Welcome“Midway in life’s journey, I found myself in a dark wood, having lost the way.” Dante
Whether a person understands their inner life in psychological or spiritual terms or both, since they need not be mutually exclusive, or one is not introspective at all, few people have not experienced the pain and confusion of having “lost the way.” Welcome fellow travelers.
The path through the dark woods to the bright garden is never the same for any two people but all can learn from each. Sharing is not a simple matter though, for the journey is one of subjective experiences which are difficult to express and which are understood from vastly differing perspectives.
Yet at root, the search for meaning, the pursuit of happiness, the quest for inner peace, are imperatives common to all human beings, believers and unbelievers, skeptics and spiritualists.
Yet what kind of thing is this “meaning” that we humans seek so earnestly? Can it be discovered through rational discourse? Need we only wait until the science of Psychology catches up with Physics in advancing some Grand Unified Theory of human existence that we can read about in a book? Can we dismiss the work and experience of generations of spiritualists and mystics who went to the mountain top and saw – whatever it was that they saw? On the other hand, is finding meaning a matter of finding the right spiritual path or the True religion and dismissing both science and every competing spiritual practice as error and falsehood?
The answer has to be none of the above. I think people are very confused, especially in the Western world about the difference between meaning in the sense that it is experienced and belief or opinion in the intellectual sense. The meaning we seek is both an intellectual understanding and an emotional experience. Achieving it will come only after work and practice in both spheres but each in its own mode. We must train the mind and the heart. This duality is as I have come to understand it is explored in The Theory of the Sentient Mind.
We are familiar with stories about people who have unexpected spiritual experiences that transform how they understand the world and their place in it. My own story proceeded the other way around. It was theoretical considerations about human nature that led me to become open to the possibility of spiritual experience, not as a mystic but as an empiricist. Yet I too have experienced a transforming experience that can only be called spiritual and while it has not transformed how I understand the world it has certainly transformed the experience of being me and that is worth sharing. I relate the how this came about in Threads.
We are natural beings of nature but no longer in nature. As humans it is our destiny to make our own destiny; to remain natural while becoming more than nature. The meaning of life is the bright garden at the end of the path but it is one that must be created as well as discovered.