Simplifying Spirituality - Finding the Purpose to Our Existence
Finding oneness with our inner self and in turn the world around us. Inversely, we could start being one with the world around us & in turn our inner self!
When we speak about finding the meaning and purpose to our existence, most times it is described as finding oneness with our inner self and in turn the world around us. While most of us are aware that this is the ultimate goal of spiritual realisation, where to start is the question we grapple with.
Wouldn’t it help if we could simplify the idea and find a way for us to take the first step on this lifelong journey?
Finding the inner self seems like a mammoth effort when we haven't even begun learning to look inwards. Let's just begin by understanding & extending the concept of the self. In our world the self as a concept is just an entity, the I-Me-Myself. Rarely do we see ourselves as a collective, the humans, a race of beings of high intelligence, who coexists with the environment and other species on this planet. Do we realise that us being a part of this collective could be by design, possibly because this coexistence is the only way this planet can thrive & survive?
Most of us are too busy making ends meet to consider the impact our existence could have on another person and society, thinking of its impact on our environment & ecosystem is too much to fathom. But who doesn’t know that the merciful trees are the reason we breathe, so in a way they are our breathing apparatus outside of us. Oceans aren’t only for beautiful beaches, they help absorb carbon-dioxide and extra heat from the planet and are the main source of the rain and hence fresh water. Yet, why is it unthinkable for us that we share an intimate relationship with the trees and oceans. Shouldn’t we be treating nature as an extension of our own self, since it is our survival mechanism?
As a race, we have thrived but at the cost of neglect of the environment and other species we coexist with. If we could just pause and remind ourselves of small facts on how we the human race can’t thrive without the efficient jobs so many species do for us. Bees are much more than a source of honey, they are our main pollinators. Ants are critical for fertile soil. Termites clean up our decomposing materials. Birds help with pollination, seed dispersal and pest control. Yet, beyond the textbooks, most of us see these species as nothing but a nuisance in our personal & community spaces. Could we not look at them as allies & co workers instead? Keep the distance but give them an ecosystem to their job effectively? A little concern about their survival needs would wouldn’t hurt either...
There is a code of sustenance running through nature, it sustains its myriad ecosystems by nurture not neglect. We humans are atop the survival chain on this planet, the ruling race, if we are mindful of our impact on everything that surrounds, serves and nourishes us, we can make such a difference to the wellbeing of this planet. Doesn’t the thought makes us feel important, powerful & responsible?
As within so without! To get to know what's within, let's start with getting to know ourselves in the larger frame of things - as a miniscule but essential part of this Universe - as the custodians of this planet.
And since storytelling never fails to add some depth and romance to the thoughts & principles, let’s seek some wisdom from the blue one...
Sumangali, the auspicious one, was sitting near the bank of the river again this evening. Aimlessly staring at the flowing water, thinking of the young man with the blue aura she had met recently. Though she talked to him only once but whenever she felt restless, she found herself wanting to talk to him again. Since yesterday, she had been feeling a disquiet that she couldn't get over. It all started when she was going towards the fields to see her father, she saw some people stirring up a debate on clearing out another section of the forest nearby. She remembered they had done so twice last year and she had lost her favourite hiding places in the forest. So many animals she used to see by the river were not coming anymore and some migratory birds that used to come every winter in the marshlands had disappeared too. Her father had since explained to her why they needed the land but she couldn't help feeling heartbroken.
Lost in deep thoughts, she didn’t realise when young man came to sit by her side. Surprised, she asked how did he appear suddenly. He replied modestly, “I know your soul now and I could hear its call”.
Not quite understanding how that is possible Sumangali wanted to probe him further but he brought her attention back to what was bothering her saying “I see that you are in distress, how can I help you?”
Unable to hide her feelings from this learned one, Sumangali told him all that was bothering her adding “I trust my father, but I just can’t shake the feeling that it's wrong”.
The young man said resolutely “Right and wrong depend on the motivation of the action. If the land is really needed by your village then its with the right motivation, but if they are clearing it to gain more land and profits then it's being done with the wrong motivation.”
Sumangali was not sure if the villagers were giving enough thought about the forest dwellers and couldn’t understand why they were so unaffected. She wondered if she was not being mindful of the interests of her village. Understanding her confusion the blue one assured her “If your inner voice says something is wrong in spite of your mind and logic indicating otherwise, then you have to trust the voice and probe the issue deeper. Maybe the village elders are so lost in doing good for the village that they are unable to see their need is now turning into greed. However, you feel one with the forest dwellers so you can feel the injustice being meted out to them, hence it is your duty to make the other villagers see reason.”
Sumangali was still a little unsure if it would be right on her part to argue with the village elders, as she was still a child and they all showered her with so much love. To rid her of her dilemma, the young man narrated a verse from Chapter 2, Verse 32 of the Bhagwad Gita...
yadṛichchhayā chopapannaṁ swarga-dvāram apāvṛitam, sukhinaḥ kṣhatriyāḥ pārtha labhante yuddham īdṛiśham . O Parth, happy are the warriors to whom such opportunities to defend righteousness come unsought, opening for them the stairway to the celestial abodes.
Explaining further he added, “True righteousness is not just in following the societal laws, but also in hearing your true calling. Little one you are defending the rights of those who have no voice, you are truly special, a true warrior for the forest and its dwellers and for the Mother Earth!!!”
Sumangali needed no further convincing. She was happy to have learned another important lesson, to never ignore her inner voice. She thanked the blue one and walked back to the village as someone who had found the purpose of her being...