Chapter One – Self Discovery
Ever since man has been aware of his own existence, he has asked, “Why am I here?” Since I was a young child, I have asked the same question. In search of an answer, I have studied many religions, philosophies, and cultures. Some suggest that we are merely toys of a “Supreme Being,” being played out like a game of chess. Others say we are here by chance. Many believe we exist in an organized universe, while others believe our universe is chaotic and grows unpredictably. Some live day to day believing the purpose of life is not meant to be known until the body dies. Some just accept a meaningless existence, believing that we are here for a limited time, and when the body dies, there is simply nothing left.
Although we have learned what we know from others, we each have the ability to accept or deny the information we receive. No one can convince us of a truth we do not wish to believe. I have chosen to share my thoughts and feelings with you, not to persuade or convince you to adopt my beliefs, but to offer them as possibilities. You might choose to do as I have done with the books I have read—incorporate what feels right to you to develop your own spiritual truth.
Believe nothing, no matter where you read it or who said it no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.
I do not claim to have original thoughts or ideas about life. Perhaps all truths have already been expressed. Even the great masters, prophets, shamans, and philosophers have shared insights that sound very much the same. Did one teach the rest? Perhaps they expressed similar thoughts because they observed the same truth. There is only one truth. Every individual has a different perspective from which to experience it. As we learn to be more observant, our vantage points improve. I can only speak of my experience and my vision. When I first started to write, I wondered why anyone would care what I think or what made me different from anyone else. After I discovered my purpose in life, I realized I did have something very special to offer anyone looking for happiness.
So, why am I here? Writing this book has helped me to answer that question for myself. I don’t claim to be a prophet. I am by no means a saint or an angel. I am an ordinary guy with an extraordinary vision. I am offering my own revelations, as I understand them. I see a general purpose that we all share. I am also discovering my own unique purpose. Not only will I propose to you my understanding of the purpose for life on earth, I will tell you how I plan to achieve this purpose.
I have recorded many of the lessons I have learned in the form of poetry. It is a great pleasure to share these thoughts and experiences. First, I would like to offer a view of life from my present perspective. To help with this, I will share a famous quote from Pierre Teilhard-Dechardin:
We are not human beings
Having spiritual experiences.
We are spiritual beings
Having human experiences.
This one passage opened a whole new vista from which to see my life. This expression also inspired me to write the following poem, which, in turn, led to writing this book.
The Human Experience
We have created many vehicles
To transport us from one place to another.
However, there is one vehicle
Greater than any other.
A gift we were each born into,
Each body is as unique
As the spirit that lives inside.
We each experience differently
From the variety of opportunities
Our bodies provide.
A gift received without a warranty,
No one knows how long
They will wear their shell.
But time is not important,
As long as it’s worn well.
To make the most of the time we have,
Each in our own way,
Is all that we can do.
Nothing physical will ever see eternity,
This we know is true.
The experiences we share with others,
And even the lessons we learn alone,
Enrich our spirits with wisdom
That, without our bodies,
Never could be known.
Okay, now I have identified what I am—a spirit in a human shell. This does not tell me why I am here. What is the purpose of my human existence?
Finding purpose begins with self-discovery. To discover why we are here, first we need to better understand what we are. I refer to “we” as both a collective and each of us as an individual. Collectively, we are a family, a community, a nationality, a race, and a species. Individually, we are composed of three very unique components: body, mind, and spirit.
Our bodies are physical objects made of matter. Matter is anything that has mass and occupies volume. Albert Einstein’s “theory of relativity” led to many amazing discoveries, including the relationship of mass and energy. He explained that mass and energy are transmutable. We are familiar with the equation E= mc2. In physics, mass-energy equivalence is the concept that the mass of a body is a measure of its energy content. All physical objects are made of energy; therefore, we, our physical bodies, are made of energy. This is a scientific truth.
Because we are self-aware, we realize that we are more than our bodies. Psychology, the study of the mind, was considered to be a branch of philosophy until 1879, when it was developed as an independent scientific discipline in Germany and the United States. The mind is so mysterious it was considered to
There are forces we can detect but cannot see, for instance, wind. We can look outside a window and know that it is windy. We can see and even hear the effect the wind has on the trees and other objects. Wind itself cannot be seen or heard. Its effect on the environment is what we see and hear. If that example is too elementary, the same thinking is used in science for both the macrocosm of space and the microcosm of quantum physics. Quantum physics is essentially the study of atoms. Studying these tiny particles often requires a different process of observation. Sometimes it is necessary to measure the effects of particles by their interaction with other particles. Also, much of what we know about objects in space is the result of observing their effects on other objects. Planets and black holes have been discovered by the way light reacts with them. One hundred years ago, we could not prove they existed. Just because we cannot prove the spirit does not mean it does not exist. Perhaps someday science will advance to prove the existence of the human spirit. For now, we can have faith that the evidence we see and feel in our lives is assurance enough.
