and with one another. Learning self control enables us to bring peace rather than using technology to fight.
Second, when we have some experience of knowing that we exist beyond the physical body, we can begin to think of solutions that are permanent rather than temporary. For example, if someone has a headache, he can take a drug to kill the pain providing temporary relief. The short-term benefit takes its toll in imbalances the drug produces elsewhere in the body, such as liver damage. By discovering the mental attitude that is causing the headache and learning how to change to a wholistic way of thinking, he can cause permanent healing. Do we have to use medications and surgeries just because they are available? It requires effort to make responsible choices about what we think, what we eat, what we drink, and how we breathe. These choices bring us health. As we develop greater understanding of the power of the mind, we can live in a more wholesome manner.
Will it change the world when individuals develop themselves? Absolutely. One person with a calm mind can make a huge difference in a group of people. His or her ability to be centered and focused can influence other people to become more directed. One person with a positive attitude can stimulate others to expect the best. One generous person can inspire others to give more of themselves.
When I became a student at the School of Metaphysics in 1979, “metaphysics” was not a common topic of conversation. People didn’t talk much about past lives, the Law of Attraction, or medical intuition. Today, people discuss these topics on television talk shows and there are many popular books on subjects like dreams, meditation, and the mind-body connection. It seems that metaphysical ideas are more prevalent in society, even in television commercials and Hollywood movies. Although the ideas are more well-known, the knowledge of how to put those ideas into practice is still uncommon. Nearly every day I meet people who say, “This stuff makes so much sense, but how do I do it?”
This is the realm of the School of Metaphysics.
For 35 years, the School of Metaphysics has been teaching a step-by-step method that works to teach any individual how to become a Whole, Functioning Self. A Whole, Functioning Self is one who is aware of his or her existence in every level of consciousness. A Whole, Functioning Self knows what the Universal Laws are, how to live in alignment with those laws, and how to reason to produce understanding of universal truth.
This stimulates a desire to understand the self as something “more.” This is what people are seeking when they explore the idea that man exists beyond the physical body. The thirst for out-of-body experiences, for communicating with those who have died, for knowing how thoughts create reality, is the desire to know the self as soul or spirit. The School of Metaphysics teaches individuals how to know the self.
The core of this education is a system of mental and spiritual discipline that produces a state of consciousness that is still, focused, receptive, and attentive. Students practice mental exercises every day. These exercises enable them to still the chatter in the conscious mind so that they can receive guidance and truth from the subconscious mind. It allows the inner nature, the Real Self or dharma, to come forth and shine. The exercises produce an opening in the consciousness to receive truth that is universal. When the individual knows how to discern universal truth in everyday life experiences, he or she discovers how to live a purposeful existence. Such people appreciate the joy of causing change in themselves. They are inspired to be a force for good to aid others.
In every area of life we can see ways that developing an expansive and inclusive consciousness aids us to be more fulfilled as we aid others. The ability to broadcast images that go around the planet or to instantly communicate across the globe through electronic devices stimulates the need for us to be thoughtful about what we communicate. Do we think, speak, and create positive thoughts and images? Do we broadcast images of death and destruction and gloom? We can choose what to fill our minds with and what to share with others.
Humanity needs people who are reasoners.
Such people think before they act. They consider how the choices they make in the present will affect other people, not only in the present moment, but for future generations. When people learn to develop the skills of their mind, they reason. They can exercise imagination and will. These are the basics of visualization and foreseeing future probabilities. We can each live this way. We can each determine what we value and fashion ourselves according to our ideals. We can become leaders in our circle of friends, our place of work, our family, our community, our nation, and our world. How? The education at the School of Metaphysics can teach this, through the practice of mental discipline, the understanding of Universal Law, and the development of the Whole Self.
I have an ideal of the kind of world in which I want to live. This is a world in which people draw upon an inner calling, are guided by a compass that Mahatma Gandhi called soul force. In this world, people give to the whole, they recognize their importance to their fellow human beings, and make choices to live in light. The School of Metaphysics exists to accelerate the evolution of humanity by ushering in Spiritual, Intuitive Man. This is the world such education creates.•