Blog post by Lars Muhl from 15 September 2021
Most people have heard of the Butterfly Effect – an idea rooted in Taoism that claims a butterfly can cause a hurricane on the other side of the Earth by beating its wings. If only we realised the extent to which what we do, think and say (even what we fail to do) affects the world, just like the wing beat of the butterfly, we would monitor our conduct more carefully.
Unfortunately, the misunderstanding that there is no God or life after death has meant many of us think our behaviour has little effect. We think we can do whatever we want without consequences. We, and our closest family, are what are most important in life.
Other people are just passing extras in a private piece of theatre they just need to serve our interests and our comfort. The question we need to ask ourselves is whether we have become so heartless and insensitive that we are unable to see the sufferings we, consciously or unconsciously, actually inflict on others?
There are those who find it totally acceptable to use others, to steal and cheat – it does not affect them in the least. There are, unfortunately, also people who, consciously or unconsciously, take on the role of victim in order to get what they want. It has become generally acceptable for the clever to cheat those who are less clever, which usually means that those with no conscience take advantage of those who are naturally trusting, until these realise their mistake.
There are also those who do not understand that the help they want to thrust onto others (who either have not asked for or simply do not want such help), may not spring from pure motives. Just as the victim has made it a habit to go through life by appealing to the conscience and compassion of others, there are ‘servants of humanity’ who manipulate by always wanting to ‘do good’. If these mechanisms or strategies are not revealed or rejected, it often results in anger and new emotional manipulation. Both of these types of person have a secret desire to control their surroundings and that can be difficult to see through.
The times we are living in have produced a disturbing type of person with sociopathic and narcissistic tendencies. These people are to be found at all levels of society, but seem to feel most at home in higher circles where their manic charisma turns the heads of, and seduces, those who are unsuspecting and easily taken in, until it is too late. One can also find such people in religious and spiritual circles. However, wherever one meets them, they can usually be recognised by the fruits of their enterprises. Many good things have been achieved by such people, but there is always a shadow hanging over the results; a shadow that often causes ‘the good’ that has been achieved to eventually come to nothing, because of the hidden agenda behind it.
This is not a judgement of people suffering from a personality disorder, but it is a warning to all of us that we also need to look deep inside ourselves to ensure we do not have hidden agendas stemming from unacknowledged, egotistical motives. We have to ask ourselves again and again, what it is that moves us to speak and act in the way we do? What do we wish to achieve?
Carl Gustav Jung, sage and one of the fathers of psychotherapy, expressed it in this way: ‘An inflated consciousness is always egocentric and conscious of nothing but its own existence. It is incapable of learning from the past, incapable of understanding contemporary events, and incapable of drawing right conclusions about the future.’
During national or global crises, whole populations can become hypnotised by charismatic leaders who understand how to appeal to the lowest common denominator, for example fear, so they can create solutions and new norms that were seen as completely unacceptable before the crisis. First a crisis has to be created, then the moral responsibility of the population has to be appealed to and then they are ready to accept solutions that otherwise could never have been implemented. As Carl Gustav Jung says: ‘A large community that consists of absolutely outstanding people, is like a large, stupid and violent animal with regard to morals and intelligence.’
What we call normal is all too often out of step with the universal Law of Light. We take for granted that the majority is always right. But, what if a collective anaesthesia or enchantment creeps in? The world has experienced this before – both during and after the two great world wars. Such a collective anaesthesia usually leads to estrangement regarding the individual’s understanding of him/herself and the surrounding society and, therefore, breaks the connection with Divine Consciousness.
The American historian Howard Zinn once said the following in connection with the situation in the USA, but which could be said to be universally relevant: ‘Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of leaders… and millions have been killed because of this obedience. Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war, and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves… while the grand thieves are running the country. That’s our problem.’
Modern man’s great challenge is to have the courage to act according to his/her own conscience at its deepest level, regardless of whether it leads them away from the flock. All forms of reaction that are the result of fear create dissonance in relation to Divine Consciousness. The Jewish psychologist Viktor E. Frankl describes this in his deeply moving book Psychology and Existence, which is about his time as a prisoner in the Auschwitz concentration camp during the Second World War. In this book the war outside the camp is mirrored in microcosm in the struggle for survival between the prisoners.
