It’s the age old question. What is our purpose in life? When you think about it the answer is simple enough. Just live the life that you have. Then of course the obvious question is – ‘But how do I live that life’?
For some the answer is a life of devotion, a life devoted wholly to a spiritual path. For others it is a hedonistic rollercoaster ride where they immerse themselves totally in everything that this material world has to offer. Some people live their life in absolute service to others; whilst others take without a thought for their brothers, sisters and the planet they live on. A few bury themselves away in caves whilst many cannot live without at least a thousand friends on Facebook. Some sacrifice themselves physically and mentally while others breeze through a carefree existence. One person creates and another destroys.
Which is right? All and none…
There are six key aspects that a soul must experience before it can fully integrate back into its Group-Soul (Entity).
If we live our life totally dedicated to one of these aspects then at some point we will need to reincarnate again to experience the others. There is no escaping this process; it is a necessary part of existing in this universe. It’s difficult, but not impossible; to pass through all these stages in one material/ethereal existence and when you look at the life of say Christ you can see that he managed to encompass all of these aspects into his.
The tarot Major Arcana leads us through this story of mortal life with key cards pointing the way towards the completion of a full cycle of experience. It is only when you have walked in all these shoes that you gain the Sages wisdom, the compassion to love all and the certainty of the eternal progress in the hereafter.
(The six aspects can be found in “Beyond Human Personality” by Geraldine Cummins – as dictated to her, in automatic writing, by the late Frederic W H Myers.)
Student – (The Magician Card) – Christ’s early travels throughout the East
We are all students of life. The mistake that you can make in life is to forget that you just never ever finish your education. Where conventional knowledge ends; so begins the Mystery Schools. Until the day that you finally merge with the source of all knowledge, then there will always be some truth that eludes you. It is incumbent on you to seek that truth, wherever it can be found. No one can tell you what is true, you need to search for that yourself and only your truth, the truth that makes you light up, is relevant. There are pointers to the truth, signposts on the paths that we all follow. Your job is to notice them, to garner the facts, collate the knowledge and assimilate it into your own current beliefs. If it doesn’t fit then either it isn’t true or your beliefs are wrong. Like a mathematician – always question both sides of the equation.
“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” ― Confucius
“The possession of knowledge does not kill the sense of wonder and mystery. There is always more mystery.”― Anaïs Nin
Solitude – (The Hermit Card) – 40 Days in the wilderness
“No man is an island, entire of itself.” – John Donne
This is true, but there are times when you need to be alone. You need to discover who you are and that’s impossible when you are so mashed up in other people’s lives. You can get so caught up in their moments that you lose sight of your own NOW.
Sometimes you just need to withdraw from life for a bit. I’m not saying that you need to live in a cave for the rest of your life or spend 40 days on the wilderness like Jesus. However, you can make time for yourself without compromising your relationships and your commitments in life. If you are loved then they will understand when you explain that you have a need to retreat for some reflection. Learn to enjoy your own company without any external distractions. You need to look at the light and the dark inside yourself and be able to live contentedly with both sides of your psyche. This isn’t a matter of fighting your demons. We’re not talking about some scene from The Exorcist here. You can’t destroy any part of your psyche but you can understand it. Understand the black and the white so well that they lose their control over your life. This is true freedom.
“Therefore, dear Sir, love your solitude and try to sing out with the pain it causes you. For those who are near you are far away… and this shows that the space around you is beginning to grow vast…. be happy about your growth, in which of course you can’t take anyone with you, and be gentle with those who stay behind; be confident and calm in front of them and don’t torment them with your doubts and don’t frighten them with your faith or joy, which they wouldn’t be able to comprehend. Seek out some simple and true feeling of what you have in common with them, which doesn’t necessarily have to alter when you yourself change again and again; when you see them, love life in a form that is not your own and be indulgent toward those who are growing old, who are afraid of the aloneness that you trust…. and don’t expect any understanding; but believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance, and have faith that in this love there is a strength and a blessing so large that you can travel as far as you wish without having to step outside it.” ― Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet
Hedonist – (The Lovers Card) – Feasts and Anointments
Do you have to shun the pleasures of life in order to reach heaven? – Not at all. The Tarot card ‘Temperance’ is the key to enjoying all pleasure that Earth has to offer us; without losing your way. ‘All things in moderation’ has always been the advice from countless gurus across every civilisation. The interesting thing is that even Jesus knew how to love life; he did not restrict access to the pleasure found in it. After all these are gifts from God so how can they be wrong. They are only wrong when they are abused and they no longer honour the giver. He could have made do with water but he preferred to have wine. Sometimes a glass of wine with your friends is what makes this life worth living. Obviously, with every pleasure in life there is an element of personal responsibility involved in its use.
