Joy’s physical support system had crumbled again, and the way ahead in her life remained blocked. Gino, who shared Joy’s need for a subtle balance between movement and stability, recognised her struggle. “Remember that you can find strength from spiritual sources,” he said to her compassionately in one of her moments of deep disorientation. “You yourself have told me that the physical is transitory. When your exoteric support structures have disappeared, you can access your power from the esoteric.”
Although Gino’s words revealed no new perspective to Joy, they greatly aided her to find a point of balance. Gino was aware of the subtle dimensions of life. His support was crucial to her because he was able to advise and encourage her without dragging her back under the veil of illusion.
Joy found her breakdown hard to accept because she had believed that she’d learned to hold the high ground over her emotions in any situation. Instead, she discovered that the vicissitudes of life were still able to provoke bitterness and depression in her. Maybe breakdowns are always a part of life? Perhaps what’s important is how we respond to them? Joy was aware that even in the depths of this current crisis a feeling of purpose lay just below the surface of her gloom. She recognised that her faith was growing stronger, enabling her to reorient herself more quickly after a breakdown than in her younger years. Continue reading →
For young people, it’s easy to project hopes into the future because time is on youth’s side. However, as we get older, the future has less appeal, perhaps, because it also means aging with the health concerns and psychological challenges that might entail. For this reason, it’s more important than ever to find a way of feeling hope in the present, even if we have a need that’s unmet, maybe one that’s been unmet for a long time already. So how can we feel hope and fulfilment in such circumstances?
One technique – from what I label the way of the warrior because it requires copious amounts of courage – is to walk on the fire of the emptiness of your unmet need i.e. to look your need square in the face. A pitfall to be aware of is the unconscious act of projecting your needs onto a person or thing as a way of finding relief when a need is being unmet. Projection oftentimes sooner or later brings suffering, when/if the person or thing identified as filling the need does not in fact do so, and this truth eventually becomes undeniable and has to be acknowledged. Continue reading →
It’s important to distinguish between ego-oriented personality will, which I deem to be synonymous with desire, and the transrational (spiritual) will. In short, will and desire aren’t the same thing. Sometimes, it might seem we’re unable to manifest into physical reality the people, events or things we believe we need in order to feel fulfilled. However, this apparent stagnation might well be symptomatic of a disconnect between our ego desires and the will of our transrational self. This transrational will is an inner drive, which we unconsciously or consciously feel, that urges us to move ever forwards, to continue searching for our existential purpose and field of service. Continue reading →
Albert Schweitzer starts off my mini-series of “Inspirational Human Beings”.
Albert Schweitzer’s worldview, conceptualised as “Reverence for Life”, is composed of three elements: (i) resignation, (ii) an affirmative attitude to life, (iii) ethics.
“The world does not consist of phenomena only; it is also alive. […] In dedicating myself to the service of whatever lives, I find an activity that has meaning and purpose. […] By playing an active role, man enters into a spiritual relationship with this world that is quite different: he does not see his existence in isolation. On the contrary, he is united with the lives that surround him; he experiences the destinies of others as his own.”
(Sources: Schweitzer, A. (1998) Out of My Life and Thought. The John Hopkins University Press: Baltimore & London, pp.232-233; Photo c/o International Albert-Schweitzer-Association – http://www.schweitzer.org)