“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” This is a mystical saying attributed to the semi-legendary figure of Lao Tzu, reputedly the author of the Tao Te Ching, and considered the nominal founder of Taoism.We have been exploring the fundamental questions of existence. We began with the question of fundamental nature: “Who are you?” Then we continued with the question of origin and purpose, “Why are you here?” Now let us study the question of destiny and finality: “Where are you going?”
We have seen how the forms in nature are evolving into more complex forms, hierarchy by hierarchy. This process pervades the entire universe. And while matter is the outer form or clothing of this process, it is the evolution of consciousness which is the engine that drives it.
There have been many allegories of this process. Some mystical writers compare life on earth in particular and life in the universe in general to a school. In this allegory, all beings are enrolled in some kind of school where skills are gained, lessons are learned and insights assimilated. In mystical Hindu philosophy, the tempering forces are called karma, dharma and samsara, among others. When a particular insight is learned, developing beings go on to the next level, where there are fresh lessons and new insights. Another allegory worth considering is that of a pilgrimage or a journey. In this particular allegory, the beings of the universe are on a grand adventure. The goal is perfection in evolution as well as the joy of exploration. I find this allegory to be a perfect educational tool for aspirants in the spiritual path.
From the point of view of a single individual, life is so complex with its attendant problems and vicissitudes. Anyone can be overwhelmed by the sheer complexity of it all. Yet, all the great spiritual traditions of mankind have maintained that life has a purpose far more magnificent than our mundane existence. The trick is to discover the higher meaning of life. For this, all spiritual aspirants since time immemorial have been challenged to open their eyes to the wider world.
Expand your Consciousness
Inquire more. Reflect more. Contemplate more. Meditate more. Discover more perspectives. Get out of your shell, psychologically speaking. As the forms of the universe evolve into higher and higher modes of expression, so you too are invited in the great banquet of eternity. We have seen previously how the forms of life seek to produce more wholes, each more complex than the preceding one. In the same way, the journey of evolution is a pilgrimage of wholes. Let us see how this journey plays in the dance of the universe. Reflect very deeply as we essay the next few statements.
You are a whole.
Yet, you are incomplete.
This incompleteness is not your fault (paradigm shift in Western religious thought). Rather, it is the product of inexperience. Why is this so?
As you have journeyed in the planes of existence, you have assimilated experiences from your own perspective. Since you are a fragment of the greater whole, this perspective is necessarily incomplete. You can gain a better understanding of the infinite universe by increasing the quantity of your travels in awareness. This means experiencing more of the whole from your vantage point. More lives. More experiences. Thus, the wheel of time, the cycle of reincarnation.
Meanwhile, you are a whole that seeks to enhance its wholeness. You seek perfection, but think it unattainable. Well, good news, your lower mind cannot attain perfection by itself. It must use other weapons at its disposal; some of which are known only to the Collective Unconscious. Waiting to be discovered, of course.
You are a whole.
Yet, you are incomplete. A fragment of the Greater Whole.
And this is the reason why there is a pilgrimage.
You are bound to evolve, into greater and greater Wholes.
Your coherence increases as your pilgrimage deepens.
Your capacity to process information shall increase!
And you shall evolve, more and more, expanding higher and higher!
Let me conclude by offering this saying of Teilhard de Chardin for contemplation:
“We are not human beings on a spiritual journey; we are spiritual beings on a human journey.”
Read parts one and two: