Ideas and their manifestation in words, in and of themselves, just add to the general chaos, but because of their affinity to the human mind exert a potential force comparable to the total force wrapped up in our solar system. It is ideas merged with the intent of humans that make, unmake, and shake our world; ideas that once set loose have a potential to shape and determine present and future realities. They can fizzle and sputter and eventually die out or can, like a giant magnet, create a great field of influence, and attract and persuade the minds of millions of humans. It was the ideas of compassion and forgiveness seeded and cultivated by the mind of the Buddha and the Christ that lifted the hearts and minds of men and women out of spiritual depression and inertia, into a higher spiritual awareness. It was ideas of superiority and dominance seeded and cultivated by the mind of Hitler that launched our globe into war.
As I trace my life, I found three simple ideas that serve to motivate, direct and, anchor my life. The first idea comes from a phrase used by the ancient Creek Oracles, "Man know thyself." The second comes from the Buddha's entreatment to live an examined life. The third comes from the theme of the "Bhagavad-Gita," devotion. Words so simple yet so engaging that they continually inspire me, and so dense with wisdom that they serve as the fountainhead for the unveiling of the mysteries of life.
The moment I read the phrase, "Man know thyself," my soul stirred, and I immediately knew that I would embark on an adventure of self-discovery. I can trace the sequence of self-discovery from strategies of economic self-improvement, to a deeper psychological self-discernment, to a conscious spiritual encounter and connection, all stepping stones on the pathway to an ever-expanding consciousness. This idea of knowing one's self has found a resonance in the deepest region of my soul, and has become a living imperative. As was said by Krishna to Arjuna in the Bhagavad-Gita, ..."the principles of thy nature will impel thee to engage."
The igniting of my inner motivation towards self-discovery was augmented by the second important idea in my life. Buddha's entreatment to live an examined life. While the idea of knowing thyself pinpointed the subject of study, the idea of living an examined life showed me how to study. To examine one's life means to be aware of all the experiences occurring in life, awake or asleep, and relating them causally back to one's self. This requires a conscious connection of the self to the self. It is as St. Francis of Assisi, said, 'What you are looking for is what is looking back at you." What is looking at you is the Self, the divine aspect within your being. This Self is a seer, a watcher that you first recognize as an adviser, bringing good counsel, a watcher that you begin to rely upon over a course of time and believe is your friend, and then becomes your beloved friend. And finally you discover that this beloved friend is in part your true essence. you are it and it is you. In the Bhagavad-Gita, recension by, William Q. Judge, Chapter 11, Arjuna just having seen Krishna in his full divine form says, "Having been ignorant of thy majesty, I took thee for a friend, and have called thee 'O Krishna, O son of Yadu, O' Friend, and blinded by my affection and presumption, I have at times treated thee without respect in sport, in recreation, in repose, in thy chair, and at meals, in private, and in public; all this I beseech thee, O inconceivable Being, to forgive." Arjuna is illuminated by his divine quality, understands Its source, and humbly surrenders to It. Krishna responds, "Thou hast seen this form of mine which is difficult to behold. But I am not to be seen, even as I have shown myself to thee, by the study of the Vades, nor by mortification, nor alms giving, nor sacrifices. I am to be approached and seen and known in truth by means of that devotion which has me as the object. He whose actions are for me alone, who esteemeth me the supreme goal, who is my servant only, without attachment to the results of action and free from enmity towards any creature, cometh to me, O son of Panda."
It is from the close examination of my life that has lead me to become acquainted with the voice or watcher within and recognition of my higher self. Even though my recognition of the divine within comes no were near
Arjuna's revelation of Krishna's full glory, and even though my acts are involved in faults and failures, I recognize the truth. And in striving towards that truth as an object worthy of devotion I am provided with an ultimate goal, and with an infinite source of hope.
Although the above three ideas serve as a continuous source of inspiration and as a spiritual beacon on my path, the walking stick that I rely upon is the study of the great ideas coming from the God-Wisdom. The doctrines of the Ancient Wisdom are the mortar around which my life is supported. They provide me with a point of view from my spirit, and an universal perspective that brings guidance and meaning to all of my experiences. The doctrines of that Wisdom provides boundless opportunity to stretch the capability of my knowledge to an infinite level.