We have an instinctive need to search for meaning. This has been true throughout human history, and it has helped to lead us towards both wisdom and folly. We want to know what life is all about – beyond the surface, why does it feel so strange? Is it a game? Is it deadly serious? Does it matter what we do, or think, or say? Was this life made for a reason? Was it made at all, and if so, by whom and why? Or is it all a big accident? A coincidence? Something that is happening but without a plan, or a planner, or a reason, or a destination?
Many people offer answers to such questions. Faiths and religions in particular. We want someone to tell us what to believe and how to behave, what is right and what is wrong, what is acceptable and what must never be done. But there’s a problem with this approach – taking answers from others. It comes from outside of ourselves and ends up leaving us hollow inside. We become second-hand human beings, with our beliefs and actions all hand-me-downs from someone else. Everything about us has been influenced by society and by the thoughts and teachings of other people.
What have we found for ourselves? If we think life has meaning, surely we must find it ourselves in our own life. I’m suggesting we cast off all tyranny of belief and thought and refuse to follow someone else. We should each stand alone – even if that means we are no longer respectable to mainstream society.
But in casting off the hand-me-down beliefs, we must not define ourselves by this rebellion. There’s a trap lurking there, ready to catch us and hold us. We end up always fighting against the other thing, when we should be putting it aside, and looking at what is new, or what is real, or what is here and now.
The search for meaning in one’s life must begin with oneself. With self knowledge.
But we must also look at the world as a whole. It’s in a mess, always has been, full of war and hate, greed and fear. There are good thing too, of course there are. But why so much narrow-minded bigotry and dislike of others? Why is there so much crime, so much bullying, so much killing of each other and of innocent animals? Why do we harm the world on which we live and even threaten the environment in which we live? It’s insane, but it can’t be stopped. One can one person do?
That one person can recognise the truth of their own life: the anger, the brutality, the uncaring attitudes. Fix those, and see what might happen.
We must take a long hard look at ourselves – but not through the filters or lenses of religion or faith or spiritual leaders or even science and academic theories. You must see that there is only you – the only thing for which you can be responsible. The only thing you can change. And you must do it, alone, with no guide or guru or teacher.
The revolution which the world needs must take place inside yourself. The revolution, however, needs no ideology. What it needs is facts. It must be based on the minute by minute, second by second reality of what is really happening in your life and inside yourself.
Can you change? Do you want to? Or will you insist it isn’t necessary? Or possible.
How can it be done, you may ask. I have no answer for you. Any answer I give would be useless to you. You must find your own. No gurus, remember. No method. No teaching.
If I hand you a truth, it is a second-hand truth. If I give you rules to live by, they are hand-me-down rules.
Accepting the authority of another breeds laziness and blind obedience.
All authority is false. Reject it. Throw off the burden and walk lightly. Be free.
Ah… but now that we have rejected outward authority, are we truly free? Or are we still subject to our own inner ‘authority’ with all of its prejudices and preconceptions? That authority has been built up over the years of your life based on thoughts and events and things you’ve been told or read or researched.
Put it all aside. It’s gone. That is the dead authority of things that are rotting and giving off a bad smell. Be aware of what is happening, what is fresh and new and real. Observe. Investigate. Do not censor what you find.
This is the beginning of a wonderful journey, but you must travel light. Bring no prejudice or preconceived conclusions. Don’t set out on the journey expecting to find proof or any particular faith or belief system. And bring no fixed ideas about yourself or your place in the world and what you are really like. Start afresh and see with innocent eyes. Who are you today, here, now? What is happening in this moment, both around and within? Begin today, and see where the journey goes.