by Richard West
J.R.R Tolkien, author of ‘The Lord of the Rings’, was asked countless times in his life, by members of different religions, philosophers and fans, to comment on the many morals one can take from his books.
Author – Richard West
However, Tolkien always refused to do this, despite his books being so apparently full of life lessons. Tolkien stated that his stories, and the world he created for them, were simply “full of life”, and that he intended no specific morals to be gained by the reader.
I absolutely love this perspective. You see, we all can learn from life experiences as well as from reading books, watching movies and listening to music. But are these really morals?
Let’s explore the difference between a ‘moral’ and an ‘organic life lesson’.
Is morality really judgemental?
Going through life, we pick up on different things — things that either confirm our perspective, deny or go against it, add to, or alter it in some way. We all have different ways of perceiving life at different times, and what we resonate with will depend on our own ‘frequency’, our specific vibration.
So, those who stay open and aware will pick up ‘organic life lessons’ on a regular basis. This adds to our existing perspectives or alters them in some way (inspiration). For example you may read ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and come away with a sense that community and unity are important when overcoming adversity, so you may take this into your daily life and act on it accordingly.
Where this becomes a ‘moral’ from my perspective is when this life lesson becomes a fixed view point. When that happens, in essence, you have identified with that moral — let it define you — and now you are forcing it into your daily life by never wavering from this perspective. It doesn’t matter if you feel to do something alone this time, because you believe that things are always best achieved in co-operation and community.
So, you have formed a judgement — a fixed view point on life, which holds you to a fixed way of being — despite the fact that you, in your essence are not so fixed and neither does life work in that way.
Society’s fixation with ‘morals’ and the denial of ‘life’:
The thing that probably all elderly people get asked at some point, and I must admit I’ve asked this question too, is: If you could impart one lesson from your life, what would it be? To me this shows our thirst for morality, a specific life lesson that we can take and hold on to. Religions are saturated with moral codes — specific guidelines for which to lead our lives in a ‘good’ way. Even non-religious people often have an unwavering code of ethics.
And this is all very well and good, but can you see how limiting this can be?
I put it to you that life is not a fixed pattern, following rules and regulations, but a tapestry of interrelating ‘truths’, ever-changing like a jelly fish, organically moving as one yet pliable and not fixed to one particular shape.
I put it to you that life has no moral — life simply experiences life.
How can we learn ‘organic life lessons’ without becoming identified with fixed morals?
For this we have to really know who we are deep down, beyond our body, beyond our emotional triggers, even beyond our fixed thought patterns. We have to know that we are unbound potential, albeit manifesting this in our own unique way.A great way to start is by becoming the Observer of all our feelings and thoughts. Then we can recognise and letting go of old patterns that no longer serve us. This leads to a facilitating of ourselves to find our own aligned expression in each and every moment.
Taking inspiration from life without limiting ourselves:
We will still find inspiration from books and movies like ‘The Lord of the Rings’ or ‘The Little Prince’, because they are so full of life. They take the reader into the essence of life, not shying away from the darker sides, but also highlighting the majestic beauty of it, the magic that we can all feel running through our veins. They depict the rich tapestry of life in a raw way that touches us deep inside, without judgement.
The important thing is that we feel inspiration, which opens us up to greater potential, rather than clinging to fixed morals or lessons which close us down to the pure potential of the moment.
Richard West is a carer, psychologist, spiritual facilitator and writer. He has worked close to death for 7 years and is passionate about helping people to move on in a conscious way, even though our society is geared to fight against death. Richard is also a spiritual facilitator at Openhand. He offers services in Spiritual Facilitation and Conscious Dying on his website ‘Back to the Source’ and writes regular articles on his blog (where this article first appeared.)