Although an abundance of knowledge has been generated throughout the ages about the human experience, in today’s world, there is still uncertainty and division regarding the understanding of the human being. This is in large part because the egotistical, divisive, competitive, and superficial aspects of society perpetuate confusion about the true nature of our human beingness.
The broad diversity of agenda-driven perspectives leaves no common agreement as to what the composite wholeness of a human being might be. In the fragmented thinking of the material and virtual worlds, the ideal direction for the development of humanity remains unclear, and consequently, humankind spins in circles like a compass without a magnetic north or a clear vision.
Yet, in an effort to devise a meaningful formula for what a person is so as to bring order to the experience of life, one must contemplate the composite aspect of the human being. This is difficult because from individual to individual, there is a marked difference in consciousness, especially when considering physical intensity, quality, and strength. The composite view becomes even more complex when one considers the characteristics of the emotions, intellect, moral values, personal temperament, esthetic vision, and religious/spiritual inclinations; an infinite combination of possibilities makes defining individuality illusive at best.
Miraculously, what brings this diversity together, like the hub of a wheel, is the commonality of the spiritual nature. In the spiritual core of all human beings, differences and distinctions are unknown; the enlightened soul perceives harmony and oneness, not separation and illusion. Unfortunately, contemporary civilization is not conducive to creating an environment that nurtures spiritual practices.
Today, many religions condemn exploration outside of their doctrines, and some fundamentalist religions discourage internal contemplation. Nevertheless, in human history, there have always been two distinct ways of molding the consciousness of humankind: one operates from without and the other from within.
The first method results from all of the external conditions, states or relationships imposed on the individual by the family, culture, religion, social environment, government bureaucracy, virtual connections, and worldly affairs. Individuals are powerless against these influences which imprint their experience, stir their emotions and alter their thinking. Security or insecurity, wealth or poverty, confidence or anxiety, struggle or slothfulness, responsibility or apathy, harmony or violence creates psychological states which unconsciously mold human beings in very specific ways.
The problem with this arises from people blindly adhering to other people’s personal, educational, religious, or political ideological beliefs to the point that they relinquish their own personal power to such influences. The governmental, technological, economic, and religious institutions of civilization continuously attempt to keep the masses under control by reminding them that the ruling members of these systems know what is right. Adhering to this thinly-veiled manipulation from institutions or political ideologues results ultimately in a negative consequence, enslavement.
People who subjugate themselves in such a way do not expand their minds through the intelligence and inspiration of original thought; they do not develop personal perspectives through spiritual insight. By relinquishing personal power and individual judgment to an institutional view or to a technological/political narrative, one forfeits the impulse to develop a unique and expanded perception of oneself and the conditions of life.
In addition to submitting to the “mass-mind thinking” and the authority of institutional perspectives, there has developed a tendency among the masses to base their own identity of who they are on these fallacious, biased narratives, never realizing that these superficial ideologies do not represent the composite whole of the human being; that essence of who they truly are. These incomplete perspectives leave them lacking in the understanding of the full potential of which we humans are capable.
It is understandable that people are susceptible to these systemic ideologies, political doctrines, and societal beliefs because the mind, which does not think for itself, naturally adheres to such precise and definitive solutions. These belief systems save time. By accepting them verbatim, people do not have to think for themselves. This is a choice of simplicity over complexity with the added benefit of intellectual security for having it already figured out; all one has to do is accept the prescribed view as one’s own.
Discipline, Solitude and Liberation
The preferred manner of molding the consciousness is the deliberate activity of inspirational and creative energies directed to modify the subject from within. Spontaneous insight, meditation, concentration, selfless service, intuition, communion with nature, will power, and renunciation each draw from and exhibit the deep well of internal energy. Once developed through practice, these internal states of being have the capacity to awaken spiritual qualities and attributes which bring about a better equilibrium and durability in the psychological well-being of the individual as well as the harmonious integration of all organic, emotional and mental activities.
There are two essential conditions which have the capability of releasing the individual from the bondage of external societal ignorance with its accompanying illusory worldview: relative isolation and self-discipline. In order to cultivate spiritual qualities, people must have the discipline to temporarily isolate themselves from their attachments to worldly things which are disharmonious, unimportant, and counterproductive.
Those who give priority to contemplating the truth and beauty of the unseen over gratification from the mundane will develop inner sensibilities which bring peace, happiness, grace, and insight. When the individual consciousness ascends the highest summits and is illuminated by intuition and creative imagination, impetus is provided for enthusiasm and inspiration toward the supreme goal. The awakening of moral ideals, spiritual sensibilities, and the appreciation of beauty leads one to the path of Light.
Where can modern individuals find psychological isolation and solitude? They can retire within. No retreat is more peaceful or less troubled than the experience of spiritual Light within. With steadfast discipline, the individual seeks the inner sanctum instead of material comfort and the entertaining pleasures of society, which bear no real fruit. While surrounded and enthralled by the comforts of life, the material illusions and technological marvels engendered by science, humans do not understand the urgency of developing the inner path. Distracted by pleasure and complacency, people fail to realize that they are slowly degenerating. The real peril is that the degeneration is so gradual and persistent that they fail to recognize it.
Spiritual insight, like intelligence, can be developed by education, self-discipline and will power if one is willing to temporarily relinquish sensual pleasures. There must be a temporary separation of the individual from his or her worldview in order to interrupt the habitual attachment to the physical. The illusion that worldly pleasures can bring lasting comfort, in whatever form, must be acknowledged and renounced before self-consciousness can transition from the seen and ascend to the miraculous dimensions of the unseen. For such a transition to occur, the individual must become proficient in the transformation of consciousness through the practices of renunciation and focused meditation.
In order to keep a spiritual, psychological and organic balance, people must impose upon themselves an inner rule. They must realize the necessity of selecting the right and avoiding the wrong, embracing the truth and rejecting the false, recognizing reality and dispelling illusion. Psychological equilibrium is only maintained by an effort of will. Everyone is born with different talents and capabilities, and in order to be actualized, these potentialities require the constant exercise of body, mind and spirit. It is from a solid and virtuously constructed foundation that the spiritual nature arises.
The sublime experiences which come from developing and living in these exceptional states is scarcely understood. Spiritual activity has been banished from most religions much to its detriment. Yet, the strength of religion depends on the focus and inspiration of spiritual activities which infuse it with new life, vision and direction. To take the spiritual or mystical spirit out of religion, leads to its decline, and at the very least destroys its inspiration, wonder and imaginative visions.
Spiritual advancement in its highest state utilizes an effective system of discipline, the practice of renunciation. One cannot enter the realm of the Light and Spirit without ascetic preparation. Renunciation is exactly the prescription needed by modern man to purge from his being the harmful effects encountered within the present civilization. Purification of the individual physically, mentally, and emotionally removes organic imbalances, misconceptions, misunderstandings, emotional pains and fears. Historically, few have shown the courage to venture upon this path.
Thus, in this material world, people rise or sink to the level of life for which they are fitted by the quality of their consciousness, the purity of their souls, the balance of their bodies and the resilience of their self-determination. The awakening of the individual self from the confusion and attachment to the materialistic, fragmentary and illusory worldview is likely to come only when extreme conditions and adverse circumstances leave no other choice, or perhaps, the peril of the degenerating society awakens the sense of urgency. Likely, it will take an “end of time” fear to compel mankind to find a vision and set the compass to true north.