As if arriving at a party that has been going on for thousands of years, you attempt to take stock of the lay of the land. Decision after decision has been made without your input. In addition, your own talents and attributes are only partially in your power. You did not choose your parents (unless in some mysterious way before your birth) nor your height, eye and hair color. You have no control over what diseases may have come with your genetics, although you can influence your health in many ways. Like one of a handful of seeds cast into the wind you land, whether on rock or loamy soil, and consider.
What is in store for you? Are you angry or grateful? Do you rail against it all, appealing to fairness-shouting out to the vast, tangled beyond? Will you, like someone once told me, “Punch out God’s eyes” when you finally see him in fury at all that has befallen you? Punch His lights out to render your opinion of His gift of life? No. You pause, take a deep breath, and ask your first questions. How shall I live my life? What is my purpose? How do I design a life that reflects this purpose?
You have a feeling of urgency. Like some race horse before the bell, your eyes, partly blinded by dark leather, see only the path in front of you. You paw the earth and inhale the sweat of the trembling bodies around you. Then you burst forth, with no sense of direction other than that which is offered by your sliver of vision. Pounding soil, breathing dust, gathered into a ball of tight, insistent energy you rush until you have grown weary with the years. Finally you ask, Where have I arrived? Where am I headed? Sourceless, yet bound by the restless energies of life and passion to move ever forward- the grace of wonder opens up a question, albeit dark and terrible: Am I moving toward a destination or mere end?
If you have the wherewithal, you work to determine your life’s design with reference to a focus. And yet, merely to ask the question, what is my focus, you will have already used many breaths. No matter. Where do you want to go? You decided on the most insistent of the questions that knocks on your soul. Why am I here? A dialogue begins wherein you are both interlocutor and subject.
I am here to find out why I am here.
With what capacity can you even attempt to find out? Aren’t you profoundly limited in your abilities?
I am, but there remains no choice for me. I must ask. The urgency I feel will not allow me to rest my head if I cannot come to understand this mystery of my life.
Ah, so you recognize it as a mystery, then?
Yes-a mystery that I am and see. It can be described with no less a word than mystery.
A mystery of terror and wonder.
Yes, of terror and wonder.
Surprised, you notice that you are fully capable of two entirely different voices. You can question and answer easily. Like a sharp scalpel that you never knew you had, you twist the blade this way and that, conducting a surgery on the fathomlessness of your own existence. A new wonder arises. How is it possible that you can both ask and answer?
The blistering sun is reflected on a thousand peaks of water in the vast ocean of nothingness that stretches before you. Tempted to shield your eyes, you nevertheless open them and gaze steadily forward. Blinders removed, a new question rises up within in you. Am I Self? you ask. You are Self, you answer.