Jesus did not restrict his circle of friends. He was known for associating with prostitutes, taxmen, thieves and beggars. Is it hedonistic and wrong to have your feet anointed by ‘a sinful woman’ (Luke 7:36-50). If you are worried about damming your soul to hell then find your hedonistic joy in giving. Revel in the gifts from ‘All That Is’ and share that joy with others.
“How many ills, how many infirmities, does man owe to his excesses, his ambition – in a word, to the indulgence of his various passions! He who should live soberly in all respects, who should never run into excesses of any kind, who should be always simple in his tastes, modest in his desires, would escape a large proportion of the tribulations of human life. It is the same with regard to spirit-life, the sufferings of which are always the consequence of the manner in which a spirit has lived upon the earth. In that life undoubtedly he will no longer suffer from gout or rheumatism; but his wrong-doing down here will cause him to experience other sufferings no less painful. We have seen that those sufferings are the result of the links which exist between a spirit and matter; that the more completely he is freed from the influence of matter – in other words, the more dematerialized he is – the fewer are the painful sensations experienced by him. It depends, therefore, on each of us to free ourselves from the influence of matter by our action in this present life. Man possesses free-will, and, consequently, the power of electing to do or not to do. Let him conquer his animal passions; let him rid himself of hatred, envy, jealousy, pride; let him throw off the yoke of selfishness; let him purify his soul by cultivating noble sentiments; let him do good; let him attach to the things of this world only the degree of importance which they deserve – and he will, even under his present corporeal envelope, have affected his purification, and achieved his deliverance from the influence of matter, which will cease for him on his quitting that envelope. For such a one the remembrance of physical sufferings endured by him in the life he has quitted has nothing painful, and produces no disagreeable impression, because they affected his body only, and left no trace in his soul. He is happy to be relieved from them; and the calmness of a good conscience exempts him from all moral suffering.” – Allan Kardec, The Spirits’ Book
Saint – (The Star Card) – Water to wine, walking on water
‘I’m not a saint, I can’t perform miracles….’
Are you sure? There are saints around us every minute of the day. Perhaps they don’t fit in with your mental model of what a saint looks like but they exist and they probably don’t even recognise it in themselves. I think it’s fair to say that in everyone’s life we have come across another soul that we immediately knew to be a saint. They will never be canonised by a church but the lives that they have touched will contain just a little bit more of the light of love than the unfortunates that didn’t get a chance to meet them.
But what about miracles?
When a mother gives birth to a child – that’s a miracle. When they lay down the rest of their life to make sure that child grows up to be a vital part of this world – that’s a miracle. When someone refuses to let illness or disability stop them from helping others – that’s a miracle. When one voice stands against injustice and wins – that’s a miracle. Whenever someone creates something beautiful, artistic or musical – that’s a miracle.
Each one of us has a unique gift from spirit that when used in an unselfish manner can make each of us a saint. Do you know what your gift is? Are you using that gift in the right spirit? What seems to be a common theme amongst all saints is that they consider themselves to be the last person on earth that should be regarded as a saint.
