'Freedays' are the 'gather our thoughts' days; Q&As; a general page reviewing the week so far…
There was a comment made on Saturday's post which revealed a sense of 'ache'. Of course, in a sentence of few words it is possible that this was not the intention, but nevertheless, the impression received was like that of many other similar statements heard over the years and as there has been no rebuttal of the response made, this was probably a fair assumption.
It boils down to this; how is it that in a world where such atrocities as the recent Paris bombing occur, one can maintain any sense of balance and optimism? How does one continue to see the beauty? Bringing it down to personal level, how does one deal with the barbs of life?
As so often happens, there is some degree of synchronicity to when this point arose and the arrival of this week's "Choose-day" post, where almost exactly the guidance required is given. Naturally it is given from the Vedantic standpoint, but within that it is understood that ALL ancient wisdom is worth the mining for the gems of living life rightly, more freely and with a sense of joy. This happens more and more… the asking of a question or the raising of a doubt, when studying Vedanta; more and more the answers come. These in turn will often engender further enquiry and so it goes. This is exactly how we build knowledge and understanding.
Here at Aatmaavrajanam, Advaita Vedanta is the key subject because, after much exploration by this roaming soul, it has proven its worth. Not by sitting within its texts, but by it being taken out and put into practice. You will hear/read this again and again! In the same way that we are always going to begin that diet, begin that physical exercise regime, (plug in here all the 'I am gonnas' which pertain to you), we know that there is a need for spiritual growth but we find all the reasons not to make proper efforts in that direction.
Certainly, if we surrender ourselves to the ocean it will drown us. Even the strongest of swimmers can only keep head above water for so long. More educated, more prepared sailors, though, have survival equipment with them and even if one bit fails there are other things to kick into place in order to ensure coming upon dry land again.
In Sanskrit tradition, Life is seen as an ocean, the 'water' being all the events which take place, all the joys and sorrows are the crests and troughs of the waves. This ocean of strife is called as संसार/samsaara. It is a thing to fear, no doubt about it! If, though, one has ensured one's boat is well built, is well supplied and well equipped, there is a greater likelihood of reaching the 'other shore' (death) in good shape. The ocean will always be the ocean. Life is life. The 'world' will always do what it does. What makes the difference is how we have prepared ourselves and how we meet all the challenges and share all the joys. The spirit of the world which the commenter so lamented as being less, is but a reflection of the individual who is perceiving it. (Refer the posts on how Karma informs this and how Experience is constructed.)
This is not to belittle great tragedy, neither is it to make excess of good news. One wonderful remark overheard from an interview of a French spokesperson following the Paris attack, was that so many (in media especially) were looking for scapegoats politically, but that "we the French people must not to blame the political class, remember that they are only an emanation of us, The People [for we voted them in], and it is important that we now face the questions individually…"
This is NOT a political blog, however, this interviewee was very impressive when faced with some harsh and manipulative questioning, showing poise, intelligence and a clear understanding of priorities. The very epitome of preparedness and a prime example of how, even at such times, if one 'keeps one's head' and works from the highest intellectual base, it is possible to move on. It matters not which particular Philosophy/value structure one takes up, the important thing is that there has to be a scaffold to which we can cling - all capital 'P' philosophy tells us the same thing. Be it Sanskrit, Greek, Chinese, Roman; Philosophy is the practice of rational thought given validity through application. So many people are adrift in today's world with their spirits unattached to any scaffold. What happens then is they try to build their own from whatever floats by. This either costs a lot of money - the 'new age' is just ancient wisdom being rediscovered, usually to another's financial benefit - or sinks without trace. Sects arise and create havoc, eventually to fall away. More and more methods of escapism are sought.
The 'freeways' of the spirit; within all the major religions lies a path of 'Knowledge' and all of these say essentially the same thing. Individuals must take self-responsibility; this leads to a self-responsible society, a truly compassionate entity; this in turn can reflect up to the nation and so on. To truly cope with the experiences which come your way, you must know yourself inside and out.
The following video came to attention (another of those synchronicities!) and fits right in to this post. An entertaining talk in its own right, the important message is the benefit to be gained from listening to/reading the ancient wisdom. Balance can be found. The spirit of 'the world' is but an emanation of the people within it. The more of us who take self-responsibility, the more who will be available to give buoyancy to those who have yet to find a raft.