There is a rare view of the human condition that comes to us from the wise ones of the various religious and spiritual traditions. Rare not because it’s scarce, but rather because it isn’t given much airtime in mainstream culture. More’s the pity. Ken Wilber, considered by many to be one of the great living perennial philosophers, provides valuable insights to those on quests. In Grace and Grit, a deeply personal odyssey, he weaves together his accumulated spiritual wisdom with his beloved wife’s journey toward death. He points out the universality of the mystical experience. “When you can find a truth that the Hindus and Christians and Buddhists and Taoists and Sufis all agree on, then you have probably found something that is profoundly important, something that tells you about universal truths and ultimate meanings, something that touches the very core of the human condition.” (p.79)
The following, according to Wilber, is the essence of what all these traditions agree upon:
One, Spirit exists, and
Two, Spirit is found within.
Three, most of us don’t realize this Spirit within, however, because we are living in a world of sin, separation and duality – that is, we are living in a fallen or illusory state.
Four, there is a way out of this fallen state of sin and illusion; there is a Path to our liberation.
Five, if we follow this Path to its conclusion, the result is a rebirth or Enlightenment, a direct experience of the Spirit within, a Supreme Liberation, which –
Six, marks the end of sin and suffering, and which,
Seven – issues in social action of mercy and compassion on behalf of all sentient beings. (p.79)
What if everything about you is already complete? Not finished, as such, just up-to-date. Perhaps the only exception to this completeness is your ‘ability to see it’ and then whatever actions may arise from this seeing.
What if the struggles and questions and strivings and discontent are what life’s about, designed to take you to a deeper place of knowing? Would understanding this make a difference in your life?
What if everything – I mean everything – that happened to you in your developmental years was exactly as it needed to be? What if we had a word for the bad stuff, such as karma? And a word for the good stuff, such as karma? And what if you chose all this stuff as the workplace for your deepening, the raw material for the development you’re not able to undertake until you get old enough to forge the sword of your consciousness? And what if this developmental work is precisely your intention in having a life?
What if it’s just a matter of time before all those bits of a life coalesce into a beautiful, coherent mosaic which brings such clarity of understanding that you’re spellbound with awe? What if this is the wondrousness of the near-death experiences that many describe? And what if we get glimpses of it earlier in life? What then? Early enough to be clearer in our judgements, committed to the greater good, and courageous enough to assert our convictions? Early enough not to let our material securities and fears overrule our deeper needs.
Would this knowledge make a difference? Could you live as a perennial philosopher?
I’ll leave you with the words of another wise one:
Thank God our time is now, when wrong Comes up to face us everywhere, Never to leave us ’til we take The longest stride of soul man ever took. Affairs are now soul size. The enterprise is exploration into God.
You can find out more about Garry’s work on his website: www.garrygilfoy.com or follow him on Facebook: Author Garry Gilfoy