University & universal intelligence
University & universal intelligence
Have you ever considered the word university? Perhaps it is, and has always been for you, the word used to describe the place for tertiary education. A place where many people go to broaden their understanding of the world. And if this were solely and truly the case, then one may consider the word university applicable: for contained within the word is the universe.
So, what is the universe? Stars, planets, black holes and the unknown? Perhaps there is a simplicity to the immensity of the universe that we are missing. To me, the universe is everything that we are part of, and a grand intelligence in constant evolution that, when observed in detail, teaches us everything that we ever need to understand.
Many great teachers over the centuries – Pythagoras, Plato, Copernicus and Francis Bacon to name a few – observed the celestial and earthly cycles to bring a wealth of knowledge, containing all-encompassing universal wisdom, with the understanding that everything is connected. Just like the human body is a whole with many intricate parts that are dependent on each other for sustained health and harmony, the science of the universe teaches us this basic fact on a grander scale. The great cycles and rhythms and the perpetual movement of the earth around the sun constantly remind me of the grandness of the cosmos. And if we can appreciate this grandness, then we can equally appreciate our own magnificence. Because, in fact, we are part of it all!
However, how many people can truly say that university life, as we have so created it to be, is universally intelligent? In other words, that life at university not only develops and broadens our understanding of the temporal world, but is also rich with multidimensional depths that foster greater wisdom and a love and connection with ourselves and all others around us. This was certainly not the case when I was studying. I became so fixated on ‘achieving’ that I lost connection with those around me. Everything became secondary to my academic success. This created an immense disharmony in my life: my relationships and mental health suffered as a result. High stress and anxiety, late nights, stimulants, substance abuse and alcoholism became normal. The idea that academic success would lead to my happiness meant that all-encompassing universal intelligence was far from sight. Ultimately, I separated my head from my body. I completely abandoned the intelligence and awareness of my body for the drive of ambition, which in turn drove me down the path of self-destruction. A familiar story for many of us.
Of course, and with due mention, my university life did include many ‘good times’. There were moments of camaraderie, commitment, enthusiasm, and moments of joy and wonder. But it’s the highs and lows, the emotional turmoil that makes university life very much non-universal. One could argue that this is the nature of life . . . that life is a constant ebb and flow of ups and downs. And yes, we have made this the norm in our society, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Why move the bar so low? We can, if we allow ourselves, choose to make learning one continually expanding and joyous occasion.
The movements of the planets and earth’s perpetual cyclic motion are again a reminder of universal consistency. The cosmos does not create ‘highs and lows’, it moves with a solid and ever-expanding purpose. If we are a part of this, why do we live in a way that keeps us from appreciating, first and foremost, our very natural, beautiful and harmonious nature, and the way that we can be with each other? Instead, we become addicted to the turbulent ups and downs, like a sort of adrenaline-filled merry-go-round, getting the next fix of drama.
By understanding the nature of universal intelligence, life is more consistently joyful. And learning develops a connection with the subject of discussion, but also considers the whole of life with it!
In other words, our learning takes into account our own wellbeing, the wellbeing of others and the Whole. The steadfastness, joy and harmony that we develop within ourselves builds the foundation for how harmonious our university life, and the rest of our life, will be.
And then we can truly say that going to university is a universal journey that truly serves our future.