Bumble Bees Can Fly
The quest for the knowledge of who we are and where we come from is age-old. Mystics throughout the centuries have told us that, in this human life, we are given a unique opportunity to raise our consciousness and actually realize our spiritual heritage for ourselves. Nevertheless, a man of the world might reasonably ask why anyone should want to prove these spiritual truths. After all, they are beyond the daily experience of most of us and beyond the reach of the intellect. Is not life difficult and complicated enough without adding unfamiliar concepts to our burden?
For many people, only the perceptible facets of human life are accepted as the reality. For example, when they come across phenomena such as extra-sensory perception or hear of someone’s near-death experience – things which find no ready explanation in physical science – it is easier and more comfortable to discredit these as delusion or trickery. Because what we see and scientifically understand is only a small part of the reality; the spiritual dimensions and capabilities of man are largely ignored.
History warns us, however, that when we assert complete knowledge of something and close our minds to other ideas and concepts, time may reveal the error of our thinking. Take the ideas prevalent in western Europe in the Middle Ages. To most people, including the religious clergy, it was clear that the earth must be flat. It felt flat and looked flat. It was clear to everyone that an observer standing still on the earth could see the stars and planets moving across the sky. One must surely be stupid not to deduce that the earth was stationary and the heavens moved around the earth – and surely a heretic, not to believe that the earth was the centre of the universe; scientists who stated that the earth orbited around the sun put their very lives at risk. Merely a few hundred years later we see the ignorance of such positions.
And it goes on. One hundred years ago, a UK national newspaper reported that “All attempts at artificial aviation are not only dangerous but doomed to failure from an engineering standpoint.” In 1943 the chairman of IBM, then the world’s largest computer company, reportedly said, “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” So-called experts are not necessarily right in their judgement and are sometimes narrow in their imagination and perceptions. Perhaps the most entertaining scientific ‘no-no’ happened a few years ago when aeronautical engineers were unable to demonstrate technically that a bumble bee could fly. Body characteristics seemed to show that flight was impossible. Yet, as we know, the bumble bee, that familiar visitor to summer flowers, has always flown and continues to do so!
True mystics or masters of spirituality tell us that we humans are far more than we seem. We are far more than science can delineate. To understand the full scope of a human being, one must consider the totality of the physical, mental and spiritual, since our hidden and unrealized potential is vastly greater than our physical and mental capabilities. Just as the bumble bee can fly, the Masters tell us that we are able to fly (in a spiritual sense) and they urge us to prove it for ourselves. They say that the information to rely upon is that which one has proven to oneself through one’s own experience. They explain the method by which we may realize our full potential and they offer to guide us through the spiritual regions which can be accessed within us. Sant Mat is about proving these theories ourselves within the laboratory of our own bodies.
Anything which provides a way out of this impermanent and insecure existence in the transient world of mind and matter is worthy of our attention. A good look around at the condition of the world is reason enough for anyone to take the philosophy of the Masters seriously. And encountering a Master is an inspirational experience that informs us of the joy known to those who practise their path.
Most world religions refer to a sound current, which is given many names, for example the Word, Shabd, Nam or Logos. This spiritual vibration or sound current is the Creator working in and throughout the whole of creation. Mystics tell us that the sound current or Shabd can be heard by those who develop their inner spiritual hearing, and a true Master connects disciples to this sound current and so releases their higher capabilities. The practice of Nam, or listening to and merging into the Shabd, helps the disciple to overcome the mind’s downward tendencies and gives him or her a taste of the transcendent power that supports all existence. From being a disbeliever, he or she becomes a believer.
In the early stages of discipleship, our ‘flight pattern’ (our spiritual progress) rather resembles that of the bumble bee. The bumble bee goes round from plant to plant, responding to its senses. Like the bumble bee, we also chase after this or that and are readily distracted from our main goal. We do not make rapid progress, and this bumbling around in the world of distractions will likely cover us in more karma, like the pollen that sticks to the bee.
The Master tells us to become more focused by attending regularly to meditation and using our simran during our daily activities. In the world of flight, the peregrine falcon is the opposite of the bumble bee. Unlike the round, furry body of the bumble bee, the falcon is sleek and is one of the fastest birds in the world. It flies high, identifies a specific prey from way off, folds its wings, dives at high speed, focusing one-pointedly on the target and achieves its object in a very short time. If we emulate the peregrine falcon and look steadfastly towards our target, forgetting the world around us, then we speed to our goal.
Focus is the watchword here, and the Masters propose that we determinedly set our goal as self-realization and God-realization, and then maintain our focus towards this end throughout the remainder of our lives here. If we build our efforts around this focus, then our lives will not be wasted and we will have no regrets. After death we will take with us whatever progress we have made.
The Masters tell us that in the human form the soul reaches its zenith, and this form is the only one from which the soul can progress upwards into spiritual regions. Access to the treasure that lies within us is the exclusive heritage of human beings, but, most importantly, it is only by having the company of the mystics and practicing their teachings – listening to the Shabd – that we can take wing and find our way back to our true home.
I think the wisest person is he who realizes that he knows nothing. Christ himself said: Oh Father, You have hid these things from the prudent and from the wise, and you have revealed them to the babes. You see, this ego, this intellect, makes us think we know everything. When we eliminate that ego, we realize we know nothing…. If you’re full of ego or intellect this will keep you from the real wisdom, from the spiritual experience and spiritual truth which the Lord has put within every one of us.
Maharaj Charan Singh, Thus Saith the Master