Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wake Up

We are not human beings on a spiritual journey, we are spiritual beings on a human journey.

Stephen Covey
Years ago I went to visit a very wise man. I was seeking his advice. My acting career was going fairly well. But I was also doing a lot of broadcasting work and could drop everything and stay with that full time. I had also been doing some teaching and wanted to do more. My drawings and paintings were becoming better known. I was confused about which direction I ought to go with my life and just wanted to talk it out with him. I spelled it all out and said I was uncertain about which of those activities I should focus on. His reply, which I've never forgotten, was "The answer is none of the above. What you should be doing is waking up."

That remark has stayed with me all these years as one of the touchstones of my life, something to test all fundamental questions against. I once wrote isn't it odd that we spend most of our adult lives somewhere between asleep and awake?

These are some of those fundamental questions. Why aren't we fully awake yet? Why do we see "through a glass darkly"? and are unable to view reality face to face? Is the glass dark, or is it our own darkness that obscures the view? Is the glass a window, or a mirror, a telescope, a microscope, or all of those? Is the truth in the image on the glass or in the one behind it?

I used to take a train from Westchester into New York City. That route is a particularly busy one for trains going in many directions. Out the window I would see other tracks as they slid in under the train or fanned out from beneath it, and feel the rumble and bump as those tracks moved under the train. Eventually the ride would smooth out as we made it on to the main track and shortly after that into the tunnel which took us to Grand Central Station.

It is necessary and important for humans to make a lot of changes on their journeys. There are changes in schools, jobs and careers, in dwellings and neighborhoods, family and friends and changes in experiences, beliefs, opinions and understanding. At a certain point some people click on to the final track and know that the destination is enlightenment and spirituality. But is spiritual evolution simply a matter of waking up? Are all the choices, changes, bumps and rumbles along the journey happening in our sleep? "We are such stuff as dreams are made on" said Shakespeare.

"Know thyself" is another one of those vital touchstones of life. I have a lot of questions and some of them are fundamental and have cosmic importance to my life and to the world. But I won't have many answers until after I wake up. "Now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." When I truly understand myself I can wake up, become enlightened, cease looking for myself through a glass, know myself as a spiritual being and find my place on the journey.
(I Cor. 13)

DB - The Vagabond

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pacifica62 said...

I really like this quote by Covey and your wise man's response was so unpredictable and life changing. I think that there is little doubt that most of us spend our time somewhere between being asleep and being awake. Some fog induced haze that prevents us from seeing reality as it really is. Very, very few people ever reach the stage of enlightenment, though not for lack of trying. Many of us stumble through life in that fog, never fully awake, looking for ourselves and the meaning of life.Should not be much of a surprise that we find neither of them.

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

Ours truly is human journey, fraught with all our weaknesses, but yet so full of potential.