The point of reference

The dictionary will define that phrase as: “Something that is used to judge or understand something else.”

I have used that phrase before to explain time in relation with the “eternal recurrent cycle” in the BK philosophy. What is the point of reference in an eternal recurrent cycle?

Answer: “Now.” From that we can call something before that as the “past” and something still to arrive as the “future.”

On the same line, our society in whichever country or region in the world we live in, will offer us a point of reference to understand and judge the world. Most unaware individuals will believe those ideas and traditions as being the “right ones,” and will judge others based on what they have learned.

For instance, in most societies drinking a can of soda is something “natural” part of that conditioning. The brand name “Coca-Cola” for instance, is one of the most recognized worldwide. Its association with “feeling good” has been built through words, ads and beliefs. Most individuals will consume that brand name for it has a recognized name. The interesting part is that a can of soda is not needed to live. In fact, it is not a natural item. It does not have nourishment value. Nevertheless, emotionally most people in the world have learned to “need that” to celebrate a good time. From that particular soda we will build a baseline, a point of reference to judge other sodas or other “feel good” items.

Most individuals used to the standards of our society, do not have other points of reference. They are gullible to the effects of propaganda, the media.

In my own spiritual “career,” I can see now the value of the “Brahma Kumaris” as a point of reference. Their philosophy and beliefs gave me a different point of reference to observe my own life. For instance, most “firm” Bks will not watch television. In the beginning of my BK days, I embraced that belief not because I observed the value of being away from one of the main sources of “brain washing” there is, but because I wanted to be a “firm” BK. Of course, my ego found that as a source of enhancement, for in my mind I was able to show the rest of TV watchers my “superiority,” by labeling them as “tamopradhan” (lesser value people.) However, that attitude is the proof of my own repression. I did not realize the true value of that “practice” until 10 years later when I was out of the BK experience: I became aware of that TV world of hype, the world of buy this and that to “improve,” the world of silly sitcom programs which will hint you through fake background laughs, when is the time for you to laugh too. Want to watch the “news”? It is an all emotional catastrophe infusing fear in the audience. Want some form of entertainment? There is plenty of violence to watch, even while you drink your can of soda… All that brainwashing has consequences. I have discovered that the degree of awareness and “wakefulness” of an individual is in relation to his time devoted to watching the tube. More time into it, means greater sleepiness.

In spirituality, we will need to rely on an initial point of reference. That could be a particular religion or philosophy, but true conscious improvement can only arrive if we make any choice to change our behavior, through our own realization. It cannot be pushed through the outside, for it becomes a repression later on.

I recall that one day I helped a BK sister to move out to a different place. When the turn came for the small TV to go to her new place or stay there and be given away; the sister changed her mind many times, before she decided to deal with that at another time. Obviously the thought of “Being a firm BK” took precedence. Most probably she thought of herself as an example.

That is why, I consider that individuals should have the experience to embrace a new culture, different from theirs. Accept it and observe if their ways could be adapted into your own. That outlook could be extremely beneficial when Life offers alternatives in any situation and we are stuck with a single minded, traditional idea in our minds.

That sort of openness to accept and embrace diversity is necessary to gain greater consciousness.

A point of reference in Life, will give us our initial perspective. We may need to remember that it is only a perspective, for as soon as we move to one side or further away from that “picture,” we will see it differently, although with the same set of eyes.