Essay for Spirit Quest, By Stuart J, Malkin, D.D., Ph.D.
'Spirit Quest' is an excellent distance learning course, rooted in the fundamentals of Right Action. Here are my thoughts on the subject, as seen in the light of Spiritual Alchemy.
The Alchemists of old worked over many years ... centuries ... in their quest to turn base metals into gold. At least that is the popular notion. In fact, alchemy is a blend of science and philosophy. It has been so since before the Common Era, when the ancient chemists did attempt to turn inexpensive metals into expensive ones ... but always with the underlying thoughts that their work was also symbolically related to the perfection of life.
Alchemy started in China and India, then the Egyptians developed it to a high state. They postulated that earth, air, fire and water could be combined into anything ... anything at all! That concept is translated into the notion of Spiritual Alchemy, which is that we can transform any part of our negative thinking or our unworthy deeds into something more valuable. It is a way of looking at Good, Right Action and Positive Thinking.
So, each day, each moment, reflect on how you can change the world by changing your reaction to the everyday things that confront you. Use Spiritual Alchemy! Turn any little unhappiness into happiness ... by seeing the good in everything that you possibly can!
Turn greed into charity ... instead of viewing the benefit of something to you, consider the benefit to others. Want for others ... especially those in greater need ... rather than wanting for yourself. Turn ego into admiration for others, rather than for yourself. Turn anger into contentment, by realizing that the poison of the mean spirit will do more harm than good, and that by recognizing the good in another, you are making the world a better place.
Chaos can become order, through alchemy. Using organization and doing what is right can bring sense and dignity to almost anything! It is easy to write these words but not so easy to accomplish. But, if you have the desire to bring order and beauty into your life, it can be done. And even if you do not succeed at first, you will have enriched your self-esteem and, even in some small way, energized the condition in a positive way.
Turn brutality into kindness. There is no small deed and no kindness that is insignificant. A kind word, holding the door open for someone, complementing another, thanking another or easing the pain or the effort of one who may be infirm ... all of these, no matter how small or no matter how little effort is used, are a gift to the Spirit and all make for a little more peace on the planet.
Through the power of the Spirit and Positive Thinking, do your best to disallow depression ... turn, instead, to happy thoughts. Look for the Light, the 'good side' of an issue. Visualize a happy and positive outcome of whatever it is that is causing you some mental grief. I promise you that if you think positive thoughts, they will manifest into the reality, in ways that will surprise you.
Be considerate of others rather than inconsiderate. 'Road rage' is a product of our fast paced existence and it is a dangerous phenomenon. Be considerate of other drivers ... give in to the impulse for aggression ... relax and let the other car go first, even if that driver is in the wrong!
In our lives we see many opportunities to curb aggression, to be gentle and caring. Many times we see someone 'crashing' a line of people waiting for one thing or another. They do not wait their turn because they are rude, inconsiderate, self-serving ... in other words, of mean spirit. Don?t be one of them! You be the one to stand aside and let them push and shove ... you be the one of good Spirit who is turning lead into gold.
Jealousy can become admiration. Admire the accomplishments of others ... learn from them. Don't envy them, emulate them. Be happy for the achievements of others. Be happy that those you know are contributing to the good of the planet. Love the idea that others are successful.
The 'Seven Deadly Sins', anger, envy, gluttony, greed, lust, pride and sloth can all be turned in a good thing, as we have discussed above for some of them. But whatever the negative or mean-spirited event is that you might encounter in daily life, work the wonder of Spiritual Alchemy and bathe in the positivity that you will produce!
Everyone wants to do the right thing ... it is born in us. It is a basic element of the human condition. It is only through the learned dogmas and extremist distortions of 'what is right' that we have come to this dangerous world of ours. Even the Islam murderers believe that they are doing the right thing! The problem is that the right thing is not always defined as it should be. Let's explore that.
The early Avitars had it right. If you compare the Ten Commandments with the Eightfold Path of Buddha, for instance, you will see the amazing similarities. And so it is with most of the early religious and mystical thinking. Actually, the precepts of Right Action are contained in all of the early religious and mystical writings. There are many more similarities than there are differences.
Even the Koran speaks to the similarities. Again, it is the contemporary disciples and the learned hatreds that create the dissension and violence. If Mohammed were alive, he would rebel against the extremists who rape and murder under his flag. And so would Jesus.
So, if we understand what is really right ... and if we breathe it and live it and teach it to our children, then we have a real chance to change things. And what is really right is actually easy to understand:
* Do nothing that will harm another.
* Try to be as helpful as you can to others. (This makes you a ?nice guy?... or girl ... and it is one of the best contributions towards making this a better world!)
* Work well at what you do ... be the best you can be.
* See only good in all things and all people. (Some days that can be a contest! But do your best to try to see only good. In trying, you will be a better person.)
You may recognize that these ideas are similar to parts of the Ten Commandments. Don?t be surprised. All of the early Avatars had good things to say!
It does not take a genius to see that what is really right is easy to define. And it is easy to see that what the extremists today are doing in the name of their God is not right. Right is right; it is not subject to interpretation.
The modern alchemist needs to transform behavior that is not right into behavior that is right. A daunting task for today's world, I admit. And a Utopia worth pursuing.
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