Three little pigs lost in the forest – a parable
Once upon a time there were three little pigs – Bob, Patrick and Arthur. They were walking through a big forest and somehow they got separated. They had never been away from the farm before, and knew nothing about what to expect.
Before long Bob met a wolf. Having never seen a wolf before, he gave no thought as to whether or not it was dangerous, and walked up to it and sniffed its nose. The wolf was furious and bit Bob’s left ear.
Bob ran away, but soon came across another wolf. What did Bob do? Exactly the same – sniffed its nose. And this wolf bit his right ear.
Once again Bob ran away, but he soon came across yet another wolf. What did he do? Exactly the same – sniffed its nose. And this wolf bit his left ear again.
Patrick also met a wolf in the forest, and he did exactly what Bob had done – he walked up to it and sniffed its nose. The wolf was furious and bit Patrick’s left ear.
Patrick ran away, but soon came across another wolf. What did he do? He ran as fast as he could in the other direction, and the wolf never caught up with him. He did this every time he ever met another wolf for the rest of his life.
Arthur also met a wolf in the forest, but he looked at it and thought to himself: “That looks like a very dangerous kind of wild dog that is sure to bite me! I’m off!” And he ran as fast as he could in the other direction, and the wolf never caught up with him. He did this every time he ever met another wolf for the rest of his life.
This little parable illustrates three approaches to how we go through life experience. Some people make the same mistake over and over and over and never seem to learn anything. Others make a mistake – but learn from it and move on. But some people can see clearly what’s right and what’s wrong – whether through observation, logic or intuition – and never make the mistake at all.
Bob is obviously a very foolish little pig, and few people would have much sympathy for such stupidity. He obviously does not learn from either his past errors or from pain. But many of us can identify with Patrick – perhaps even sympathize. We often have a tendency to believe that it is good to try something, even if it is bad, just in order to realize that it is bad. There can be truth in that – but surely Arthur’s way is best. Patrick did not enjoy being bitten; his ear was bleeding for hours. If he had adopted Arthur’s approach he would not have suffered in that way.
This is one of the differences between the spiritually advanced person and the spiritually unadvanced person. The spiritually advanced person can see what course of action to take, without needing to make a mistake first.
This principle applies to innocent mistakes, and deliberate wrongdoing in exactly the same way. Whether Bob’s motive in sniffing the wolf’s nose was naïve friendliness, or whether he sensed the danger but did it anyway just for the thrill of it – the result is the same: he got bitten.
As an aside, I must point out that Bob does not act in the way that he does through bravery – but through stupidity. It is not an act of bravery, because it serves no constructive purpose; therefore it is simply foolhardy. Conversely, Patrick and Arthur do not run away out of fear – but out of good sense; there’s nothing cowardly about self-preservation, providing it is not to the detriment of anyone else’s well-being.
Mr Ordinary goes to war – an example of wasted time
Here’s a theoretical example to highlight the difference between Bob’s approach, and Arthur’s approach – in terms of life experience. It’s a bit simplistic, but nevertheless illustrates the point:
Mr Ordinary gets conscripted into the army so that his country can invade another country. He is very excited and filled with patriotic enthusiasm. He goes off to fight and stabs a man to death. The next day he himself is stabbed, and dies.
He is then reborn into a similar country, and exactly the same thing happens again. This goes on for life after life after life, until eventually a deep, inner prompting tells him that it is wrong to kill, and he refuses to fight.
When this happens, his government executes him for so-called “cowardice”. In his next life he is then born into a country which does not conscript him and does not go to war. The cycle is finally broken. At last Mr Ordinary can begin to seriously advance along the spiritual road of evolution.
Mr Advanced, on the other hand, has studied the right spiritual teaching, and has taken notice of it; has cultivated enough intelligence and bravery to go against the tide of public opinion; and has attuned his heart sufficiently to be moved by compassion not to kill. So, when asked to fight, he immediately refuses, and, as a result, never enters the cycle of violence and involution suffered by Mr Ordinary.
Instead, Mr Advanced goes onwards in his spiritual journey – attaining, through many lives, beautiful spiritual bliss states, and acquiring tremendous healing powers, which he uses to help others. In fact, by the time Mr Ordinary has seen sense and stopped killing, Mr Advanced is already a great spiritual Master.
