Some Glimpses on Evolution
Ascona, March 2013
We all are here to share some time and thoughts together, yet we all have different reasons for being here – we can say that we wish to learn something about evolution, to know really something about it, to gain some peace of mind by learning something about the world, to spend some nice time with friends, to find means to really change oneself or to have some change in the routine of our daily life etc. So there are diverse reasons and likely we could say that there are as many different complex and joint reasons as there are attendees present.
And yet behind each and every such reason there is an inherent wish to find some contentment or happiness. Nobody comes here to feel bad, discontent or to suffer. So after all it is the same wish which has brought us here, but it has taken different forms in which it manifests, and this due to our past. So principally the wish is same, but it manifests in different ways. One person becomes content and happy when he or she achieves something for oneself, another finds contentment in sharing and in others being happy and content.
It is not possible to find a human being, who does not have this inherent wish to find happiness and contentment. Pursuing it or not pursuing it does not depend upon age, culture, gender, education or any other characteristic. It is something which accompanies us from birth to death. We could say that it drives us towards the fulfilment of our inner nature, the main aspect of it is happiness. Maybe we could also say that this inherent longing and pursuit is an expression of our inner nature, which manifests in us in a veiled way on the plane of evolution where we are at the moment.
So based on this it could be generalized and said that in us there is a common aspect of some same source and due to evolution there is a manifestation in different forms – that there exists unity and also diversity or multiplicity. It begins from one and it becomes many. As we are this multitude and evolutionary process is slow it is not easy to comprehend it. But nature plays and expresses this same process in many ways, within very short and also immensely long periods, different processes overlapping each another.
Let us take some examples. Every year snow falls in many places and yet scientists have found that statistically it is almost impossible that there have existed any two identical snowflakes (though every year a number with 24 zeros of snowflakes falls). If you have seen images of snow-crystals, then you know that they take absolutely amazing and beautiful forms. Various outer conditions like temperature, humidity etc have moulded them to be such as they are. And yet in the core of every snowflake there is a same source which is a small peck of dust. Many water-crystals gather around a small peck of dust to create a unique snowflake. And what happens to these billions and billions of snowflakes when their existence is to end? They all melt and become water and pecks of dust again, which one day might become snowflakes again.
It is the same with physical body of human beings. It all begins from two cells merging after which a remarkable process takes place and the result of it is a very big number of cells. It is not just a pile of cells, but highly organized and complex system. When body’s existence is about end, all cells will die, though the process of cells coming into life and dying takes place inside the body since its birth.
In Theosophy we talk very much about evolution and we do it in great detail. We have H.P.B.’s Secret Doctrine which could be called an exposition of the scheme of evolution. We talk about different chains, globes, races, subraces etc. We can find various ways to say something about evolution, bring many examples, learn definitions and so on, and yet there is a question without which all this would be more or less in vain. This question concerns its relevance in our own lives – whether we see evolution working in our daily life or not.
I am sure that all of us have observed our life in a way or another – otherwise we would not be here. And I guess that most of us have arrived to a conclusion, that on a very practical level the cause why we become mentally-emotionally disturbed comes from some relationship of oneself to another. Of course principally it all goes back to our mind, the main trouble is there, but it is not so easy to see it in some real life situations. In daily life our discontent, frustration, fear, anxiety, irritation, etc come from situation where there are differences in characters, views and approaches to life. This can be observed in the fact that we don’t agree with somebody, we don’t understand why another person does a thing in a certain way and so on. Many examples could be listed here.
Yet all this is an expression of the diversity mentioned before, as each one of us is an expression of evolution, driven either by outer conditions or inner choices. To reformulate this point: in a way there is no acceptance of the result of this evolutionary process. We all are in a way a result of different experiences gathered over a long course of time. And these experiences, thoughts, feelings etc have constituted our aggregates which, in Buddhist and Theosophical literature, are called skandha‘s.
But coming back to the idea of accepting others, then often it is not only the question of accepting, but even more serious – we wish others to change, to become like us, that they would do things as we do them, we wish to change people so that they would please us. And if they don’t change or comply with what we think then we are discontent. Of course this point of accepting does not mean that we have to approve and support everything we see around us, but accepting a situation and another person is an entirelly different thing.
So we can see all this diversity around us and we likely concentrate on this side of the unity-diversity arc and this is presumably also one of the main reasons if not most important one, why it is so difficult for us to really realize brotherhood in our lives. We might try to practice it, but whenever we meet this diversity in extreme form for us, it makes us forget brotherhood.
When our attention is only on the side of diversity, then we can’t see the other side. There is no easy or fast way to learn to recognize the other side in our daily life, because if it were, we would have already done it – we might occasionally recognize it to a certain extent in the silence of our meditation or something similar, but it is quite different from seeing it, for instance, during an argument with somebody. Likely it is also not wrong to say that in certain situations in our lives it has been or is almost impossible for us to recognize as even an idea that there exists something divine or some source of oneness in another person, we only see the difference and separateness – which does not please us.
As it is not easy for us to see this oneness directly and as the attempt to do it in daily life is likely to end in vain, we could maybe try to bring it on a more practical plane and try to see the ways it manifests. Likely one of the best ways to do it is to learn to recognize this common and inherent wish in everybody to be content and happy. It is not something that is difficult to be realized, but the point is whether one is willing to do it.
Whenever somebody makes a mistake according to our judgement, even hurts us, we can observe in the other person this pursuit to gain some happiness. To us it might seem as reverse to happiness, but when we really observe it, we can see this motivation being there in the background. As one Indian sage has said: “Although living beings wish to be free from suffering, they run straight toward the causes of suffering; and although they wish for happiness, out of ignorance they destroy it like a foe.”
This point is something with which every person can identify with, since everybody experience the same process though in each individual it manifests differently. If we could learn to see evolution from this standpoint in our daily actions, it could start to arose in us some genuine compassion and love, which is not a result of some artificial or technical reasoning, but as a natural outcome to what we observe in life as life itself.