“One great question underlies our experience,
whether we think about it or not:
what is the purpose of life?”
~ Dalai Lama
“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life,
the whole aim and end of human existence.”
“The world is so unhappy because it is ignorant of the true Self. Man’s real nature is happiness. Happiness is inborn in the true Self. Man’s search for happiness is an unconscious search for his true Self. The true Self is imperishable; therefore, when a man finds it, he finds a happiness which does not come to an end.”
~ Ramana Maharshi
“What are we here for?
We are here for freedom, for knowledge.
We want to know in order to make us free.
That is our life; one universal cry for freedom.”
~ Swami Vivekananda
“Our purpose is process –
Gleaning meaning in matter,
we learn all that matters –
we learn all that matters is LOVE!”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
Here is the test to find whether your mission on earth is finished.
If you’re alive, it isn’t.
~ Richard Bach
Is Earth-life Purposeful?
Q. Is earth-life purposeful?
A. Yes! We are here to learn and evolve.
Though some Eastern mystics may call this ever changing “reality” a dream, maya, samsara, or illusion,
it is a marvelous and miraculous mental creation.
So how can anyone ever imagine earth-life to be without purpose?
Our purpose is process – metamorphic process.
Like unique facets of an infinitely faceted jewel,
each earth being has a unique perspective, but a common Source* – which transcends this world, while everywhere immanent therein.
So, our purpose is harmoniously to realize and experience,
and to actualize from infinite perspectives,
our ONE transcendent Self identity.
As long as we believe ourselves to be seemingly circumscribed
and separated from the rest of our reality,
We incarnate to realize and to actualize
our common Self identity.
We learn until we leave.
But, we don’t leave until we learn –
*Innumerable names – God, Love, Nature, etc. – may be used to signify that Source or any of its infinite aspects. Or as in the Jewish tradition it may be acknowledged that no name can denominate “That” which is beyond conception or expression – since naming limits the illimitable and ineffable Infinite Reality.
Ron’s Commentary on Purpose of Life.
Have you ever reflected on whether human life is purposeful – individually or collectively?
Or have you wondered:
“Why was I born? Why am I living?” Or “What is the meaning of life?”
According to the Dalai Lama “What is the purpose of life?” is the “one great question [which] underlies our experience, whether we think about it or not”. And since midlife, I have found that reflecting about our life’s purpose, if any, has sparked a very helpful process of finding ever expanding happiness.
So today I’m sharing the foregoing quotations and essay/poem to help us consider perennial questions about ‘purpose’ or ‘meaning of life.
Not until my midlife change of life did I ever wonder whether Earth-life is purposeful. But since then I’ve continued to reflect and write about it.
Tentatively, I’ve hypothesized that, as students matriculating on the ‘Earth branch of the great cosmic University’, we’re learning to let life live us as LOVE, until ultimately we realize that LOVE is our common Self-identity and Universal Reality; that beyond this conceptual space/time relative reality, there are no philosophical questions or concepts or purposes, just infinitely potential Cosmic Consciousness as a ‘maha-matrix’ of all samsaric illusory mirage-like ‘realities’.
While growing up in 20th century America – like millions of others – I greatly enjoyed popular New York musical theater songs. Many of my favorite lyrics were composed by Master lyricist/librettist Oscar Hammerstein II, mostly in collaboration with great musical talents like Richard Rodgers with whom he wrote Oklahoma!, Carousel, South Pacific, The King and I, and The Sound of Music.
Until midlife I understood Hammerstein’s lyrics to encompass worldly subjects, like romantic love. But, after spiritually awakening, I began to realize that Hammerstein’s lyrics often esoterically encompassed mystical perspectives. And I started referring to him as “Sri Oscar Hammerstein”.
When I was born in 1932, one the “top ten” popular songs was Why Was I Born, for which Hammerstein, with composer Jerome Kern, had written lyrics in 1929, beginning with these perennial questions:
“Why was I born? Why am I living?” “What do I get? What am I giving?”