Taking control of your karma
When we act in a spiritual way, we create good karma for ourselves. When we act in an unspiritual way, we are unwittingly creating bad karma for ourselves. Consider these beautiful words of Jupiter Sector 92, a great Cosmic Master from another world, given through the trance mediumship of Dr. George King, in 1962:
…you came not to be a slave of the basic Karmic wheel, but to be master of its every revolution…
This explains the difference between the way karma is made to work by the advanced person, and the way karma works on the ordinary person.
Mr Advanced is in control of his karma – he is master of the basic karmic wheel. Mr Ordinary is the slave of the basic karmic wheel – until he sees sense and takes charge like Mr Advanced.
A traditional view of karma, still believed by many people around the world, is that when you have attained spiritual mastery, you no longer have any karma at all – good or bad; that you have somehow transcended karma altogether.
With all due respect to those who are of this school of thought, this doesn’t really make sense. Karma is a natural law of creation which is God. As such it is every bit as universal as God. Nothing is outside of it. Spiritual evolution is not about escaping karma, because that is impossible – it is about using the law of karma to bring about positive results; it is about becoming aligned with God’s Will rather than our own petty free will. When we act in a spiritual way – when we do the right thing – when we help others – we are not running away from karma, we are transmuting our bad karma, and creating good karma for ourselves.
The great “Avoider of Mistakes”
We all have a Higher Self – however much it may sometimes appear to the contrary. But very few of us have much, if any, contact with this higher aspect of ourselves. Flashes of intuition, conscience, compassion, and inspiration are a little flavor of what the Higher Self is all about. The more advanced you are, the greater your contact with your Higher Self, to the point where, virtually, you become your Higher Self. When this happens, the conscious mind, which we generally regard as being our “self”, becomes little more than a functionary in the service of this Higher Self.
The Higher Self is the great “Avoider of Mistakes” on the spiritual path. The Higher Self knows what is right and what is wrong. If we are in contact with our Higher Selves; if we surrender our conscious will to its guidance – then we can be more like Arthur (who runs away from the wolf first time), and less like Bob (who gets bitten over and over again). More like Mr Advanced, and less like Mr Ordinary.
This prevents a great deal of unnecessary suffering – for ourselves and others – and saves us a great deal of otherwise wasted time.
How do we do this?
Contacting the Higher Self
The first step is will. Do I really want to advance? Do I want to know my Higher Self? Am I willing to listen to my Higher Self? If we honestly decide that we do, then we can begin moving forwards.
Of course many people wouldn’t have a concept of the “Higher Self” specifically, in this terminology, but such people can of course still make this resolution, whether consciously or unconsciously. For example, simply being moved by compassion when faced with the suffering of others – could be regarded as an example of wanting, or allowing, the Higher Self to come more to the fore. And perhaps “allow” is the best word – remember, the journey from ordinary consciousness to consciousness of the Higher Self – is as natural as a child growing into adulthood.
The more we listen to the Higher Self and take notice of it, the closer our relationship with it will become – and vice versa. As contact with the Higher Self develops – it can give us more and more guidance about how to gain a closer and closer relationship with it.
The Higher Self will also guide us towards the open-minded study of correct spiritual teachings. This is not only educational, but consciousness-expanding. Great Truth can change your vibration even if it is not readily understood; it has a power in and of itself. The more we think about what we have studied; the more questioning we are of what we are told; and the more accepting we are of Truth – the more enlightened we will be.
A simple analogy might be that spiritual study is a bit like digging for treasure. The treasure we find at the end of the dig is the beauty of our own Higher Self.
The Higher Self will also guide us towards performing spiritual practices – mantra, prayer, positive visualization, affirmation etc. One of the greatest of these practices is yoga breathing.
This is what prompted Dr. George King to write the booklet entitled Contact your Higher Self through Yoga – a textbook which does, as they say, “exactly what it says on the tin.” If you regularly perform the simple yoga breathings, in the system devised and clearly explained by Dr. King, you will contact your Higher Self.
The Higher Self is selfless – paradoxical though that may sound. The Higher Self is fully aware of its interrelationship with all life – fully aware of the Oneness of all people, and indeed the Oneness of everything in creation. As such, selfless service to others is fundamental to its very nature. It desperately wants to help others. So the more we engage in selfless service, the more we are, as it were, getting in sync with its way of thinking.
