Saturday, February 25, 2012

Modes of Seeking

“One may ask, 'What is the best way for a person to understand his life's purpose?' If one follows the bent of one's own mind, if one follows the track to which one is attracted, if one follows one's own inclination, which is not satisfied with anything else, one feels, 'There is something waiting for me (which one does not know at the time), which will bring me satisfaction.' Besides, if one is intuitive and mystical, it is easier still, because then one is continually told what is the purpose of one's life. For nature has such a perfection of wisdom.”…….. “The Way of Illumination” Section IV Chapter 1 by Hazrat Inayat Khan

There is always an innate desire to know the purpose of one’s life. From the time of dawning of man’s self awareness in his evolution into Homo Sapiens, he has wondered his specific role in relation to the objects around him both in the world and in the cosmos. From a fixated firmament with equidistant stars and a flat world of survival, man has evolved to think constantly the need for a higher purpose in his creation. The history of this enquiry has been driven mostly through the faculty of the mind which is a very subjective tool due to its sensory perception driven imagery from which all process of thinking originates.

The attraction, which the author of the above text states, is a collated essence of the predisposition the mind assumes when presented with a question such as ‘what is the purpose of life?’. This is a conditioned response and hence can not assume an absolute nature. The philosophies of ‘Determinism, fatalism and predestination’ follow this route. It is a predisposition through a pre-cast belief system.

The next level of seeking the answer to the question of what is the purpose of life, is through a free ranging inclination which allows the intellect to operate in reconditioning the mind.

This is exemplified by the great Elizabethan play penned by Christopher Marlowe “Doctor Faustus”.
The entire play depicts the archetypal Satan Mephistopheles in the life of Doctor Faust who represents the human intellect. Mephistopheles in Hebrew means ‘destroying liar’. This is one of the Jungian archetype of universal unconsciousness of the human psyche which allures one’s thought process towards a highly subjective, open-ended goal to be achieved for ultimate satisfaction which is totally alienated from the true goal (thus banishing one to hell).
In Jung's psychological framework, archetypes are innate, universal prototypes for ideas and may be used to interpret observations.

The third process suggested by the author is the intuitive and mystical route. This is the experience of great saints and sages. To understand the true purpose one’s life one has to embark on this wisdom journey. This realization can neither be achieved through knowledge which is highly subjective nor through the intellect which is highly conditioned through the evolutionary process at the level of the psyche.

The path of wisdom is not a journey of human intent alone but a mystical process of surrender wherein the Divine grace operates. This is the reason the Psalmist says:
“Wisdom has built her house; she has hewn out its seven pillars.”….Proverbs 9:1 and
“Wisdom reposes in the heart of the discerning and even among fools she lets herself be known.”……….Proverbs 14:33

The emphasis on the Divine fool is to be noted because it is the direct way of saying that one should not rely on one’s mind or intellect in the process of discerning the meaning and purpose of one’s life.

Love to you all

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