The suffering human condition and what needs to be resolved are the same today as 10,000 years ago, 5,000 years ago, 50 years ago, yesterday, and even today. That is because each individual needs to be healed and must discover the deep remedies. The answers to perennial problems and deep questions are ancient principles that remain fresh and untainted by time passing. The difficulty of recognizing ancient principles is because there is no musty odor to these advices that could degenerate into sentimental attitudes toward the past.
One of the continuing issues humans face is the need to learn how to get along with others. Interestingly, there are only two reasons why you arrived in the human realm. Number one is to learn the true nature of compassion, and number two is to learn how to get along with others. All of the relationship complications that you, I, and others make are subsidiary, permutations and confusions of these two main issues. If we are not working on either one of these, then what are we doing? We are wasting our life.
Spiritual practitioners might think that relationships are so hard to do correctly or just not worth the effort and want to go away from them and just live in a cave somewhere. However, do we really think that going away in a cave will prevent us from interacting with others? Where are these others? They are inside us living in a different way within our own minds. We are still talking and interacting with them by the perceptions even isolated in a mountain cave or a tent in the middle of a forest! We can go away to a cave for years and meditate on some high tantric practice, and still be just as tortured and angry with others by our unskillful meditation.
What are some of the other common principles in human existence? What are the big questions?
How do we become happy? This is number one question.
Another question comes often for many people wondering why are we here?
In addition, we think that the question of wanting to know yourself generally comes later as one develops a meditation practice, but I accept that some people have this burning question even as a child.
As we mature and take responsibility for the care and guidance of others we also become alert, asking why is there so much suffering, poverty, and disease? This is a very good inquiry. How shall we humans stop everyone from suffering is one part of this conflict.
We could worry for humans everywhere when we begin to notice that some people are close and dear while others are distant, because we are making distinctions where none actually exists except for our perceptions and clues we are given by our culture. The more taboos a sick society develops, the more we must be socially careful because this other person is wearing a certain kind of costume or has a certain appearance by color, gender, national origin which makes them either friend or enemy without regard to individual qualities.
How to stop fear from damaging others and oneself is another problem that has not changed in more than 10,000 years! There are many world spiritual traditions that have this as a primary focus by redirecting the perceptions from fear based life and protecting ourselves to loving others and protecting them. To feel safe in a perceived dangerous world has concerned all people over thousands of years. Part of this important problem includes resolve to stopping fear of death. People want to know where they will go after they die and how to be unafraid of death.
The classic Buddhist problem is how to be peaceful, not just happy, but how to be peaceful.
The general answer to these problems is that we meditate. This is ancient principle number one! Over untold thousands of years, the sages have meditated on the big problems of the people of their time and discovered wisdom guidance that caused them to encourage others to still their minds and be part of the inner life that is superior. By practicing meditation, we also reduce stress and anxiety while we become competent in the remedies of healing the energetic wounds inflicted by the misalignment of our being by daily life.
Empty philosophy derived without meditation is just like sitting in a bar talking politics, drunk on the alcohol of his or her own point of view, whether it is logical or not. Politics, to me, means wasting life energy about something temporary, which has no value, and is self-referent to its own existence. Devoid of transcendent values, it is a permeating wrongness and a destructive power of taking the temporary to be permanent.
This healing principle of returning to quiet mind, transcends culture, time, and economic conditions. We receive healing wisdom medicine in the form of helpful strategies alive to the time and place. In other words, we apply strategies that will actually resolve the issue rather than worrying about a philosophical conundrum. Ancient principles are not based upon the hopelessness of the nature of the problem but instead upon methods to overcome the issues. We still rely on the scriptures of ancient meditators such as the Buddha, Jesus, and the saints of all traditions to encourage us to follow their example of meditative life as the core of resolution of life’s difficulties. To be continued…