...The idea that anyone could know, in a comprehensive manner, the meaning of life, seems to most people an absurd notion. Life qua life, is such an enormous, interwoven, complicated idea that it appears to defy comprehension, and further there is a general feeling today among Western Culture that a person searching for life's meaning is wasting scarce energy, scarce time, and being counter productive. Monty Python, a group of English funny men, created a satirical spoof, movie called, "The Meaning of Life." Of course, their title was meant to be sarcastic and to taunt the viewer with the high concept of "the meaning of life," then they immediately began to mock it in the most irreverent of ways. After many comedic skits that had little to do with the meaning of life, the movie ended with one of the Monty Python crew sitting in a chair saying, "Oh! you really expected to see evidence of the meaning of life?" Then he reaches over to a small table standing next to him, picks up the book setting there entitled, "The Meaning of Life," opens it and begins to read in a flippant manner, "Treat everyone as you would like to be treated, turn the other cheek, love your neighbor as yourself, blah, blah, blah," then throws the book to the side on the floor as the movie ends.
In contrast, Viktor E. Frankel, in a serious attempt to extract meaning from life, wrote a book entitled, Man's Search for Meaning. His presentation was taken seriously by millions of readers, owning to the facts that he was an immanent psychiatrist, and a survivor of Nazi death camps at Auschwitz and Dachau. On page 154 of his book, Frankel encapsulated his perception of the meaning of life, ..."Man is not fully conditioned and determined but rather determines himself whether he gives in to conditions or stands up to them. In other words, man is ultimately self-determined. Man does not simply exists but always decides what his existence will be, what he will become in the next moment"...Thus the meaning of life for Frankel expresses itself from man's innate capacity for self-determination. What is not made clear from Fankel's above perception or perhaps it was implied, is where the capacity of self-determination originates? The answer is, it originates from our self-awareness.
Since we are sentient beings our lived lives are exposed to us every moment. We see, hear, smell, and touch our lives. It is like a continuous life-long movie, where we are the producer, director, actor, and audience or more accurately, the watcher. It is the fire of self-awareness that allows us to see our nakedness, to learn from our experiences, to extract general insights and understandings, to create wisdom, and where from meaning to our lives. This self-awareness process that extracts meaning from our lived experiences could be termed an "elemental imperative." The human race, from its origin has continuously searched, discovered, and added to its meaning. For instance, twenty five hundred years ago Gautama the Buddha had put on all the spiritual practices and techniques of his time and found them unsatisfactory. A bit despondent he sat under a Banyan Tree, determined not to get up until he became enlightened, and as the saying goes, "The rest is history." As part of our human heritage, the Buddha left an accessible and simple pathway for all truth seekers to find meaning and value in their lives. At the ancient Greek Temple of Apollo, at Delphi, over the door entrance was a crosspiece carved with the phrase, Gnothi Seauton, "Man! know thyself." The phrase was meant as an admonition and as a reminder to all that entered, that within the structure and operations of their own being lie universal principles of life. Thus humans have an ancient heritage of not only searching for the meaning of life, but also finding the meaning of life.
There is an ancient world view from India that relates a time, millions of years ago, where the gods walked the Earth among nascent mankind. The gods instructed mankind in principles of life, science, and the arts. Then when it was time for the gods to leave, they took the highest developed members of mankind and trained them to be the keepers of what is called the Mystery Schools. The Schools were meant to be the crucibles of the cosmic truths taught by the gods to fledgling mankind, and through a strict initiation process were meant to establish a trough of truth to feed evolving mankind. Some of the truths have been, over the millennia, let out through masters teachers, especially in periods of darkness, to act as beacons of light for struggling mankind. Some of the truths remain within the Mystery Schools, even today, to be let out as necessary to aid humans unfold their spiritual evolution, but to those humans whose desire for truth is unwavering, whose hearts are pure, and whose minds are highly trained these teachings are available in full.
When studied comparatively and comprehensively, those truths that have been let out compose the basis for understanding the origin, nature, purpose, and destiny of our lives. There is however, a caveat. The ancient teachings are conceptually difficult to understand, owing in part to their universal nature, and their web of interconnections and interrelationships. It is best to remember that the universal nature of these teachings relates and reflects the same universal nature at the core of each human. Therefore, by simply affirming one's own universal nature one will open a contact point to begin to comprehend these wondrous and most satisfying teachings. However, this opening is gained by pressing through the present thought forms or mind molds of our own minds These mind molds have been caste there and habituated by an intense exposure to our system of education (see blog on education in archives), our cultural customs and mores, and our religious and spiritual beliefs. Changing these mind molds is not an easy task. It is some what analogous to changing directions while driving automobile, tremendous force and energy must be brought under control before the directional change can be made. It is difficult, but not beyond the capacity of ordinary humans like you and me. There is another necessary step of preparation, and that is in considering the idea of, "expectations." These teachings are so vast they touch the outer reaches of our Home Galaxy, and the smallest particle of our earth.
Exploring such a vast body of wisdom it is best not to expect any final understanding or definition, as we are accustom to expect from our traditional educational system. Thus to know such teachings on one level is vital, but a relatively small step in an ever progressive advancement towards the truth. One last word, I promise, these teachings are not just for intellectual viewing, but are meant to be put on and practiced. They are intimately wrapper around the highest ethical principles and conduct.
Here is a list of some of the teachings let out as a part of our human heritage"
- Composite organization of all beings and entities
- Indwelling consciousness of all systems, entities, and beings
- Karma and reincarnation
- Cyclical revolving of all things
- Hierarchical arrangement of all things
- Innate characteristics of all things