Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Sri Aurobindo divided psychospiritual development into 12 progressive stages

Notes From a Fellow Traveller Elliott S. Dacher, M.D.
author of Integral Health: The Path to Human Flourishing November 30, 2007 Life's Double Meaning
It is the meaning of all existence to live its highest possibility. For a plant this is to unfold its foliage, flower, or fruit, for a honeybee to produce its sweetest honey, and for humans it’s to flourish into our fullest humanity. As our most unique and profound human potential is to gain freedom from suffering and live a life of a enduring health, happiness, and wholeness, this endeavor and attainment is the primary meaning of human life.
At first thought, few of us would consider this as the primary meaning of our life - to live our unique and full human potential. And certainly this is not possible if we have not first acquired the basic material needs of survival and addressed debilitating disturbances of mind and body. So these latter two efforts are necessary preparations and groundwork that support and precede the movement towards life’s primary meaning. But if we stop, as we often do, when we attain material comfort, emotional security, and biological health we miss life’s true meaning. We may not know this, but its signs will be there.
Irrespective of the comfort we have gained, if we have not gone beyond this to achieve a far reaching health, wholeness, and happiness we will be left with a deep and persistent longing for something more. Unknowingly we try to fill this longing in many mistaken ways – grasping at outer pleasures, relationships, material gain, fame, name, and increasingly even medications. But none of these will quiet this subtle and persistent longing of the soul for a larger life and health.
We know this longing indirectly through a subtle and persistent anxiety, discontent, confusion, doubt, unresolved striving, and subtle dissatisfaction. There is an emptiness that does not leave us. When these hidden messages and misguided efforts fail to redirect us towards the primary meaning of life - the discovery of our greatest possibilities and the fulfillment of soul and spirit - these messages may become more overt in the form of mental distress and physical disease.
So the primary and first meaning of human life is integral development – the development of our full human potential. This is the development of all of our possibilities – psychospiritual, biological, relational, and worldy. In our time the force that underlies and drives all aspects of our development is the development of our psychospiritual or inner life. The full development of our inner life enhances our relationships, physical health, and interactions in the outer world. By developing our inner life we develop what is most uniquely human and emphasize the singular approach that can best assure a life that is free of suffering and fully alive.
This first central meaning of human life is the culmination of our longing and aspiration for the largest health and life that is available to us. It is a gradual and progressive development that brings us a profound health, happiness, wholeness, and peace. Accompanying and inseparable form the attainment of these human possibilities are a universal loving embrace and a compassion and concern for others. Together, these are the unique gifts of human life that will bestow the ultimate meaning on an individual life. This attainment is the proper destiny and perfection of a human life.
If we stop at our own development this in itself would be a great accomplishment, but it would not fulfill our complete destiny. The second meaning of life is to take what we have gained in our inner development and bring it back to day-to-day life – to heal our relationships and world as we have been healed within. This is the return back to worldly life. It is bringing our insightful understanding of the human condition - the futility of suffering and the possibility of a larger life health – to others. We know what is possible and our loving embrace and care, much as that of a mother for her child, naturally moves us towards serving life in a way that heals the human condition. We, having grown our own life, become healers for others.
Now of course we cannot wait until the final accomplishment in our own life – which is an ongoing process – to begin efforts to make this world a better place. We must begin where we are and grow our efforts outside in tandem with our inner development. We do so by cultivating patience, kindness, generosity, wisdom and care for others, and acting in accordance with these qualities – helping where we can and passing when we are not yet ready. To know what is most needed in a specific circumstance and match this with available skills requires wisdom and capacity. These take time to develop so we choose carefully where, how, and if we can be of help to others and to our world. As we grow more will be possible. Service to others motivated by loving-kindness and compassion is the second great meaning of life. This is an outer expression of our inner meaning. By being of service as healers to others and the world we unfold the second great potential and capacity of human existence.
In actuality these are not separate meanings. They are as inseparable as two sides of a piece of paper. Outer action is the natural and spontaneous expression of inner development. Inner development fuels meaningful outer actions and outer service catalyzes further inner development.
In summary the double meaning of life is to fully develop our human potential free of suffering and enriched by a sustained health, wholeness, and happiness. Simultaneously we attain the second great meaning of life by bringing what we have learned through inner development into the world -serving others and helping to create a healthier world. Stated as a single meaning, the meaning of life is to become all that we are as humans within and without – for ourselves first and after we gain wisdom and capacity for others as well.
When we recognize the great meanings of life and work to actualize them in our individual live all that we wish will in time come to us. Our longing will come to an end and a healthy and happy life assured. The great meaning of life once attained is like a wishing gem from which all else becomes possible. www. Posted at 02:43 PM Comments (0) TrackBack (0) 9:46 AM

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