Sunday, 4 March 2018

Perspective #4: Who Am I?

It is so easy to be carried away by financial, academic or other success and thus think that "I am that which I have become in this world". Some become so obsessed with this thought that they believe that what they have accomplished is down purely to their efforts. They then tend to see the world purely in material terms and expect the world to listen to their advice on what is needed for a better world.

Not all such persons, but quite a number. And when they utter their doctrines they speak down to others who have not "made it" as though they are not worthy; that they take the view that persons of low material achievement have remained low in the social order because of something inherently wrong with their attitude and they should, therefore, receive little or nothing in aid.

That there are persons who do not make much of an effort is not questioned. It is the assumption by a number in powerful positions that all persons of low material worth are of that character.

The fact is, however, that a society (if it is to be successful) requires the cooperation of all its members, rich or poor, and as any good business manager knows, his staff will respond much better to fair treatment than to harsh treatment. Is not balanced love better than hate or disrespect?

But for the better success of society, all its members would benefit much more if they came to understand themselves better and also themselves in relation to the rest of the world and even the universe. To live and operate successfully we should learn that we are mutually inter-dependent, not only to other persons but to our entire, larger, environment and even the universe. That we must live within universal laws.

Science is coming towards being in agreement with this view. This webpage's headline (click on the link) states: "Scientists Discover That Humans Have A ‘Magnetic 6th Sense’ To Detect Something We Can’t Even See!". Now this is not something new, but science thinks it is as they have just 'found' it! But it has been known to exist for countless eons. It is known by all mystics. Did not Jesus say (in the language of the time) that the body is a temple? What was he inferring there, that we should simply pray and that God 'out there' might answer our prayers? No! I believe he was saying that by our sincere prayers (and meditations and mantras) we create a 'something' that communicates with our surroundings - a psycho-magnetic link with hidden elements which, in turn, link to God.

All life is interwoven with a greater whole which is only partly visible. But the human mind has become fickle as we have been feeding it with worldly tendencies. How can we stabilise it? By firstly seeking to find out who we really are: by going within to "seek and thou shalt find". Silence is golden.

So, what to do?

A young man came to a sage one day and asked, "Sire, what must I do to become wise?" The sage vouchsafed no answer. The youth after repeating his question a number of times with a like result, at last left him, to return the next day with the same question. Again no answer was given and the youth returned on the third day, still repeating his question, "Sire what must I do to become wise?"

Finally, the sage turned and went down to a nearby river. He entered the water, bidding the youth follow him. Upon arriving at a sufficient depth the sage took the young man by the shoulders and held him under the water, despite his struggles to free himself. At last, however, he released him and when the youth had regained his breath the sage questioned him:

"Son, when you were under the water what did you most desire?"

The youth answered without hesitation, "Air, air! I wanted air!"

"Would you not rather have had riches, pleasure, power or love, my son? Did you not think of any of these?" queried the sage.

"No, sire! I wanted air and thought only of air," came the instant response.

"Then," said the sage, "to become wise you must desire wisdom with as great intensity as you just now desired air. You must struggle for it, to the exclusion of every other aim in life. It must be your one and only aspiration, by day and by night. If you seek wisdom with that fervour, my son, you will surely become wise."

As Freke and Gandy wrote in their book “Jesus and The Goddess”:
…it is clear that Christianity was not always the safe, pre-packaged, off-the-shelf religion it has become. The Christian Way was once travelled by philosophical adventurers who proclaimed life to be an opportunity for self-discovery, for spiritual creativity, for living our own myths. Christianity…..began as a movement of mystical enthusiasts with a beautiful vision of the meaning and mystery of life.
But the overall object is towards Unity. The late Indian avatar Sri Sathya Sai Baba made the following statement of hope and inspiration to us in these days of doubt:
If there is righteousness in the heart there will be beauty in the character.
If there is beauty in the character there will be harmony in the home.
If there is harmony in the home there will be order in the nation.
When there is order in the nation there will be peace in the world.
Dag Hammarskjold, former secretary-general of the United Nations in his book “Markings”, asked:
Do you choose yourself?
Body and soul contain a thousand possibilities out of which you can build many ‘I’s. But in only one of them is there a congruence of elector and elected. Only one – which you will never find until you have excluded all those superficial and fleeting possibilities of being and doing with which you toy (out of curiosity, wonder or greed) and which hinder you from casting anchor in the experience in the mystery of life, and the consciousness of the talent entrusted to you, which is your I.
That "talent", if properly nurtured, leads to "beauty in the character".

Next: more on the soul, and on karma.

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