Living in two worldsFinding the inner self is the only way to find happiness
Throughout the ages, we all have realised that we live in two worlds at the same time. I am not talking about cross-border trade or immigration or living in different parts of the world here. I want to talk about a deeper phenomenon. The two worlds I am mentioning are the physical outer world, and a deeper, inner spiritual world.
People split their time between living in the real world of everyday life and the mental world of self-thought that they create in their own minds. Living in this spiritual/inner world is so beautiful. There are no restrictions or attachments. But there is even more happiness if, instead of different kinds of self-thought, this inner journey can be converted into meditative thinking.
Why do so many today deny the existence of the spirit world? The main reason is that in recent centuries we have been taught to be physically oriented. In protest against the spirituality of the old ages, modern people have concentrated upon achieving happiness here and now. The problem is that in today’s world, we get so occupied by the physical outer world that we don’t spend enough time on the spiritual world within us. It is probably the hardest thing that any of us can do—trying to live a spiritual life in a material world.
We should realise that “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience”, as written by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, the visionary Jesuit priest, in the 20th century.
Consequently, nowadays, there has been a slow revival of interest in spiritual experience and mystical phenomena. Many people now realise the value of opening up their inner senses and extending their range of perception. This new quest for spirituality uncovers dimensions of reality previously known only by a few seers and psychics.
The self-aware animal
The human being is the only animal who has the capability of being self aware. A lot of research done so far suggests that other animals do not have the capacity to think about themselves as human beings do. The benefits of having a self (such as planning, introspection, and self-evaluation) has led to the greatest human achievements but also has lead to the greatest human problems.
So in today’s world where people are surrounded by problems, aggression, ego, dissatisfaction etc., trying to know the inner self or consciousness is the only way to find true happiness. It will be so good if the time we spend in our inner world thinking about so many useless things can be converted into the practice of meditation every day, which can lead to an overall healthier physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual life. It helps us to make a conscious choice and enhances our ability to deal with daily situations.
The view one holds towards different religions does not matter when trying to know one’s inner self or when living in this spirit world. Any human being must allocate some time from their busy daily lives to be quiet, to be with themself, to be with nature, and to live in the spiritual world.
An abundance of negative issues prevail in our society, whether in terms of the corruption of corporations or government, domestic violence, cheating, or bullying in school and at work. Isn’t it time we turned our minds and hearts back to the pillar that is the foundation of everything that we are?
Bringing out the best in two
We are more than just physical, intellectual and social beings. Our mind is designed to direct and control the body. Similarly, the spiritual world is supposed to use the physical world to achieve its higher goals. The physical plane and the spiritual plane rely on each other for support; one suffers if the other is neglected. The visible world cannot actualise its true value unless it forms a positive continuing relationship with the spirit world. Those who live only in the physical world of facts can only live a meaningless life.
This world is beautiful, but the spiritual world is even more beautiful. In our deepest moments, we long to be more loving, wise and beautiful. The spirit world provides an opportunity to satisfy our aspirations. Therefore, it is necessary to find a balance between the two worlds and not to ignore any one of them if we want to live a successful and peaceful life and build a peaceful society.
Mainali is Section Officer for the South Asia Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Singha Durba