The Art of Pioneering
18th century German Philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer once said: “All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident”.
AUDIO – The Art of Pioneering (Music by Deuter – Distant Dreams)
A pioneer is someone who needs to have the courage to break through the barriers of public opinion, possibly inviting criticism, ridicule or opposition. They need to have such faith in themselves and in their task, that nothing will stop them! It is usually only in retrospect that they are considered pioneers, when their achievement is finally recognised and lauded as a step forward for humanity. Finally it becomes an accepted and obvious truth.
From prophets to protestors in the street, each human being who has contributed to a positive world change in some way has had to overcome some form of opposition. Due to their sheer commitment and determination, they overcome all odds. Sometimes the motive is fame or fortune, but more often the pioneer is inspired by a greater, higher purpose, that of human values, of truth, freedom, justice, or a host of other worthy ideals.
To pioneer is not an easy task, but pioneers are necessary. These luminaries may live in the spotlight, or they may be quietly working away behind the scenes, but nevertheless they are playing a necessary and important part of changing the world in some way, shape or form. They go where no ‘man’ has gone before, opening the way, forming the path and making it easy for others to follow.
The term ‘pioneer’ can be synonymous with ‘first’. Every pioneer is the first to cross uncharted territory in any sphere. New lands were discovered because Christopher Columbus and other brave souls were prepared to leave their comfort zones to cross unknown, hostile and dangerous waters. Six Centuries later, Steve Jobs transformed the way we live, work and play because he believed in himself, his talent and his ability to challenge the status quo. Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung revolutionized our thinking about the way our minds and emotions work and proposed the concept of the collective unconscious, taking us towards a different and deeper understanding of ourselves.
A pioneer may be a philosopher, a politician, an adventurer, or someone who may pass you in the street, unnoticed. The external role or appearance is irrelevant: it is the character and indomitable spirit that defines the pioneer.
Pioneers take the world into another dimension of thinking and open up new directions. They bring back stories and experiences of unknown destinations, internal and external. We can sit back and admire them or we can walk the same journey and experience it for ourselves.
Pioneers of the present day are ones who are not only challenging the current social norms, but feel empowered enough to challenge the big corporations and governments: many are prepared even to lay down their lives for justice, freedom and a better world.
Mahatma Ghandi pioneered non-violent resistance with his ethic of Satyagraha, loosely translated as ‘insistence on truth’. His ‘battle’ against the might of the British Empire was won purely on the strength of his commitment to his values.
Is pioneering just for the chosen few who are blessed with special talents, for the Einsteins, or the Mother Theresas of the world?
Sir Edmund Hillary became one of the hundred most influential people of the 20th century according to Time magazine, for his conquest of Everest in 1953, a feat that also conquered the imagination of millions around the world.
And how many of us meet with, and surmount a mountain of challenges every day? Can each one of us not be a pioneer in our own right? In our families, our workplaces and communities? Can we not each be teachers, role models and have the courage to do what we must do, what we know is right, even though it may not be the most comfortable thing to do?
Practitioners of Raja Yoga Meditation aim to be examples of how each one of us can conquer the lower characteristics of the self in order to live a life free from negativity, and create for ourselves and others around us a life of peace, happiness and satisfaction.
This month we remember and pay tribute to a largely unknown pioneer, but one who changed the lives of thousands, if not millions around the globe, and that is Dada Lekhraj, later known as Brahma Baba, founder of the Brahma Kumaris. He left his mortal body on the 18th January 1969, but continues to inspire, and his legacy grows greater by the day.
Against all the odds in the 1930’s Brahma Baba pioneered a new lifestyle. He went against the social norms of the day, big time! He shunned his previously privileged lifestyle as a wealthy diamond merchant, and lived as simply as possible whilst maintaining his responsibilities. He championed the cause of women, making them into spiritual leaders and trustees of the Spiritual University in their own right – a revolutionary act in a society when women were meant to be subservient and very much second-class citizens. Brahma Baba saw every person with an equal vision of love and respect, no matter how high or lowly their position in life. His challenge to the customs and systems of the day meant that he met with violent opposition and threats against his life. He created leaders, not followers, and he advocated a way to peace and truth and a vision of universal brotherhood that each one of us can follow.
Ironically, Brahma Baba would never have considered himself to be a pioneer. He only ever saw himself as an instrument for the Divine, as a vehicle to bring spiritual energy back into the world.
He exemplified the art of unconditional love and selfless service through the mind… sending out vibrations of good wishes and pure feelings that touched everyone in each corner of the world, without ever knowing them. The seeds he planted continue to inspire millions on the path to spirituality.
It’s time… to emerge the pioneering spirit and recognize that each of us has something valuable to offer the world. To realise that every action and thought for good sends a ripple out into the universe that can affect and inspire millions of others. So no matter whether you are ridiculed or opposed – one day the truth will reveal itself!
© ‘It’s Time…’ by Aruna Ladva, BK Publications London, UK