That’s life?

SOMEONE once worked out that the average person, on reaching 70, would have spent 23 years sleeping, 14 years working, eight years watching TV, eight years finding other amusements, six years eating, one year reading and four years in cars, buses, trains and trams.

There has to be more to it. What we make of our lives is up to us. God has given us all the tools and resources we need.

Thomas Watson, founder of IBM, didn’t think life was all that complicated.

He wrote a life balance sheet listing love of money, reactionary ideas, lack of love for others under the heading liabilities.

Under assets he listed unselfish love, good manners and valuing real friends.

We could pray for easier lives, but that’s not likely to happen. It’s probably better to pray that we become stronger people, with the ability to be gentle with ourselves and others.

As the Indian literary genius Rabindranath Tagore said: “Let your life lightly dance on the edges of time like dew on the tip of a leaf.”


3 thoughts on “That’s life?

  1. Hi Bryan,
    Please pardon this throwback to an old theme. But a week or two back (Sept 3rd) when your blog described the doctrine of Reincarnation as being only a ‘philosophy of despair’, I scratched my head as I read it, feeling that the argument didn’t sound right. It was only today that I spotted the essential unrealized point.

    Your assessment was effectively made from and with a Christian agenda, (and built on the only appropriate thesis therewith) that each human is created on the occasion of some hypothetical ‘first’ birth from nothing, and that he consists of a body which is imbued with a new Soul from The God. Certainly the deduction from this starting point is that Reincarnation means that humans can only be on a long long journey to gain some hypothetical (and indeed clearly impossible) stage of ‘perfection’ in their physical lives, and one that with little hope, might enable them to attain to a place in the Christian heaven. A concept of despair indeed, I would agree.

    But this simplification is simply not the theory that is espoused by the Gnostic or Mystical tradition (oftimes described as the ‘Perennial Philosophy’). In this way of thinking a human being is NOT a Body that has a soul, but rather a Soul that has a body, and thus is enabled (and indeed privileged) over and over again, to take on a new fleshly physical body. That Soul which is the truest essence of each human being, ever remains one of the eternal emanations of the Divine Spirit of God.

    To some, it might seem that each incarnation is like a temporary imprisonment for the ‘Soul’ in a brand new body; and the ‘spaces’ in between the lives represent a respite back in its natural home – (the ‘heaven’ world) which is permitted for reflection, re-examination and plans for the next ‘descent’ into matter. It is generally agreed that this respite may well represent some sort of a hell for the soul as it ‘there’ has to live with and indeed to suffer precisely the evil and less desirable things it has built up or encouraged for itself during the latest lifetime. This does sound rather like the Catholic concept of Purgatory, one might say – as Monica commented some weeks back. Each of us constantly is creating his own unique heaven and hell, just as John Milton says in Paradise Lost.

    There is still every possibility for the intervention of a Divine Grace to transform the experience to be had in a particular incarnation by grasping the opportunity for a humble reaching out to the Divine and seeking a loving forgiveness and an experience of Salvation. But this does not obviate the need for ‘souls’ to return for more experience and lessons to be learned. As I suggested in an earlier posting here, these reincarnations need not be in the precise human earthly form with which we are familiar. Who knows just what manner of manifestations we might be ‘granted’, or bodies that we might be enabled to inhabit in other spheres as well as this one, or even indeed in other dimensions. We have eternity to do it in. (And just maybe there is actually no eventual Finale to it all. The big message of it all is simply that our primary citizenship is with and in ‘Heaven’.)

    ‘Oh my God, the soul which thou gavest me is pure.’ (The Hebrew Morning Service.)

    ‘When God made man, the innermost heart of the Godhead was put into man.’ (Meister Eckhart)

    ‘I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.’ (Psalm 82)

    ‘What is the worst thing the Evil Urge can achieve? To make man forget that he is the son of a king.’ – ( Rabbi Shelomo of Karlin)

    ‘… the Universal Human Lot is, after all, that of the Highest Privilege.’ (Lord Edward Bulwer Lytton)

    Cheers, Rian.


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