There is an old saying which says: ‘You can’t teach an old dog new tricks’. But if we want a better world in the future we are definitely going to have to learn a whole new ‘barrel of tricks’ at every level of human behaviour and endeavour.

Perhaps we can take a lesson from another member of the animal/insect kingdom and learn a few lessons from the mysterious behaviour of honeybees. Scientists have observed that honeybees have latent genes which are only unlocked when bees perform certain actions, like a ritual dance with other honeybees. Suddenly the bee has unlocked new latent capacities locked up somehow in their genetic makeup. – see Chris Kavelin. Nudges from grandfather (2016) page 200.

Is it then too much of a stretch of imagination that we humans can also escape the prison of our negative habits and thoughts if we activate actions which bring higher capacities alive within us? These are the latent but truly human qualities which will lead to a brighter future for us all, like Love, Tolerance, Understanding, Generosity, and Mindfulness which are locked up in the spiritual ‘genetic heritage’ of all human beings.

Like the honeybees, all we need to do is to ‘dance’ to the right tune, in our case, the melody played by our Higher Self. Then we will naturally unlock those inner capacities. But this dance requires discipline and determination to change old selfish habits by repeating actions involving service to others where we must necessarily go outside our ‘comfort zone’ of what is both comfortable and familiar. Most frequently we put such grand ambitions into the ‘too hard basket’. It is frequently the ‘Three Awakening Sights’ that Buddha spoke of which set our reluctant feet on the spiritual path in earnest – Old Age, Disease and Death – either observed in ourselves, or in others close to us.

Theosophical teacher, HP Blavatsky, spoke of the necessity of breaking the ‘moulds of mind’ if we are to progress on the spiritual path both individually and globally. These ‘Moulds’ are our negative habits arising from our concentrating on the energies of our Lower Self, such as selfishness, ambition, exploitation, competitiveness, and all this leads to, like family disharmony, warfare, and global environmental crisis. She said that it is necessary to forge ‘new brain paths’ to release the inner capacities which will save us and the world:

“The brain is the instrument of the waking consciousness, and every conscious mental picture formed means change and destruction of the atoms of the brain. Ordinary intellectual activity moves on well-beaten paths in the brain, and does not compel sudden adjustments and destructions in its substance. But this new kind of effort calls for something very different – the carving out of new ‘brain paths’, the ranking in different order of the little brain lives.” – An Invitation to the Secret Doctrine, Theosophical University Press, 1988: page 5.

Clearly, we too, like the dancing honeybees, have the capacity to unlock inner capacities if we orientate our thought and effort in the right direction consistently and sensibly over sufficient time. The nectar of spiritual understanding is right there simply awaiting us to commence and sustain ‘Right Effort’ and ‘Right Action’ through the application of ‘Joyous perseverance’, as the Buddhists would say.

Life is an opportunity, Benefit from it. Life is beauty, Admire it. Life is bliss, Taste it. Life is a dream, Realise it. Life is a challenge, Meet it. Life is a duty, Complete it. Life is a game, Play it. Life is a promise, Fulfil it. Life is sorrow, Overcome it. Life is a song, Sing it… – Mother Teresa.