Sunday, September 13, 2015
The second stage of life begins as our essence begins to be covered over by what we learn. We learn by education and imitation. And what we acquire this way forms our personality. We learn how to get along with people, and how to earn money to buy the things we want. In the second stage of life, you could become the best at something. You could become rich, famous, admired by everyone. In short, in the second stage, you have a chance to get the best that outer life offers. Instead of being yourself, you try to be something you are not. You learn to behave according to the social standard. You become an imaginary person, imagining you are someone you are not. And your life becomes a series of interactions with other people who also imagine they are someone they are not, without any connection to reality.
The third stage of life is for those who aren’t satisﬁed with what life offers. They experience an inner emptiness, even if they are outwardly successful. They somehow feel the meaninglessness of things. Those who wish to ﬁnd meaning may come to the third stage of life. The second stage is about becoming better and better, greater and greater, until you reach the top. But in the third stage of life, you become less and less, until you taste your own nothingness.
The great Teachers and prophets taught about the third stage of life. Their teachings weren’t to help us become more successful and accumulate more. They were to help us really become human, to help us transform ourselves from unconscious creatures into human beings, and then into perfected human beings. This is the real meaning of alchemy. It begins with self-study. To do that, you have to become familiar with what you want to study. You have to look. If you look, you see that one part of you thinks, one part feels, and another part moves. By observing, you can see that your mind, feelings, and body are never in harmony. You think one way, but you feel another way, and what you do is often something different than what you think or feel. The process of seeing gives you self-knowledge. You don’t only think you are like that—you know it, because you’ve seen it for yourself.
When you have self-knowledge, your direction becomes clear—bring body and mind together, and keep them together until your feelings join in. Then, instead of being automatic and mechanical, you have more ability to choose how you manifest. You have Being-participation in your activity, and all of the Nine Principles of Harmony manifest in your activity.
Excerpted from Child of Existence, Child of Society, by Jon Schreiber.