Spirit always takes precedent over matter. It is better. Of course. But the world we live in is fundamentally characterized by matter. This state of existence is physical and material. Our goal, though we live in the world of matter, is to infuse our brains and bodies with spirit, which we also call liveliness and happiness. Yet many times we cannot be happy, and we find ourselves just going through the motions of life without spirit, ghostlike or even in a depression.
The realm of spirit, also known popularly as the afterlife, on the other hand, is the opposite of the world of matter. It is fundamentally spiritual, and is not of matter. It is pure spirit. Thus it is impossible to feel very little happiness or nothing at all in the world of spirit. In fact, in the afterlife one is much more alive than here in the physical world, because that life is wholly spiritual.
Whoever put us on this earth knew what we had to do, and in doing it we become worthy of the afterlife. -GS So, what is the purpose of life? To take care of ourselves, and of each other. To survive! That is the purpose. And I think it is fair to assume there is a reward for us at the end… heaven.
So next time you are taking out the garbage, and think “Oh, man! This is a trivial chore, without value.” think again! It is what we are meant to do. Because, trivial chores, as well as the great jobs on earth, fit under the rule: “to take care of ourselves and of each other.”
Certainly, whoever did this to us, (as if it is a joke) God or the universe, knew what we had to do while here, to earn the afterlife.
Recently I came across a play where one character had been adopted and he asked another character, who knew his origins, “Can you tell me who I am?” and I thought, “Now there’s an interesting sentiment! How can someone possibly know you better than you who you are?” I mean to ask another who you are! Isn’t that the greatest irony of all. Shouldn’t you know who you are better than anybody else? But at the same time I was struck by the thought that one knows himself only in relation to others. It is through communication with others that we are able to discover our own selves. Each person is a mirror and they reflect an image of yourself to you. Conversely you act as a mirror and show them an image of their selves. Depending on mood, this image is interpreted in a specific way and bounced back accordingly.
Others tell us who we are. Not only in words, but in glances, facial expressions, and gestures. Thank God for others! Can you imagine living in a deserted island without any other people? You would not be able to know who you are! Well, in that case I suppose you could always resort to meditation, or “self-reflection.” As most people, I personally prefer both, the company and good conversation of other people, and sometimes I like being quiet and reflective. The ancients had a proverb, “know thyself.” True indeed, I believe the best kind of knowledge is not that of science or mathematics, but it is the knowledge of your identity, your personality, your self.
(this entry is a post from a previous blog of mine)
If you think about it, if you have no responsibilities and nothing is expected out of you in life, you are in big trouble. At first, you might think that you’re on easy street, but did you know that an “easy life” soon enough turns into a “hard life.” Yes, in another sense, an easy life, ie a life without responsibilities and expectations, is a hard life. It is one’s responsibilities that keep one going. If you think, “I have to do this, because it matters,” you will be much more driven than if you think, “oh, I can do this today, but who’ll notice?” Likewise is the expectations that others put on you that keep you feeling important. If nothing is expected out of you in life, which may happen when somebody puts you down and expects nothing out you, (in other words you are good for nothing) you lose your sense of self-worth and feel powerless. We often equate self-worth and happiness with work. Indeed, for we work not only to put bread on the table, but we work to feed ourselves mentally and spiritually.
“Happiness is an imagination. Boredom is a reality.” (G Shetuni.) Let us examine this saying a little bit. For example, right now, here where I live, in Columbus, OH: here is the current reality, it is an ugly, cloudy, dreary, cold winter’s day. So that’s what can be literally seen if you look out the window. There is no show out there. It’s a rather dull reality! Reality is dull … isn’t it? But if you are happy you “imagine” a more pleasing reality … one that does not literally exist. Because, as we said, there is no show outside your window. But there may be a show in your eyes; the show that you are imagining when you look at the same dull scene. And this imagination is being produced by happiness. Happiness is when the mind is being creative and is able to see things that aren’t there.
For example, here are two scenarios of the same reality.
The depressed reality: Oh, it’s dinner time. The table is black. The food tastes bad. How can you be happy doing this?
The happy reality: Oh, it’s dinner time, I remember that one time having dinner with so and so … oh my God, that was so funny! (and your eyes see something that the depressed/unhappy person cannot catch because it does not literally exist. Happiness is an imagination.)