Frankl tells how the prisoners who were able to give of the little they had to those who were closer to death than themselves, nearly all survived the terrors; while the prisoners who had lost all sense of dignity and, completely bereft of compassion, were ready to take the last scrap of dry bread out of the mouth of a dying fellow prisoner and even take their shoes before they had drawn their last breath, usually fell victim to their own heartlessness.
Someone who loses all sense of dignity and compassion cuts themself off from Divine Consciousness. Instead of resonance, dissonance is created. Dissonance weakens all stamina and vitality. On the other hand, the person who is open to Divine Consciousness resonates with the Law of Light. One can actually feel a heightened energy level from this type of person and sometimes see the ethereal radiance around them like a halo. This radiance activates hidden potential in those they meet along the way, opens hearts and dissipates imbalance. Existence itself becomes a living prayer.
Victor Frankl’s story is living proof that Divine Consciousness is real, precisely because a person, despite external circumstances, is able to open their heart and connect with Divine Consciousness through compassion for a suffering fellow human being. It is the same hermetically sealed door in modern man that must and can be opened. Humanity’s survival is dependent on the success of such a heart-opening process so that, at some point, together with Nietzsche, we can say: ‘He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.’
The question modern man has to ask himself is why is this here now? Those who have misunderstood the wisdom of the East and believe that existence is an illusion and that our presence here is more or less due to a mistake, have a big surprise awaiting them.
Yes, we have come here to learn to dance, create, heal, love, cry and laugh, but it must never happen at the expense of other people or of other living creatures. True unselfishness is a state in which everything and everyone is valued without any reference to profit or loss. Philosopher and historian Thomas Carlyle expresses this attitude of not expecting anything of anyone else or of life or nature, in his own uncompromising way:
‘My brother, the brave man has to give his Life away. Give it, I advise thee; – thou dost not expect to sell thy Life in an adequate manner? What price, for example, would content thee? The just price of thy LIFE to thee, – why, God’s entire Creation to thyself, the whole Universe of Space, the whole Eternity of Time, and what they hold: that is the price which would content thee; that, and if thou wilt be candid, nothing short of that! It is thy all; and for it thou wouldst have all. Thou art an unreasonable mortal; – or rather thou art a poor infinite mortal, who, in thy narrow clay-prison here, seemest so unreasonable! Thou wilt never sell thy Life, or any part of thy Life, in a satisfactory manner. Give it, like a royal heart; let the price be Nothing: thou hast then, in a certain sense, got All for it! The heroic man, – and is not every man, God be thanked, a potential hero? – has to do so, in all times and circumstances.’
Every form of life that appears in the universe is divine. A wise person destroys nothing, hurts no one and protects every living creature’s inalienable right to fulfil its destiny. We kill microscopic life with every thoughtless step and larger life with every thoughtless word. There is no kind of thoughtlessness that does not cause someone or something pain. When we love life, it is easy to be thoughtful: But when we are indifferent or consider ourselves to be unjustly treated, we are less thoughtful. The pain we cause returns to us and we must always be prepared to be held to account for our reckless thoughtlessness.
I will let the Taoist master Chuang Tzu close this letter. In connection with this it is worth mentioning that the first Christians called themselves ‘Those of The Way’ and that the Chinese concept Tao means The Way. As Yeshua said in the Gospel of John, ‘I AM is the Way, the Truth and the Life’.
‘The man in whom The Way (Tao) acts without impediment,
harms no other being by his actions
yet he does not know himself
to be ‘kind’, to be ‘gentle’.
He does not bother with his own interests
and does not despise others who do.
He does not struggle to make money
and does not make a virtue of poverty.
He walks The Way without relying on others
and does not pride himself on walking alone.
While he does not follow the crowd
he won’t complain of those who do.
Rank and reward make no appeal to him;
disgrace and shame do not deter him.
He is not always looking for right and wrong,
always deciding ‘Yes’ or ‘No.’
The ancients said, therefore:
The man of The Way (Tao) remains unknown.
Perfect virtue produces nothing.
‘No-Self’ is ‘True-Self’.
And the greatest man is Nobody.’
Excerpt from Lars Muhl’s latest Danish book ‘Frihedens Øjeblik’ (The Moment of Freedom).