People are taken in by propaganda that abets their beliefs, especially in the realm of religion and politics. They are unaware that a conditioned mind interprets everything according to its conditioning. Their native intelligence remains stunted.

The human mind functions very much like a computer in that it reacts from what is recorded in it. We can notice this conditioned response especially in the fields of politics and religion, among other issues of emotional attachment. If we have known a person for about ten years or so, we can predict with fair accuracy how that person will react to a particular situation. This confirms the computer metaphor to a good extent. Then we ask, “Are we nothing more than a computer?” Reflective people know the answer to this question. There is only one thing in which the human being is radically different from the computer: His ability to be self-aware. The computer, no matter how advanced it is, can never be self-aware. Correspondingly, the pure self-awareness of the human being is untouched by the ego and so is free from self-interest. That is why it is outside the conditioned response of the mind and so not part of the computer!

As long as a human being is functioning like a computer, he or she is a robot. The robotic behavior leads to arguments, family quarrels, quarrel between groups and war between countries. Religion is supposed to free us from those but, unfortunately, ‘Mine is the only way’ kind of jingoism permeates that field and keeps the robotic behavior intact. So we ask, “Is humanity doomed to self-destruction?” The answer can be ‘No’ if we recognize our robotic behavior and wonder about how it can undergo dissolution. That is where self-awareness and our native intelligence can come to the rescue.

Native Intelligence: Here we have to look into an industrial process known as case-hardening. This process involves hardening the surface of some components, such as machine tools, by impregnating carbon or other elements into the component’s surface. It enhances the component’s resistance to wear; that is, the surface becomes harder. An important matter to be noted here is that the whole mass of the component is not treated but only its surface. In other words, the extraneous material like carbon enters only near the surface and makes it hard; the interior of the component remains soft.
Now we notice that our minds are also case-hardened as we grow in age through contact with family, society, news media and the like. The conditioning factor impregnates our minds and hardens the outer layers. Fortunately, as is the matter with industrial case-hardening, it can influence only the surface layers. Much of our interior being remains unaffected.

One of the negative consequences of case-hardening on our minds is that we usually meet life through these hardened layers and make it unhappy for ourselves and others. Our responses bounce off from these surface layers rather than from our deeper being. This is usually referred to as the externalized state of mind. The full intelligence of our being does not get a chance to be involved in the response. That unexpressed intelligence is what may be called the native intelligence because it is uncorrupted by the case-hardening process. When we begin to sense the hardened surface layers of our mind, we go deeper and feel the native intelligence. It has been knocking on our inner doors from our young days but was rarely given a chance. Once we feel its unspoiled nature, we consult it more often and to that extent the case-hardened response diminishes. Confidence in life increases, not so much because of success but because of the inherent profundity that we sense in our native intelligence. This intelligence prevents us from leading a second hand existence as a result of falling a prey to religious or other propaganda. It alerts us to the point of avoiding endless repetition of what we are told and tutored to believe in. It is clear that group psychology differs from mob psychology only in degree, not in kind. The aloneness that is characteristic of the mind in self-awareness helps us operate from our native intelligence.

Natural Spirituality: Not functioning from the case-hardened layers helps us discover what Natural Spirituality is. This intrinsically religious state is devoid of beliefs, disbelief and theological concepts. Its purity helps one be in affectionate communion with everything in the Universe. The loving feeling frees one from all violence and makes one function in a life-supportive way. In this truly religious state there is no gap between feeling and action. It bestows sincere care over oneself and others. The compassion that results does not come from identification with a group and has no hidden motives. In that state one doesn’t even hurt an ant, let alone unleash violence on other living beings. Almost all those who have gone through a near death experience (NDE) feel this compassion and unity with life. The following episode gives an idea of the ravishing change in one’s outlook as a result of NDE.

An American soldier was hit by a bullet while he was in action in Viet Nam. During the surgical operation that followed, he died for about ten minutes as evidenced by his flat EEG and ECG signals. The change of consciousness that he felt during that ‘death’ experience made him have abundant feelings for everything in life. Some days later, the hospital pronounced him fit to join the army. He told his High Command that he could not kill anyone anymore and so he was useless to them as a fighter. After some investigation they found his statements to be plausible and so he was discharged and sent back to his country.

A person who functions in Natural Spirituality has the same outlook and aliveness as someone who has had an NDE. Most people who go through NDE report a radical change, moving them towards positive and empathic attitudes. PMH Atwater (a well-known researcher) says that the aftereffects of NDE are the yardsticks for its authenticity.

Abominable attachment to a religious system and sectarian practices can only divide people and bring about hatred, violence and war. Human dignity would be at stake. This sorry state of affairs can be changed only if each individual understands his or her negative contribution to the collective consciousness in that respect.

The unimaginable harm perpetrated by man on animals for food, sports and research indicates an extremely irreligious state of the present day human mind. Merely following a laid out system and a set of rules in order to go to heaven cannot make one a religious person. Being truly religious has to be seen in the depth of compassion one shows towards fellow beings, irrespective of whether they are animals or human beings and irrespective of which religion or nation they belong to. A compassionate Jesus said “Love thy neighbor as thyself”. Obviously, this love has to be spontaneous and unconditional – independent of whether the other one belongs to one’s own religion or not. If the neighbor is held in disdain because that person is a heathen or from a so-called third world country, then love goes out of the window – not to the neighbor anyway! Outwardly, one may be goody-goody to that person but inwardly there would be alienation, and even ill-will. This is, obviously, a clear case of hypocrisy.

In a person centered in natural spirituality, ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself’ takes place spontaneously because in that state one recognizes sacredness in all beings and manifestations. In it, man-made divisions have no meaning. It is to be noted here that nature too does not recognize man-made divisions.

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Author's Bio: 

Gopalakrishnan T. Chandrasekaran was born in Madras (now Chennai), India. He received his doctoral degree in Coastal Engineering from the North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA in 1978; served on the research and teaching faculty of the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, India, the North Carolina State University and the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, Kuwait.
Aside from his professional involvements, he was interested in the philosophic issues of life for the last forty years or so. This led him to the messages of Ramana Maharishi, Lao Tzu, J Krishnamurthy, UG Krishnamurthy, Nisargadatta Maharaj, Eckhart Tolle, Marcus Aurelius and similar Masters. His book entitled “In Quest of the Deeper Self” is the outcome of his reflections on those and his wish to share the outcome with others.
Gopalakrishnan is a member of the International Association for Near Death Studies, Durham, NC, USA. He lives in Kodaikanal, a hill town in the southern part of India, with his wife Banumathy who also received her doctoral degree from the North Carolina State University, in Organic Chemistry. Now they are both retired and currently involved in developing a fruit farm at a village 20 km from their residence. They have a daughter and son who are both married and settled.