Ideas and their manifestation through words, in and of themselves just add to the general chaos of life, but because of their affinity to the human mind exert a force comparable to the total force wrapped up in the Universe. It is ideas merged with the intent of human minds that make, unmake, and shake our world; ideas that once set loose have the capacity 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 attraction, and persuade the minds of millions of humans, for good or ill. When an idea’s time has come for manifestation, …”man, and mote, and star, and sun, must range to it or be pulverized by the recoil”… (Emerson). It was 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, and into a higher spiritual consciousness. It was ideas of superiority and dominance seeded and cultivated by the mind of Hitler that launched our globe into World WarII.
As I review my life, I have found three consistent ideas that serve to motivate, direct, and anchor my life. The first idea comes from a phrase used by the ancient Greek oracles, “Man, know thyself,” the second comes from the Buddha’s entreatment to live an examined life, and the third, comes from the theme of the Bhagavad-Gita, devotion. Three simple ideas, “know thyself,” “live an examined life,” and “devotion.” Words so simple yet so engaging that they continually inspire me, and so dense with wisdom that they serve as a 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. The idea of knowing one’s self has found 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, the 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 be aware of all my experiences. 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 at you.” What is looking at you is your Higher Self; the divine aspect of your being. This Self is the Watcher that you first recognize as an inner voice of an advisor, bringing good counsel. A Watcher that you begin to rely upon, over the course of time, as a friend and companion, and then becomes your beloved friend. And finally, you discover that this beloved friend is your true essence. You are it, and It is you. In the Bhagavad-Gita, recession by, William Q. Judge, chapter 11, Arjuna, just having seen Krishna in his partial divine form says, …”Having been ignorant of thy majesty, I took thee for a friend, and have called thee ‘Oh Krishna, O son of Yade, ‘O friend, and blinded by my affection and presumptions, I have at times treated thee without respect in sport, 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 be perceived and which even the gods are always anxious to behold. But I am not to be seen, even as I have myself to thee, by the study of the “Vades,” nor by mortification, nor by alms giving, nor sacrifices. I am to be approached and seen and known in truth by means of that devotion which has me as an 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 Pandu.”
It is from the close examination of my life that has lead me to become acquainted with the voice of the Watcher within, and to recognize that voice as my Higher Self. My third idea of devotion takes root in that recognition of my Higher Self. Even though my recognition of the divine within comes nowhere near Arjuna’s revelation of Krishna’s glory and even though my acts are involved in faults and failure, I recognize the Truth. And in striving towards Truth as a goal worthy of fixed devotion I am provided with an ultimate goal, and with an infinite source of hope.
There is a Hindu or could be a Sanskrit word, “Namaste” that is use as a salutation, which means, the divine in me, recognizes and acknowledges, the divine in you.