The more we do this, the more, by karmic law, we will advance – action and reaction being opposite and equal. When we give, sooner or later, we will receive. If we help others through life experience, we will be helped through life experience ourselves. And what greater help through life experience could there be than a closer relationship with the Higher Self?
In other words: the more we serve, the more contact we will have with the Higher Self, and the more contact we have with the Higher Self, the more we will want to serve, and the more we will be able to serve.
Where we are, the air we breathe, the food we eat, who we mix with etc. – does affect us. It is much easier to feel a connection with the Higher Self when alone, or in holy company, fasting at a beautiful retreat up a mountain, than it is in a city like London or Los Angeles.
Nevertheless, our goal should be to rise above our environment. The truly enlightened person – someone with strong contact with their Higher Self – is perfectly capable of being spiritual in a big, noisy, materialistic polluted city. In fact such a person would probably spend a great deal of time in such a place – in order to be of service where it is most needed.
To detach from the needs of others by permanently leaving the city and moving to the mountain retreat, in order to be more spiritual – is as wrong and as foolish as trying to lose weight by eating more junk food. Such an approach is totally missing the point of what the Higher Self really is. (This doesn’t of course mean that we should never spend time in nature – time in beautiful natural surroundings can be of tremendous benefit and inspiration, and can help to recharge us for our service which may be in less pleasant surroundings.)
What is the Higher Self?
God is not an old man on a cloud getting angry and jealous. God, Brahma, Jehovah – or whatever you might like to call it – is the supreme intelligence behind all creation – and the essence of all life. Within us all, unbelievable though it may seem, however bad we are, there is Divine Spirit.
The Higher Self is the higher aspect of our own consciousness. It is not pure Divine Spirit, which is above even that, but it is much closer to pure Divine Spirit than our normal conscious minds. The purpose of life – the purpose of our many lives through reincarnation – is to know this Divine Spirit and manifest it as much as possible. The Higher Self will guide us in achieving this.
The Higher Self is, in a sense, our greatest teacher. This does not mean that we do not need to have any other teacher; we do. But the job of a good spiritual teacher is not to take the place of the Higher Self, but to help us get closer to the Higher Self – the spiritual teacher within.
The Higher Self is the captain of the ship of our own experience. In our ignorance, we have locked this captain up in his cabin, allowing the ship to be piloted instead by the rebel sailor we call the “conscious mind”. This rebel sailor has taken us into stormy waters time and time again, causing our ship to be bashed against the rocks.
When the captain is free to do his job, the ship and all its crew can finally be sailed safely to the harbor of Enlightenment.
This is something for us all to work towards. I know that I personally still often behave like Bob, and sometimes like Patrick, and all too seldom like Arthur. But, despite not following the guidance of my Higher Self anything like as much as I should – I am still fascinated by it, and the more I think about it, the more it fills me with awe and wonder. It is an amazing thought that there is a greater, more spiritual part of me, existing, as it were, within me, and yet in parallel to me, above me, veiled behind a curtain that I myself have drawn almost completely closed, and yet long to open.
What is it really? Does it think independently of me? Is it watching me, and all the stupid things I do – feeling sadness and regret at my mistakes? Or is it above such feelings? Or is it simply me – but a “me” that I am yet to become?
Such things are a mystery to unenlightened people like me – and no doubt will remain so for a long time. But it is not a mystery that the Higher Self guides us all, in eternal patience, throughout our lives – if only we make the effort to listen to it and follow its guidance. As such, it is our greatest friend, our grandest truest freedom and our most glorious future.
Whatever its exact nature, there can be no doubt that the Higher Self is our own personal superhero of karmic experience. This superhero brings peace like nothing else can. To know the Higher Self is to know peace.
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About the author
Mark Bennett is the co-author of two books, both of which he wrote with international bestselling author Richard Lawrence, namely Prayer Energy and Gods, Guides and Guardian Angels, which was voted “best book on spirituality 2007” by readers of Kindred Spirit magazine. He is the youngest International Director of The Aetherius Society, whose teachings he chose as his spiritual path at an early age.