And they concluded with this enduring answer:
“Why I was born? To love you!”
Fifty years after Hammerstein’s composition of Why Was I Born lyrics, I began to realize that they could refer to Divine LOVE, beyond just romantic love – e.g. to the ecstatic devotional spiritual path exemplified by Sufi-Persian Mystic Masters Hafiz and Rumi, as an ultimate goal of Human life.
And so with poetic license I pluralized Hammerstein’s lyric questions and edited his answer:
Q. Why were we born? Why are we living?
What do we get? What are we giving?
A. Why were we born? To love THEE!
Reflecting on life’s purpose, if any, can help us gradually realize that we are not who or what we were taught or ‘labeled’ to be by society, or by our mistaken mental reification of our projected-perceptions:
That we are not merely our mortal bodies – their genders, features, colors, religions, beliefs, emotions, habits or stories, or the ‘voices in our heads’. We are nondual immortal spirit experiencing fleeting earth lives from infinite perspectives in transitory physical vehicles. But ultimately ‘under the hood’ we’re all the same Cosmic Consciousness.
By realizing and actualizing our common spiritual identity, may we help transform and transcend this world of suffering.
And so may it be!
“What the caterpillar calls the end,
the master calls a butterfly.”
~ Richard Bach
Butterflies are living
metaphors for metamorphosis.
They symbolize our
knowing or unknowing
quest for transformation;
for transcending inevitable
earthly miseries and mortality.
We are inspired by the butterfly’s metamorphosis:
from creeping, crawling caterpillar,
to cocooned chrysalis,
transformed by amazing imaginal cells
to beautifully winged wonder.
Butterflies can inspire and symbolize
not only human aspirations and potentialities
for transforming our life on Earth,
they also can remind us that there is much more
to our ever changing “reality”
‘than meets the eye’.
Some butterfly wings which appear to us in colors,
are actually transparent.
Their iridescent scales overlap like shingles on a roof,
refracting light – like rainbows –
so as to give the wings the colors we perceive.
But in some species, like the Glasswing (pictured above),
we can observe the transparency of the butterfly wings.
With such transparency,
we can see what normally we don’t see.
In the Bible (1 Corinthians 13:11-12),
Paul observes that “now we see through a glass darkly”,
but that some day we shall fully know,
as we are fully Known now by the Divine.
Now, we view our “reality”
through the ‘mirror of the mind’,
which imperfectly refracts and reflects
the unseen light of Eternal Awareness
onto the screen of our human consciousness.
But, with meditation and other mind-stilling methods,
we can evolve and transform our mind mirror
from opacity to translucency to transparency.
And thereby, with ever expanding
human consciousness and ever deepening insight,
we can and shall ‘see’ more and more –
we can and shall see what we couldn’t see before.
So, beautiful transparent butterflies
can symbolize and inspire our highest aspirations:
our aspirations for elevating and expanding human consciousness
so as to transform life on our precious planet.
And butterflies can remind us that Reality
is much more ‘than meets the eye’;
That beyond this phenomenal world
of ever passing appearances is one changeless Reality –
One unseen Source and Essence of
all appearances, all phenomena, and all ideas:
Infinite Potentiality – our Eternal SELF.
“Our separation of each other is an optical illusion of consciousness.”
~ Albert Einstein
This “Women in Art” viral video (below) creatively morphs together portraits of different unique beings, with a Bach cello musical background.
Apart from its exceptional artistic beauty and creativity, this video can be experienced as a metaphor for our ever evolving and expanding human consciousness.
From seeing everyone and everything as discrete and separated by apparently immutable boundaries, we are gradually realizing that everyone/everything is connected by our common essence:
ever-changing energy in a matrix of immutable Awareness.
Thus, we are evolving into the light of creation: from a Newtonian “reality” of polarized duality, to a quantum “reality” of holistic connectedness; from either this or that, to this and that are ONE.
And so shall it be!
Women In Art video: