One of the things we need to remember is that we all have multiple intelligences and that different aspects of ourselves exist at different levels. Thus, we may be pretty evolved in one or two areas, whereas in other arenas of our lives, we may be less adept and in some areas pretty hopeless.
Let us look, for example, at six aspects of life: our cognitive (intellectual) skills, our interpersonal skills (how adept we are at relating with others), our ‘street cred’ (how practical we are at handling the everyday nitty gritty challenges in life), our emotional, moral and spiritual intelligence. Some of us may be highly skilled at a cognitive level (two Ph.D’s in astrophysics) but have absolutely no interpersonal or emotional skills. Someone might be very emotionally and cognitively skilled but have absolutely no moral sense, i.e., we are a total shit, and we use our intelligence primarily to dupe and manipulate others. (I can think of a couple of CEOs of large companies who fit into this category.)
Some people have a lot of practical street cred but no real wisdom. (Cognitive skills don’t give us wisdom unless we are also emotionally and spiritually intelligent) And so on. It might be interesting if we ask ourselves where the average terrorist fits into this schemata. Of even more interest would be if we were to draw a graph for ourselves around these six points and evaluated ourselves in four simple categories. Hopeless. Basic. Sufficient. Advanced. In fact, do it. You’ll find it interesting.
The thing to get is that we are all like this and we should not make ourselves wrong for not being as adept in certain areas as in others. Rather, we need to recognise those areas where we are strong and those where we are not so strong and ensure that what we do in life evolves around our prime talents.
Sometimes, however, we come to realise that to make any headway, we have no choice but to work at developing areas in ourselves that are so hopeless that they hinder us too much and don’t allow our strengths the chance to show. Sometimes, we accept our vulnerabilities and realise we need to put out more energy into developing our talents. For example, if we are a top concert pianist or a top trapeze artist, it may not matter so much if our street cred or our cognitive skills are not quite up to par.
What is important to realise is that if we wish to be more evolved in certain areas, it doesn’t just ‘happen,’ like say, a tree grows and produces beautiful blossoms. Rather, it needs practice. Work. Thus, if we wish to be a great concert pianist or a great tennis player (Andy Murray), we need to practice a great deal. Similarly, if we wish to be spiritually mature, we need to commit to certain practices such as meditation or consciously doing good, that assist this process. Also, once we attain a certain stage or level, we don’t go back.
Once our hearts open at a deep level and we start accessing universal states of awareness where we begin to care deeply for our fellow human beings even if we have never met them and even if they belong to cultures, races and religions totally different to ourselves, we won’t later revert to being racist, snobbish, homophobic or whatever. However, we need to ‘stay in practice’ to keep our talents well homed. The meditator needs to continue meditating; the concert pianist needs to continue playing the piano, Andy Murray needs to continue homing his skills.