“An ancient initiate once said that the living are ruled by the dead. Only those conversant with the Eleusinian concept of life could understand that statement. It means that the majority of people are not ruled by their living spirits but by their senseless (hence dead) animal personalities.” ~Manly P. Hall
We certainly don’t think of ourselves as being ruled by the dead. We don’t pray to zombies, or even our ancestors as people do in some parts of the world. But we do it in essence by the way we do things. Despite much changes in the world in the past hundred years, many insist on doing the work their parents and great grandparents did. “If it was good enough for Grand Dad, it’s good enough for me!” They say, or something very similar. It is good for us to learn from the past, but we also have to live in the present and prepare for the future at the same time.
Decades ago, when I had only been in the computer software business for a few years, I worked with a guy who was good at his job, if somewhat unwilling to be creative or innovative. As might be expected, when the big change came from working almost exclusively on big main-frame computers to mini and micro computers in the mid 80’s, That guy didn’t want to change. He didn’t want to learn new computer languages, new operating systems, new ways of programming. He wanted to stick with what he knew and did well. But the need for such people shrank rapidly and he soon found himself getting laid off during a cutback. After he got laid off, he couldn’t find a new job in the software business because of his lack of training and experience with the new hardware. He ended up working for Walmart.
But it isn’t just that people resist change and want to stick with what they know in the material world, few want to go beyond that, either because their parents didn’t go beyond the physical or because they are simply afraid to explore new territory. But if you always cling to the past and do things as your ancestors did, no progress is made. I don’t think anyone really wants to go back to living in caves, hunting with clubs and spears, and dying at age 21 or 22 (except, of course, for those falling for this years diet fad: Paleo), yet that is what you say when you refuse to change, refuse to grow. That grandfather you think you are copying probably did things his grandfather would never have done, so when you refuse to change, you are not really following in his footsteps. And if you let the fear of change—or any other fear for that matter—control your life, you miss out on opportunities to grow and to have greater success.
Since the primary subject of this blog is spiritual awakening, growth and enlightenment, that is the area where this becomes most significant. Quite a few people are finally recognizing that the traditional churches that have lost their way over the centuries are not providing any real enlightenment, or any real spiritual growth at all. As a result, many of them seldom bother to attend services. Yet most of those people think they have to stick with that church because its the one their parents and grandparents went to, or the one most everyone in their community goes to. In short, they are comfortable with it because it is what they know. Such people are not likely to join a spiritual community or school even though they may recognize the need for it. But here is something you may not realize: in almost any real spiritual school or community, it is perfectly acceptable for you to continue to go to that regular church you have become comfortable with at the same time that you are studying spiritual growth techniques. So unless that church is anti-spirit, anti-growth or preaching bigotry and hatred, you can join a spiritual school without leaving your church. And remember how this post started: those who refuse to change are letting themselves be controlled by the dead.