Understanding and tolerance of other cultures is not a weakness, not a sign of inadequate patriotism, not an indication that we are rootless “citizens of nowhere.” In reality, it reflects our preparation for the world of tomorrow, where we will become ever more mixed as peoples, even as we study, value, and preserve our collective cultural heritage.
Enlightenment is not something that occurs in the future, after 50 years of sitting cross-legged and saying “OM.” It is right here, in this instant.
We all have a life, but we are not always aware of how precious it is. And we all have an ego, but we do not always take enough responsibility for it. Our sufferings, or our doomed attempts to avoid them, all too often keep us mired in obsessive attachment, greed, worry, or despair.
An aged Chinese monk, despairing at never having reached enlightenment, asks permission to go to an isolated cave to make one final attempt at realization. Taking his robes, his begging bowl, and a few possessions, he heads out on foot into the mountains.
A Sense of Meaning
One of the most inspirational people I have ever known is Viktor Frankl, the Austrian psychiatrist who was imprisoned in the death camps of Nazi Germany in World War II. He was a scientist. He was terribly inquisitive and understood scientific methodology, and he wondered what enabled some of the prisoners who were subject to such terrible treatment in the death camps to survive. He studied the survivors and attempted to understand what enabled these people to survive, unlike the hundreds of thousands who perished. Was it their physical health? He found physical health to be secondary. Was it their survival skills? Secondary. Was it their intelligence? Secondary. He explored every alternative hypothesis. He finally concluded they were all secondary factors.
Accept that you are confused. Accept the uncertainty, embrace the mystery, and love the part of you that doesn’t understand.
If we come to a place where we find peace in not knowing why something has happened, yet we know that it inevitably is making us stronger, happier, clearer or raising us to new levels of understanding, we are able to navigate through situations with a much happier outlook.
வருகின்ற புயல் – Gathering Storm
– Painting in Oils by Jayalakshmi Satyendra –
“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”
~ Haruki Murakami
God – the great Self in you – is your help and guide in all matters. In accordance with His command, pursue any path which He prompts you to. All power, strength and wisdom are within you, because the great Self who is all these is your true being. He will see that your life is a magnificent success.
– Swami Ramdas