My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind.
Not only is our flesh made of energy, but the human body as a whole is a system of energy known as chi in eastern philosophy. Chi energy plays a major role in our human existence. Everything from our physical health to our emotional well being is related to this energy. The cycle of giving and receiving energy is a part of our everyday life. Sometimes this energy can be expressed as attention. When we give attention to someone, we are giving them energy. Depending on the type of attention we are giving, the energy can be positive or negative. Our physical bodies need energy from food, water, and oxygen. Our spirit bodies also need energy. Most people struggle to obtain energy from others. Receiving energy from others is primarily accomplished in two ways: positive attention or negative attention. From childhood, we learn to attract attention by trial and error. When a child learns to use the toilet, he or she is praised. This positive energy feels good. When he or she associates the joy of being praised with the act of using the toilet, the act is reinforced. If he or she is not praised for using the toilet, there is no motivation to do so. If the only attention he receives is disappointment or punishment for not using the toilet, then that energy is what he or she learns to attract. Positive energy is preferred, but in its absence, negative energy is accepted. As long as there is a source of positive energy available, the negative source will be avoided. If the negative energy is all that is available, behavioral patterns are developed to receive this energy instead. As we grow, we find other ways of getting energy. The universe is filled with limitless energy that we can each obtain. By learning to connect with this higher energy, we can become self-sufficient and not compete with others for theirs.
The cover of this book depicts an eye on the side of a pyramid surrounded by an electrically charged sphere. The image represents the three aspects of man: body, mind, and spirit. The gold pyramid is physical and solid. Its structure represents the body, while gold symbolizes material value and worth. Pyramids are considered one of the most durable man-made structures on Earth. It is seven levels high, one for each major chakra. Chakras are energy centers of the body. Chi energy travels through these chakras. Each chakra is associated with its own color and purpose. The seventh chakra is the base or root chakra. Located near the sacrum, it keeps us grounded. It is red. The sixth chakra is the spleen chakra. Located near the naval, it is the power chakra of the lower body—the physical/emotional self. It is orange. The fifth chakra is the solar plexus chakra. Located near the base of the breast bone, it is responsible for human emotion and ego. It is yellow. The fourth chakra is the heart chakra. Located at the heart, it is the love chakra. It is green. Separating the upper and lower body, it brings balance. It is also the threefold flame—love, wisdom, and power. This chakra can be used for healing. The third chakra is the throat chakra. Located near the Adam’s apple, it is the communication chakra. It is blue. It is the power chakra for the upper body—the mental/spiritual self. The second chakra is the third-eye chakra. Located in the center of the forehead, it is associated with wisdom. It is indigo or dark purple. The first is the crown chakra. Located at the top of the head, it is our connection to the higher self. It is violet.
The eye represents the mind. It is the door between body and soul. Like the eye, the mind works best when open. In the mind’s eye, all thoughts and emotions are created. Our mind, just as our other senses, allows us to observe others and our self. It also controls the body. Imagining our bodies as a vehicle, our mind is the driver. Our mind determines the condition of our bodies and the direction in which we will travel. It is in our mind where all work toward enlightenment or spiritual development begins. Until we understand this concept, no further improvements can be made in body or spirit.
The sphere represents the spirit that powers the body and mind. It is the soul, the higher self. It is pure energy. The soul has made a conscious choice to manifest itself physically in mind and body for the purpose of the human experience. Understanding and developing the connection to our higher self is a vital process in discovering and fulfilling our purpose.
Each of our three parts depends on the other two. It is a symbiotic relationship. When all three forms of self are in tune, each will perform optimally. Self-improvement requires work on all three levels. Our spiritual condition greatly affects our physical existence.
Our physical existence is more than our body and mind. We have all been born into a number of unique conditions. Each variation creates different opportunities from which to experience. Geography alone has a great effect on perspective. Geography can influence climate, nationality, religion, wealth, and health. All can play a role in our development. Individual characteristics such as race, gender, and family have more specific effects. Time can also play a role. We can have different experiences now than we could have one hundred years ago. Even a decade can make a difference. Who is to say one day could not make a difference? Each additional variable adds exponential possibilities of perception. Race and gender can offer very different opportunities, even more so in some nationalities and religions. Nothing influences our development more than the family into which we are born. Our families are a reflection of their families and society. Culture shapes our earthly being.
As our hierarchy of human needs is fulfilled, we develop self-awareness and the ability to choose who we are. What I am is a body, mind, and soul. Who I am is reflective of the choices that I make. Life is full of choices. We choose what we make out of life. We can choose happiness. Instead of finding blame or excuses for our situation, we can look for the best response to better ourselves. Accepting and understanding this concept is crucial before moving on with our growth as a person. This is where our quest begins.