To remove the fear of death, one way is to contemplate, why we are alive? What is the “purpose” of our life?
We imagine we have been given a purpose by a designer, just like a tin opener has been designed for a purpose. We ask, because we want to be assured that what is happening is appropriate, is right - right for whatever we have been designed for. Many times during our life, and especially when we get near the time of death… we want to know, that we have “done our Job, fulfilled our purpose, our destiny, our potential?”
But really what is behind this, is our ego who imagines, that our individual life must have a purpose. We are trained, have learned - to ask such technical questions. We forget, that whatever purpose we imagine, is also learned – i.e. merely a “child of our mind’ and to fulfil it… is equally subjective to our own mind!
Understanding this, the question changes. It naturally becomes much wider…a more open question, as to what is the purpose of life, life which expresses as me, through me! How do I fit in and fulfil my potential as an expression of life –itself?
With this, the question changes: What is my duty…towards life!
“Hold it”…my duty towards life….?
We are used to ask, what does life owe me, what do people owe me? But, we don’t like to hear of our duty. Duty towards whom or what?
Yoga and much of philosophy, as well as Swami Rama - would say: as human beings our duty is simply to become fully human?
It’s like other life forms… if they could speak and ask - what would the flower say, or the tree?
It’s the duty of the tree… “to tree” – to unfold as a tree; the duty of the flower is to be fragrant. The flower and its fragrance are one and the same. So what does it mean for a human being, like me – to be “fully human”? What can it mean?
There hides a distinction behind this: in some ways we are a human -animal; Like any animal we need food, shelter, sleep and continuity/ reproduction and if this is all we live for - yes we are human animals. But this is not all… What makes a human being special, is that part of our mind, which becomes aware of itself!
Swami Rama says, there are three steps in evolution: First is the animalistic human who knows only the fulfilment of its base drives;
Then there is the next stage: of becoming truly human.
Then there is the third stage to evolve to a Divine Human.
All these three place us in the context of life, the universe, the world we live in, but the latter two lift us out, through our ability to become aware/ conscious.
Now we start to see… what fulfilling our life’s purpose might mean. How have we used the gift of ‘Awareness”, how conscious have we become of our true nature, of being consciousness? How have we lived, how can we live from that point and contribute freely to that which we share with all existence? Have we given freely, have we shared the gifts we have received - to the whole, the All, the world.
From this insight, automatically our own needs diminish. “Material life becomes simpler and less burdensome” (SR.) From here, we can easily give up our possessive attachment to material goods. It implies to give up our self-obsessed concern for the small “I” and beginning to see the bigger picture! The fact that we simply share existence with all other. Give….
We don’t expect a flower/ or a planet to ask, what’ is “my purpose” . It simply exists as one aspect of the universe, in harmony with the universe. And they give… without expectation of something in return: the flower simply gives its beauty, its fragrance; the planet, the earth simply gives support and holds us without judgement… no matter what we do to her.
Knowing our shared existence, we just give, without question, from what we have to “ALL”.
The ancient Wise Ones talked about themselves, as though they were one cell in the body of the cosmic “person”; comparing individual existence to one blood-cell fulfilling its task, within one large, cosmic universal body!
The small “I” has a place within the cosmic “I”, but so are all 7 billion people of this planet. With this our perception of “community” changes. Co-operation is the name of the game. How do we fulfil our part in this web of co-operation? By using the gift life has given you – for the good of “ALL”.
For fulfilling our dharma, our “duty to life…” each person has his/her special path on this journey towards higher evolution ; a special path that suits him/her which leads towards the universal goal. No path, no religion - is better than another; “they merely reflect cultures, times and needs…. its priestly wisdom and churchianity that have created confusion ” (SR)
It’s our job to take responsibility for our path through life. If we do, we cannot blame anymore parents, churches, teachers, society… others.
Life happens, but how we respond to the things that happen, that is our choice. Once we see this, we are able to forgive, release people - we can relax about human relationship, forgive and loosen “the ties that bind”.
In this way loosen your ties, “understand and forgive your relationships, your government and your history “. Accept the responsibility for your life and do not consider yourself as a victim of circumstances. Which also means FORGIVE YOURSELF .
In the Kathopanishad - Nachiketa, forgave his father and took initiative for something tremendous - for his own life; he took charge… of his spiritual path. Now is the time for all of us, to do the same! (That “Now” which is not limited to time… but always is!)
Life lives, your own personal version of life has been full of opportunities to learn and to grow – see your life in this light… then you see that it is an opportunity to learn, to evolve – always in every moment.
Human life is simply that, it’s an opportunity to grow, but actually not “you” growing as a separate entity - but life; the essence that you are, is growing through you; life as conscious energy growing to be conscious. So all of your life’s experience, contributes to Life‘s experience.
Relax,… all your actions and thoughts contribute to life evolving. Because the whole thing is not about YOU, it’s about Life - who’s form, who’s expression you are.
As a “person learns to accept with equanimity his or her circumstances, whether pleasant or unpleasant, they can look forward with joy and courage (to how ever long this span of life lasts). They rise above their (individual) karma. …the way to do that is to live skilfully and purposefully “ (SR)
How to do that?
Toward the end of the great Indian story, the Mahabharata, Bishma, the ageing king, describes the noble life, the life of virtue:
- ...be truthful and above reproach, self-restrained, humble and righteous...
- ...he should surround himself with men who share his noble qualities...
- …Malice should have no place in his heart... Self-restrained is sacred.
- Its fruit are nobility, calmness, contentment, faith, forgiveness, simplicity, humility, reverence for superiors, benevolence, compassion for all creatures, frankness...
- It is said, with this we break the bonds of our individual karma. It is the responsibility of the individual, (meaning getting to know the habitual patterns, that we have, their motivation and addiction and letting go of them) to gain freedom. We can continue to either live a noble life or die a noble death… whatever the point in existence you have reached.
Life is a school, a training ground….once you learned your lessons… you can let go, with ease… ; job done.
Again what does it mean living a noble life? It is being consistently truthful and honest; is seeing to issues as they arise promptly and appropriately; is giving the right quality time to those who need it. It is allowing ourselves time for our own spiritual practices and rest; is tending to the needs of our bodies with food and sleep in the best way possible.
We exist, that’s a fact, doing it well, is fulfilling our existence; not our purpose!
A noble life – is living from the point of love for All, including all, excluding none (SR); a life of freedom, wide vision, a life of joy and giving, self-less giving, and a life of fearlessness.
As we advance in age, our needs get automatically less… life gets simpler, yet never forget the goal of life for the individual is spiritual; do your duties then let go “and leave the rest up to the timeless process of spiritual unfoldment… then everything will be in harmony”.
This also means when we live a noble life it does not matter whether we are a writer, shoemaker, mother, or husband. It is irrelevant whether we are a teacher, a poet, a president , a nurse or a Guru; it is not the roles that are important, it is not the achievements we gain which is our purpose, but the awareness of who we are, and how we are; both rest on the realisation: that we are …..SAT….Chit (Conscious existence) . Both of these address our existence within the universe without our self-important Ego-fixation.
How absolutely wonderful! We are one extremely amazing part of life in this fantastic creation! To realise that, is divine bliss, is Ananda.
Let’s celebrate!!! Be glad that you are part of life, not separate… this makes you free; a great weight can lift of your shoulders. No more worries about whether you fulfilled your life’s purpose. See that you are free; you exist only, to realise your original nature and enjoy the miracle of life
Enjoy the miracle of being alive aware of the many forms of the One existence.
Existence, Consciousness, Joy (Sat-Chit-Ananda) - that is the fibre of the universe; that is the nature of your life. Cultivate awareness within yourself and awareness of your surrounding; awareness of the earth, the universe even - and then live in harmony with that. Lose your small self within Existence, Consciousness, Joy!
Om Tat Sat