“If you retain the joyous after effects of meditation throughout the day, or part of the day, you will see that this joy will correctly guide you in everything. Saints are guided by this joy, in the consciousness of which no erroneous actions are possible. Retain the acquired joy of meditation throughout the day.” ― Paramahansa Yogananda
“I am not a saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.” ― Nelson Mandela
“Perhaps no human being will ever again attain to that mastery of the self, obtain that complete control over mind that enables him thus to dominate Nature. But a few, who are the children of the Kingdom, can, through a life devoted to the study and development of their spiritual and intellectual nature, learn how to heal the sick with a touch of the hand, cure the mentally afflicted with a word of command, overcome the laws of gravitation by walking upon the waters, or actually control matter so that the miracle of the loaves and fishes can be enacted again. The process that produces a so-called miracle may be described as the principle of mind heightened to such a fine intensity by means of concentration that it is rendered capable through the medium of a human being temporarily to dominate matter, to control it through knowledge of natural law and by communication with its Inscrutable Origin.” Excerpt From: Cummins, Geraldine. “Beyond Human Personality”
Stoic – (The Hanged Man Card) – Gethsemane and the cross
The Buddhist religion is based on the premise that all life is suffering. It’s all part of Karmic wheel of cause and effect. Personally I think that to live your life continually in pain is too much of a burden for any sane person. I am sure that there are those who have no choice in that matter and I firmly believe that they will reincarnate again into a happy life to balance out that particularly bad life. However, to choose a life of suffering, in the hope of eternal life, is just as foolhardy as having it thrust upon you. Unless you are the luckiest person in the world then it is rare for any person to go through a mortal life and not suffer somewhere along the line; whether it’s the loss of a loved one or failure to find your own love in life. We will all suffer some sort of mental, physical or material affliction sometime that will stretch us to the very limits of our endurance. It is these sufferings that make the hedonistic times taste so sweet. I know from personal experience that after any major incident in my life, once the rain clouds have departed, that I find something more beautiful in the world to help me come to terms with my loss. My sister, who died tragically in her early 50s of cancer, took me on a walk when I was younger and sitting together on a rock she pointed to the black Scottish raincloud and said, “See, every cloud has a silver lining”. That has stayed with me all my life and I know that she walks beside me when ever times are hard – pointing at the cloud, until I remember that life will be good again and I will smile again.
I hope not but there may be times when you are called on to choose suffering. When this is done in the search for truth or through love of others then that is a heroic deed. People like Nelson Mandela chose to suffer so that others could live their lives free from oppression. All that we can hope is that if we are challenged in that way that we have the moral strength to bear that suffering well.
“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Suffering becomes beautiful when anyone bears great calamities with cheerfulness, not through insensibility but through greatness of mind.” Aristotle
“Life is such unutterable hell, solely because it is sometimes beautiful. If we could only be miserable all the time, if there could be no such things as love or beauty or faith or hope, if I could be absolutely certain that my love would never be returned: how much more simple life would be. One could plod through the Siberian salt mines of existence without being bothered about happiness. Unfortunately the happiness is there. There is always the chance (about eight hundred and fifty to one) that another heart will come to mine. I can’t help hoping, and keeping faith, and loving beauty.” T.H. White
Sage – (The World Card) – The Parables
“Sage – a profoundly wise man.” Oxford Dictionary
This aspect is the most important of all the six. The Sage aspect should run throughout your life and run in parallel with the other five aspects that proceed it; for it is only through wisdom that the other aspects can be understood completely. How do you teach wisdom? You can’t – it is learned through experience of all of the other five aspects and that is why they are so important. The combination of all these experiences in your life means that you have compassion for all because you understand how they feel in a certain situation. If you haven’t experienced it to the degree that they are feeling it then at least you have experienced something similar. You can empathise with them; you can be of use to them in their dark hour. That is wisdom applied, wisdom applied for the love of a brother/sister of the universe.
“The sage does not hoard. The more he helps others, the more he benefits himself, the more he gives to others, the more he gets himself. The Way of Heaven does one good but never does one harm. The Way of the sage is to act but not to compete.” Lao Tzu
“I am larger, better than I thought; I did not know I held so much goodness. All seems beautiful to me. Whoever denies me, it shall not trouble me; whoever accepts me, he or she shall be blessed, and shall bless me.” Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass
It is easy to mistake knowledge for wisdom but I think it we are honest with ourselves
“Knowledge, you may get from books but wisdom is trapped within you, release it.” Ismat Ahmed Shaikh
“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” Socrates
I mentioned this quote below earlier, when I looked at the student aspect of the soul and it appears here once again. Truthfully it could fit easily into many of the aspects. Study this one line. Think on it deeply for it is a guide that will lead you well. Sage wisdom comes in the smallest packages but carries the most weight.
“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” Confucius