At it’s best, Earth can be a rough neighborhood.

NASA photo

NASA photo “Blue Marble”

I read once that within the spiritual realm, every spirit that chooses to be born on Earth is a hero.  The author claimed that in terms of spiritual development, Earth is a dangerous frontier.  There are so many spiritual pitfalls lying in wait upon this also very beautiful and promising planet.  Is coming here a choice to participate in the attempt at civilizing a young world?

It seems to me that a lot of the biggest dangers come by way of our senses.  I also read once that “Where the senses go the mind will follow.”  Earth is nothing if not a sensory smorgasbord.  Their are enough sights, sounds, smells, flavors, feelings (both physical and emotional) to keep a person’s mind jumping around like a child’s in a candy store.  And like children loose in a candy store we can be distracted into just reaching for the sweets until we have sickened ourselves enough times that the experiential learner within us (that is us) realizes the need to take a wiser approach to this wondrous life.

Maybe the right word for where we are when we reach this realization is sobriety.  Not sobriety as in being a teetotaler.  Because if we turn totally away from the pleasurable experiences the world has to offer, consider ourselves to be just biding our time, pitting ourselves against what may well be the very motivation that brought us here in the first place…well, then we are a house divided.  But sobriety in that we achieve a discipline based in knowledge of the underlying dynamics and values which, by observing these things, we establish a viable, genuinely survival oriented mentality and lifestyle.

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