Winner: 2013’s Blog of the Year: #3Last night I heard the replay of an interview with some scholar on Michael Enright’s program, The Sunday Edition. He claimed that the very last answer Albert Einstein gave in life was to the question: If you were to start your life over again, is there anything you would do differently? And supposedly the greatest scientist known to modern man replied, “I would study more Talmud.” There are debates about whether this actually happened, but supposing it did: what would it teach us?
For those unfamiliar with it, think of the Talmud as essentially a Jewish holy book. Interesting. A noted scientist wishing he would have read more of a religious text would have a lot of people recoiling, and yet many scientists are religious. It is true that religious belief was at the heart of many an ugly deed done by mankind. But what people believe and what was intended can easily be lost in translation.
This is why spiritual love needs to be shared directly with others and the world around us. Writing it down is helpful—as hopefully this itself is—but it cannot hope to substitute for the effects generated by people actually turning these words into verbs in the everyday world. Loving, compassionate verbs.
Every holy book and every prophet has talked about love. Love has been paramount. Yes, it is a shame that people of all walks of life can be convinced to use religion as a cudgel to strike others with, but most of us can easily see that it would be quite easy for loving people of different religions to share the Earth in peace and productive harmony.
But why would Einstein want more Talmud? The word itself basically means instruction, or learning. Rather than books about physical miracles etc, religious texts are best seen as basic lessons on the discovery of love. The Talmud or Torah, the Bible, the Koran, the Bhagavad Gita, Tao te Ching etc. etc. are not lessons on being judgmental, dismissive, disrespectful, offended, angry, or violent.
Yes, I know it’s possible to interpret them that way, but if they’re not really about love, isn’t a bit odd that 100% of these books could be interpreted that way? Read with a clear head and a happy, healthy heart, they are in fact all lessons on love, compassion and connection. And those who have seen behind the veil of existence all agree on this.
Forget that the two worlds every got separated; the prophets weren’t sharing religious information. They were telling people about how to live a rewarding life. They had come to understand enlightenment and they were trying to share the secret to living in the moment. Because that is the same moment in which it is possible to love every aspect of your existence—including the fact that you and all others are truly One.
“The highest form of wisdom is kindness.”
“Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.”
“All God’s creatures are His family; and he or she is the most beloved of God who tries to do the most good to God’s creatures.”
The Bhagavad Gita:
“Strive constantly to serve the welfare of the world; by devotion to selfless work one attains the supreme goal of life. Do your work with the welfare of others always in mind.”
The Tao te Ching:
“See others as yourself. See families as your family. See towns as your town. See countries as your country. See worlds as your world.”
The Buddha: “Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love; this is the eternal rule.”
And it goes on and on and on. Again, can people scurry around looking for/creating uglier ideas from these texts? Yes. We see them on the news every night. But we must remember the news is selling us soap. But since we wouldn’t stay sitting there for soap ads, they have to scare us into not leaving our seats.
They do that by using the few people who take ugly interpretations of those texts and then they magnify their actions. But there really aren’t many of those sorts of people. The vast majority of people are readily able to access their fundamentally loving nature. They are fundamentally kind. And most people who enter into religious practice sincerely do so as a way of increasing their sense of belonging and love for both themselves and others.
It is easy to present differences as obstacles, but I would urge you to see the different religions as different routes up one mountain. And regardless of which road-map you use, so long as your basic direction is loving, then you are surely ascending, and you are sure to attain the beautiful perspective that goes along with your rise in wisdom.
Keep love in your heart. Yes it’s good for others. But you are us and we are you, so it is good for you as well. And so it is with love. All who engage with it are victorious. This is why I love you.
peace and a loving embrace. s
PS Attached is a follow up article that stemmed from the controversy this one generated:
Science and Spirituality
Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organizations locally and around the world.
Following a serious childhood brain injury Scott McPherson unwittingly spent his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and the self. This made him as strange to others as they were to him. Seeing the self-harm people created with their own overthinking, Scott dedicated part of his life to helping others live with greater awareness. He is currently a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB, where he finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.