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In our previous issue we asked you to take a few minutes to reflect upon the nature of your spiritual practices over the years and to assess if you have derived the results from them which either they promised or you were expecting. Three points were provided. These were:
- To consider that only in and through physical life is enlightenment possible.
- Only when we take refuge, or learn to rely upon our own inner self, can we be said to be on the Path of Return, the Way of Initiation.
- We often lose track of what it is we want to accomplish with our life; as a result, the problems we encounter are guides pointing us in the direction of what we need to focus on.
In the closing paragraph it was stated:
You must spend time with these meditation points and questions, and write down your findings. These answers are not random or arbitrary; they are the “coordinates” locating you in your present experience. As with planning any journey, you must know where you are in order to most effectively plot a course for your consciously chosen destination. With this information, we will continue in the next essay to determine how to get the most we can out of our individual lives, and from that, how to achieve the fullest realization of self: that which we call “enlightenment.”
We must know where we are if we are to plot our next steps on the Path in a direction that will take us where we want to go, to accomplish what we want to achieve. It is easy enough to use ancient terminology to describe the human condition (“The Fall”) or to say we “Wander in the Wilderness” or through “The Forest of Errors.” But what does any of that really mean? How does that show up in my life right now in a manner I can recognize and with which I can begin to do something to change the direction of my life?
When Alfred DeStefano read the last issue and inserted the above paragraph, he said to me, “I know what you mean, but felt this made it more concrete.” He was correct, and his precise use of the word “coordinates” makes it even more precise, because if we use the combined metaphor of the Tree of Life as a “map of human consciousness” with ourselves as “wandering in the Forrest of Errors,” then to read the map correctly we need to know where we are now in time and space.
It is not sufficient to simply say – in some obtuse kabbalistic language – that we are here in the material world, or on “Malkuth,” or something equally vague. That is like calling a friend for a ride and saying only: “I am in New York – can you come pick me up?” Because at some point, it comes down to that: a very specific point you call your life, and those coordinates may overlap with others, but they are not the same. So: what are your coordinates? Where are you in life? Are you where you want to be? Are you happy? Are your spiritual or self-improvement exercises bringing you the results you are after?
“X” Marks the Spot
Your answers to these questions are critical; even more important is your ability to bridge the gap between your goals and actual results. If we wait too long to focus on and achieve our goals, we run the risk of them being unachievable simply as a function of the passing of time. There are always a few exceptions to the rule, but it is better to learn and follow the rules early and often rather than hoping to be the rare outsider that beats the odds.
For example, I often tell people that, without being independently wealthy, at the age of 50 it is easier to become a U. S. Senator or even President of the United States than it is a medical doctor. Anyone entering medical school over forty (and possibly younger) is wasting their resources, as they will be entering their career at a time when many are preparing to leave theirs. Time is not on our side.
So, are you where you want to be in your life, and if not, why not? Do you even know where it is you want to be? If you are not sure, then the answer is simple: what will make you happy? What do you need to do to be happy?
Remember, the Four Aims in Life are: health, wealth, happiness, and wisdom.
We start with happiness, as that is our most powerful motivator, and move backwards from there. Lack of happiness causes us to fail to take care of our health, to dissipate our wealth, and, as a result, we make some very unwise decisions that have a cumulative effect on our life, pushing us further from our goals.
So, what is it that you want, and why have you not achieved it yet? If you have achieved it, what is your next goal, the next step?
We often put off activities because we think we will not have enough time, but in the end we often waste time as we try to hurry up and rush through it. Other instances have us putting things off because we do not consider them important, such as saving money for a rainy day or investing it. We allow our fleeting emotional need for some temporary sense of satisfaction to win out, and end up spending money we either do not have, or that we have but could be using all or part of for the achievement of a long-term goal. …
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