We've all heard of Einstein's formula, E=MCᒾ. Even without knowing exactly what it means, we still understand it's importance. If you've taken any algebra, you know that to multiply M times Cᒾ, you first have to change M into something based on C. Turns out, when you do that, the formula becomes E=(c+√1/c)cᒾ. C is like a speedometer reading, a given amount of space, covered in so much time. The E is pure, formless energy, whereas the C is that same energy, taking a precisely laid out "road trip" in the realm of form, governed by time and space. If we could make a 3D map of this "road trip", it might look something like this;
A whole lot of nothing, spiralling around in a toroidal path. If we zoom in on the spiral bands, we find this to be a fractal shape, because the bands are made of smaller spirals, which are made of still smaller spirals. Looking out at the stars, we see that same path is being followed by all the matter in the universe.
One day soon, when all the facts have been gathered and analyzed, scientists will tell us that the whole universe is a spiral toroid.
Like it or not, religion will have to accept the scientific fact that, if God created the universe and we want to return to him, we are going to climb a spiral stairway to heaven.
This brings up a big question. If this big doughnut, we call the universe, all started from a tiny point, called a singularity, and everything in it, the C side of the equation, is a reflection of the E side of the equation, an eternal God, how is it that some of us have climbed the stairway to eternity, achieving god-like status, while the rest of us are still banging the rocks together to get a spark going? Is it possible to change the speed of light? On the road trip from clod to god, how do we control our MPH?
It turns out, we already have a name for these controls. The gas pedal is called "virtue" and the brakes are "vice". Acquisition of virtues is the core of all the philosophical teachings, throughout history, which have been given to mankind to assist in it's advancement. One of my favorite heroes of the American Revolution, Ben Franklin, was an avid promoter of developing virtue. As a part of his own program, he practiced a different virtue each week and always carried a pencil and an ivory score card to keep track of his progress. The ivory score card could be erased and reused each week.
Naturally, much more can be said about each of the virtues, but these short sketches should help to give you an idea of what they entail for the sincere student. Like all great skills, acquiring these virtues can be a slow and sometimes difficult process. Be patient and never give up. Heaven is like Carnegie Hall. To get there you have to practice, practice, practice.
A patient person is willing to await the outworking of natural processes. He is calm and composed in times of suffering or when provoked. He maintains his cool, even when engaged in a demanding task. Impatience comes from a lack of tolerance and the addiction to having things done your way. An example of impatience is the employer who doesn't take the time to explain how he wants a job done and then gets angry when it's not done the way he wanted. Impatience causes irritability due to the inability to satisfy unrealistic desires.
A kind person would never do anything to hurt another. He is always considerate of the feelings of others. He shows gentleness, sympathy and sensitive benevolence.
An efficient person gets every job done with the least amount of energy, time and materials. He developes efficiency by always being open to new and better ways of getting things done. He pays attention to details and always plans ahead. Efficiency goes hand in hand with precision. You don't want to develop one, at the expense of the other.
A precise person is exact, accurate and definite. He does not engage himself in purposeless activity, careless work and foggy thinking. He is recognized by his forethought, dependability, punctuality and thoroughness. He knows, however, not to push precision so far that it becomes piddling fussiness or a meticulousness which is intolerant of those who not as precise as himself.
A charitable person expresses brotherly love, clemency, leniency and interest in the welfare of others. He does this by giving of himself. He feels sympathy, in his heart, toward the pains that others must endure until they begin to develop their consciousness. He is never critical of others.
A devoted person is dedicated to an ideal or a cause such as to the sevice of God. His interest, in the object of his devotion, is so great that, serving it is a joyful, untiring experience. Alegience, faithfulness, loyalty, steadfastness and reverence are all part of devotion. The devotee is marked by his enthusiasm in service because he loves and feels a personal bond with the object of his devotion.
A sincere person does not engage in hypocrisy, affectatiousness, sham or deceit. He is genuine and straightforward in his desire to learn and do what is right. He is consciientious and honorable in his conduct. Sincerity must be practiced with an advanced knowledge of what truly are right thoughts and actions, because much of the evil and wrongs, brought upon the earth, have been the result of sincere though misinformed persons. One cannot hope to acquire any of the other virtues without the depths of application afforded by sincerity.
The words courage and bravery are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing. Bravery is usually an instinctual response to a dangerous situation and is characterized by a lack of fear and bold recklessness. Conversely, courage takes into account the dangers before taking action and is the result of reason and is supported by overcoming one's personal fears with the concentrated powers of moral determination. Resolution, tenacity and determined morals are associated with courage. A courageous person is able to stand up for his convictions in spite of persecution.
Forbearance keeps one in check with peace of mind, regardless of impending threats. It carries with it the lack of desire to get even, because to do so would only create more bitterness and psychosomatic illness. The knowledge of the universal laws of cause and effect make retaliation pointless. The offender will pay precisely and automatically for his actions, without us having to get our hands dirty. Forbearance is an exercise in humility, since personal pride and the need to maintain self-image are the usual causes of retaliatory instincts.
Tolerance is the wisdom of not making judgments on rfellow man, since we can never be sure of their true motivations, trials and personal problems. Putting down the beliefs, habbits and personalities of others is self-righteous and inexcusable. Instead of judging others by their errors, the tolerant man asks himself how he would behave if he were in the same situation. The tolerant man is slow to speak and act so as to incrtease his opportunities to spread peace and happiness in the lives of those he meets.
With discrimination, one is able to perceive the motives and character of others and to see the real truth below the surface of a situation. He can read between the lines. He can distinguish the excellent and the apropriate, judge between what is good and what is better and choose his course of action in the light of universal laws. He is able to perceive the falsehoods in teachings being spread disguised as all that is good and beautiful. Intuition is a natural outgrowth of the power of discrimination.
A humble person is free of arrogance, snobishness, selfishness, pride, boastfulness and self satisfaction. Humility is not weakness. It is the result of strength, power and true personal completeness so that one need not feel the need to compete for a place in the sun. Meekness is the absence of anger, which stems from the feelings of having complete control over one's environment. Humility is the knowledge of our own shortcomings, knowing that however great we may be, we are still a long way from being perfect.