Humanity wanders in a jungle where real values
have no meaning. Real values can have meaning
only when a person steps onto the spiritual path –
A path where negative emotions lose their purpose.
~Swami Ram Das
The winding staircase image suggests that the path of the individual's spiritual journey has many twists and turns. William Blake and Carl Jung were among those who characterized the evolution of the human psyche as circular, winding ever upwards, becoming increasingly refined as the individual moves closer to their true, divine nature. The decision to embark upon the soulward journey brings many challenges. There are so many distractions tempting us to turn back, take a different direction, or give up. What is important at the outset is that we commit to the path. The path contains all the possibilities and our journey is rooted in finding the path.
The early 20th century was a time of great optimism, with numerous remarkable scientific and industrial advances, steamships, automobiles, airplanes, and skyscrapers! There were many who felt that religion had outlived its purpose. Significant material progress was being achieved.
The steamship Titanic endures as one of the most powerful symbols of that particular era. In the dark early morning hours of April 15, 1912, four days into its maiden voyage, the seemingly invincible icon of human achievement struck an iceberg and sank into the North Atlantic Ocean. Two short years later, the world plunged into a bloodbath of carnage, devastation, and despair, as over 10-million people were senselessly killed, with another 20-million people wounded, during World War I. My own great uncle, Frank Gard, was among the casualties. On the heels of the Great War was the Great Depression, which would bring even more despair, and yet another horrific World War which included the Holocaust and the Atomic Bomb. No one could have imagined such a century at the outset of 1912. Over 100 million people – mostly civilians – lost their lives in the name of one ideology or another during these tragic years.
In hindsight, we can observe that material progress without spiritual progress is a formula for incalculable disaster, both individually and collectively. The safest way to minimize such tragedy is to sustain a daily discipline of cultivating our relationship with that which is Most Real through divine communion and selfless service. Neglect not your divine appointment to practice quiet communion and dynamic service. Such a lamp upon the pathway results in growing illumination!
At this point, we need to ask whether there are better ways of being on the planet. We live in a time when we must clarify our point of view and our intentions. If we are sincere in our asking, the way forward will be revealed. But, unfortunately, if we should miss the question, we miss our very life. Let us wake up! Step up, step onto the path of the spiritual journey!