I’m starting a semi-regular series that begins with this column. It’s called “10 Points of Wisdom” and my intent is to feature a valuable source of spiritual insights that our society too often overlooks: our elders. I will then highlight up to 10 of each elder’s most compelling musings, starting today with John Templeton.
You may recognize the name John Templeton as a legendary Wall Street figure. But you may not know about the deeply spiritual side of his life. At the age of 55, Templeton renounced his US citizenship and moved to the Bahamas. For starters, it allowed him to get away from the rat race that is the financial world—and provided tax benefits that allowed the modest-living Templeton to devote more of his money to charity.
Yet, what might be most impressive is that well into his 80s, Templeton published two thick compendiums on the world’s religions and philosophies titled Wisdom from the World’s Religions and The Worldwide Laws of Life. Because Templeton was convinced that “all religions are becoming obsolete, clinging to ancient concepts,” he kept the parts of each religion/philosophy he found relevant and tossed out the rest, in the process creating something new and universal.
Later in life, Templeton would spend a part of each day walking along the water—or more accurately, in the water. He would roll up his britches and go out to where it was knee deep, then walk far down the beach in the shallow waters and return. I am sure in deep contemplation of life and the world. He passed away in 2012 at the age of 96.
What follows scratches the surface of Templeton’s wisdom offerings but is a good starting place. For additional insights, see the aforementioned books.
Templeton believed that when you give love you are more apt to receive love and live a happier, more contented life. One action leads to the other. He advises us to:
Pour out love in thought, in word and in action. Try to think love, feel love, and become immersed in it, until all else in your life and world is absorbed and melted into giving love.
Templeton wrote that daily prayer was essential to achieving success and solving personal problems. In his words, “Prayer is not a way to turn on the light in God, but it is a way to turn on the light in yourself…and God is that light.” He recommended starting each day by thanking God for all the good in your life. He recommends we:
Pray that the words you speak and the actions you take will be in harmony with God’s purposes. Pray for wisdom and understanding. Maintain your trust and peace and your problems are more likely to be solved, sometimes in a mysterious manner, sometimes in the eleventh hour.
On Our One-ness
One of Templeton’s core beliefs was that we were all a part of God, and God a part of us. This in turn, linked us to every other person and thing on the planet. He called it our “one-ness.”
Nothing can separate you from God. Everything that touches you, everything that touches every individual is a part of God. It’s all a manifestation of God. If we realize this truth and bring ourselves into oneness with God, we then will have “a clear channel” to God’s purpose for our own life.
Templeton believed the Bible passage found in Acts 20:35 holds the key to a happy and successful life. It reads: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” He extended this idea of giving to all things and even saw it as the cure to loneliness, writing “Loneliness cannot be overcome by getting something; it must be overcome by giving something.” He continues:
- If you want to be happy, strive to make someone else happy. Give happiness.
- If you want to have more love in your life, strive to be a more loving person. Give love.
- If you want to be successful, help others to succeed. Give of yourself.
5. On Gratitude
Templeton talks frequently about the power of gratitude and how it can act like a magnet. Templeton believed that as we give love and show appreciation to others, the good we put out into the world flows right back to us—and can help attract “joy, opportunity, health, friends.” In his words:
The more we are grateful for what we have, the more will be given to us.
Below are five additional thoughts from John Templeton. I’ll let his words speak for themselves:
Too often we react to the moods of others, letting their words and actions influence our own. We run into others who are irritable or angry, and we match their words and moods in kind. The key is to not let our own moods be dictated by the moods of others.
Is your life beautiful? Do you live in surroundings that you have made beautiful through your own unique, creative ideas? To expect and lovingly require beauty to be apparent in all areas of your life is to be deeply loving to yourself, your soul, your world, and shows reverence to God and all of life.
On Seeing the Good
Seneca said, “Eyes will not see when the heart wishes them to be blind.” How can we open our inner eyes and begin to see with the “eyes of the spirit”? By lifting our vision. By choosing to look for the good in all situations. By deciding to place our attention on workable solutions to problems rather than focusing on what we perceive as wrong.
On True Wealth
If we have not developed a reservoir of spiritual wealth, no amount of money is likely to make us happy. Spiritual wealth provides faith. It gives us love. It brings and expands wisdom. Spiritual wealth leads to happiness because it guides us into useful and loving relationships.
On the Silence of God
Sometimes when our prayers seem to be unanswered, we may feel that we are not in tune with the timeless, unlimited universal Creator called God. But nothing can be separate from God. Everything that touches you, everything that touches each individual in the universe, is a part of God. The divine ideas we receive from God in the silence are like manna from heaven. They pour forth through us ever new, ever alive, ever more wonderful every day.