I was recently asked this question: My daughter is neither intelligent nor beautiful. How can I help her?
If it seems that we fail to conform to customary notions of intellect and beauty suggests that our destiny is not to be found in the realms of the ordinary and conventional but is rather to be found on the “road less traveled.” This is a difficult path for sure. Our world does not easily accommodate such travelers, offering little in the form of useful information and strategies, let alone hard evidence not just that such a path even exists but can actually be the route to the most profound and life altering experiences and learning. Nevertheless it can be a lonely and difficult path and we are far more able to successfully navigate it we have a parent who can accompany us. But this will require the parent to abandon all accepted notions of happiness, truth, and success to open her mind to a far greater range of possibilities.
As a parent, we can be the most effective and amazing source for inspiration and courage for our children if we can do the personal work required to shift and expand our own limited notions of what life truly is. The essential and original truth about life and love can only be found beneath the surface of things, where it lies hidden beneath a matrix of their opposites. All is not what it seems, and the discovery of this truth requires awareness, dedication and persistence.
When we are ready to see, we will learn that truth must be extracted from the web of human lies, deceits and frauds at every level of human endeavor, and divine (unconditional) love can only be briefly glimpsed within the common cultural expressions of romantic and filial love. If we restrict our search for these divine attributes to the realm of the material and physical then failure, sorrow, and defeat are guaranteed. It is only when we turn our gaze beyond the matrix we call human life, commencing our journey to true meaning, enlightenment and mastery, that we can begin to understand the true nature of life. Ultimately it will be revealed that the physical world is only effect. The true source of all things we regard as desirable and good resides somewhere on a higher plane.
Initially, it will help if we can see that we all have the intelligence we need to live the life we came here to live. We all come into this life with the gifts, talents and abilities which not only enable us to live our life purpose, but constitute the very kernel of our inbuilt and innate potential and propensity to manifest our dreams and our deepest desires. Our natural abilities are a profound guide to the particular path in life that not only bring us the greatest joy, satisfaction and fulfillment, but lead us on our individual and unique path to attainment and mastery.
If we find we wish to acquire further capacity and ability in any respect at all - intellectual, physical, creative or psychological - we can seek the inspiration and guidance from our own inner voice which not only can, but always will when we ask, propel us on our personal path to the lessons required for our accomplishment and growth. Whilst the process is simple, the path is not. It can be winding and wending with steep and unexpected ascents and descents, it may take everything we have, likely bringing us, at some point, to our knees, forcing us to swallow the bitter tears of frustration and temporary defeat. But if we remain faithful to that path, committed no matter what, without deviating from the directives of our own inner truth, success is guaranteed, regardless of how we score on (limited and limiting) IQ tests.
Even the science shows the absence of true evidence for, and the severe limitations of, our commonly accepted notions of intelligence. Despite our historical emphasis on IQ as an indicator of academic success, at least one study has shown that self-discipline is a far more reliable and significant predictor and gauge of academic performance. Further, the longitudinal Stanford Marshmallow Experiment embedded the crucial role of emotional intelligence (specifically, the ability to delay gratification) in current education theories and strategies for success in both academics and life generally.
Success in life requires far more than intellect. In fact, I would argue that intellect actually inhibits emotional functionality, which is required for a well-rounded and balanced life, because of its capacity to sabotage our thought process and paralyze us in working to manifest our dreams. Our intellect requires hard evidence that our strategies are logical, sensible and rational. Of course intellect keeps us grounded and functioning at a purely physical level, but our greatest achievements, our most meaningful and wondrous creations, are rarely sourced in intellect alone. Rather, they are born of inspiration, intuition, dreaming, and imagination.
Everyone thrives in the arms of unconditional love. Knowing that we are accepted exactly as we are in this moment, that we are worthy, valued and lovable right now without alteration or adjustment, is the fountainhead of spiritual blessings that becomes the source for all personal joy, strength, achievement, courage, happiness and internal peace. Those who are unconditionally loved, especially by their parents, develop not only the internal resilience and fortitude to cope with the vicissitudes of life, they seemingly transcend all theories, expectations, and speculations of their innate potential and capability. They are the blessed beings who, no matter what life throws at them, are never more than temporarily thrown off balance and laid low by adversity. They not only recover quickly, they seem effortlessly able to transmute the effects of tragedy and trauma into wisdom and life mastery.
Furthermore, love not only expands our personal and life potentials and capabilities, it makes us more beautiful. When we have been loved unconditionally not only are we more able to love ourselves, we have a greater capacity to love others, and this ultimately has an effect on our physical appearance. The more we love, both ourselves and others, the more beautiful we become. When our thoughts are filled with and reflect the attributes of love - peace, non-judgment, compassion, kindness, and generosity of spirit - our very being, including our body, is transformed so that our outward form reflects our more exalted inner state.
Because love is the highest vibrational energy, pure love transforms our physical body by speeding up our energy vibration, regenerating and beautifying the cells to create a very real and tangible attractiveness and beauty perceptible to all. We may not be able to put it into words, we may not even be consciously aware why truly loving individuals seem so beautiful but, in fact, when our outward beauty is a reflection of the love we feel inside, it is always palpable.
Being the most loving we can be, allowing only love to dominate our thoughts, intentions and actions, is the most efficacious beautifier. It is right and natural for all of us to desire beauty because natural order and beauty are the very patterns on which life is based. It is who we are. A beautiful and moving example of the regenerating power of love is found in Malala Yousafzai, the Nobel Peace Prize winning Pakistani teenager whose face was damaged by bullets from a Taliban gun at close range. The love she feels for all mankind resonates throughout her being and we all feel uplifted and strengthened by her presence in the world.
The power of our mind to create the life of our dreams has nothing to do with intellect. It is about the mastery, discipline and wisdom required to control our thoughts, that enable us to limit our attention and intention to that we wish to ultimately see manifested. This is a spiritual and metaphysical quest, the journey of the hero, that is the inspiring, motivating, and activating force at the very core of all human life, whether we realize it or not. We do our children the greatest service, indeed it is the soul pursuit of the highest order, if we can find the strength not to subscribe to a world view that we are nothing more than our biology, and teach our children life strategies that transcend cultural, psychological, philosophical, and academic parameters. These are all limited by the small minds that created them and give little expression to the infinite and divine, the true source of all beauty and intelligence.