Intuition and the Creation of a Better World

Needleman, Jacob

Since the beginning of recorded history, man has been haunted by the intimation that he lives in a world of mere appearances. In every teaching and spiritual philosophy of the past we find the idea that whatever happens to us, for good or ill, is brought about by deeper forces behind the world that seems so real to us. We are further told that this real world is not accessible to the senses nor understandable by the ordinary mind.

But, and this is a point that is not usually understood, we live in a world of inner appearances as well. We are not what we perceive ourselves to be. There is another identity, our real self, hidden behind the self that we believe ourselves to be.

It is only through awakening to this deeper self within that we can penetrate behind the veil of appearances and make contact with a truer world outside of ourselves. It is because we live on the surface of ourselves that we live on the surface of the greater world, never participating — except in rare moments which do not last and which are not understood — in the wholeness of reality


It is this all-important second aspect of the ancient wisdom, the aspect that speaks of our inner world, that modern thought has been blind to. And the question about the meaning of life is inextricably linked to the need for contact with the real self beneath the surface of our everyday thoughts, emotions, and sensations.

Without this contact, the external world of appearances assumes for us the proportions of an overwhelmingly compelling force. We cannot see the real world because we are not in contact with the deeper powers of thought and sensing within ourselves that could perceive it. Because of this, it is inevitable that we experience the external world as the strongest force in our lives. This is the meaning and the origin of materialism.

Jacob Needleman, Money and the meaning of life, pp. 153-4. New York, Currency & Doubleday, 1994

... scientists and laymen alike are taking [increasing interest] in the so-called "moment of insight", the "flash of intuition" that often accompanies influential scientific discoveries. A frequently cited example is the famous discovery of the form of the benzene molecule made by Kekule in 1865. After struggling with this problem until he saw no way out, Kekule one night dreamed of a snake eating its tail and awoke realizing the problem had been solved beneath the level of his ordinary thought. The discovery that organic chemical compounds take the form of rings was the basis of an entire branch of organic chemistry.
Many scientists have described to me their own experiences resembling that of Kekule. I, too, have had such moments; I'm sure many people have.

Jacob Needleman, A Sense of the Cosmos: Scientific Knowledge and Spiritual Truth. Rhinebeck, New York, Monkfish Book Publishing Company, 2003. pp. 105 - 106

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