One of the tenets of New Age or “spiritual but not religious” philosophy that I found hard to swallow in the beginning was the idea of staying neutral to all things; not judging outcomes, not judging situations, and not clinging to dogmatic opinions. Opinions, so we are told, are simply inventions of our ego - and the universe cares not a whit for any of it.
My mind protested - surely truth exists! After all, even the idea that there are no absolute truths claims to be an absolute truth. Anyone who advocates this opinion really ought to be consistent and argue that there are no absolute truths besides the fact that there are no absolute truths. But then, claiming the existence of just one absolute truth tends to undermine the credibility of the entire opinion.
Indeed, there really is truth. And there really is a right way and a wrong way to live your life. Not all decisions that we make in our lives are subject to this absoluteness, but many of them are. Yes, there is an order to life - what is traditionally known as the natural order.
Diet is a great example of the distinction between the natural order and subjective opinion. Broadly summarised, the natural order of food is that we should eat enough to satiate hunger and sustain our bodily functions - and no more, and that the food we eat should be unprocessed, unadulterated by chemicals and full of nutrients. As long as the food we eat covers these basic requirements, then our diet is in tune with the natural order and will be healthy for us. Any other dietary prescriptions beyond the natural order of food are the realm of subjective opinion only. Certainly, individuals vary in their specific requirements, but any requirements outside of the natural order are ultimately traceable back to mental patterns and beliefs.
A common belief among spiritual people is that a wholly plant based diet is higher vibrational than an omnivorous diet, because meat carries the vibration of death, or something. Certainly it is true that when people switch to a vegetarian diet, they often report greater mental clarity, happiness and spiritual abilities. The trouble is, so do people on the keto diet - which consists of more meat than anything else. Provided both diets cover the requirements of the natural order, they are both capable of producing the reported results, provided people believe in them.
I’m not the first person to note this, by the way - Louse Hay observes the equal effectiveness of contradictory diet advice in You Can Hear Your Life. What do we learn from it? The natural order matters - food must be unprocessed, unadulterated and nutritious to be healthy. However, beyond the natural order, our dietary opinions do not matter at all. If we believe in it, it works. Eventually we may raise ourselves to such a level of consciousness that we transcend even the natural order - as in the well-documented stories of mystics who have completely moved beyond the need for food and drink. But most of us are bound by the rules of the natural order; because the natural order is the absolute truth that governs life on Earth - and if we live our life in opposition to it, it will crush us.
Although there is still significant debate about certain aspects of the natural order, some parts of it are accepted by virtually all. Don’t steal, as stealing leads to anxiety, remorse, escalating dishonesty, avarice, possible legal consequences and so on. Don’t lie, as it will lead to many of the same consequences and result in a tendency to be lied to. And although it is now far from universally accepted, I think most people would agree that sexual promiscuity is a violation of the natural order, which leads to guilt, loss of self-respect, addiction to gross pleasures, unwanted pregnancies, STDs, loss of spiritual aspiration, a tendency to sexualise others, escalating sexual practices and so on. Thus, the absolute truth about sexuality that proceeds from the natural order is that sexual activity must be confined within certain strict limits, or it will spill over and cause undesirable consequences for the individual and society.
However, any further inferences that we make from this absolute truth tend to be subjective opinions. For example, the idea that there should be civil laws regulating people’s sexual conduct is not an absolute truth. The reason for this is simple: while we can know the principles on which life is based, we cannot know the grand plan that governs all things.
Allow me to explain. Formerly, there were civil laws and expectations governing polite society that dictated our rules of sexual conduct. That all changed in the 20th century, especially with the spectacular explosion of sexual liberty that occurred in the 60s. Comparing western world statistics for divorce, STDs, unwanted pregnancies, pornography use, extramarital affairs and, sadly, depression and suicide between the 1950s and now, it appears that this sexual liberation was disastrous for the overall order and happiness of society. Indeed, if the ultimate purpose of life is to build an ordered, comfortable, prosperous society with a certain degree of equality and a high standard of living, then civil laws and expectations governing sexual conduct appear to be a sensible and logical measure.
But since the ultimate purpose of life is actually to evolve our souls and bring the uncreated, infinite eternal into created, finite form - perhaps this temporary setback in society actually serves a greater good. Having had the scaffolding of civil laws and expectations removed, perhaps we are now being left to fend for ourselves in order that we may stumble and fall - and ultimately rise again, rediscovering the truth of the natural order in a much deeper way than laws and expectations could ever impress upon us. Just as a child can be told not to touch a hot stove, but may only learn the lesson thoroughly after he disobeys the order and burns himself, it seems that we are learning to deeply ingrain the truths of the natural order in our souls by seeing for ourselves the nasty consequences of disobeying them. Or perhaps this is completely wrong, and there is another equally providential reason for the scaffolding of polite society having been torn down - we simply cannot know the grand plan until its unfoldment.
Whatever becomes of society, we should remember two things: the natural order on this planet is unchanging and merciless. If we live our life in opposition to it, we will create severe consequences for ourselves - and this is an inescapable fact, not an opinion. But whatever thoughts we hold on the way things should be, or the way society should be run are nothing but our own opinions. And even though the road may get a little rocky along the way, the destination is far greater than anything we can conceive of.
Whatever stage we are at in that grand plan, let’s keep our peace and remain neutral at all times to the grand design of the all-knowing one.