Saturday, January 01, 2005

The Soul's Quest

The Soul's Quest

At the turn of the year, we reflect back on our successes and failures, our moments of strength and weakness; we attempt to learn the valuable lessons that they impart and distill a philosophy of hope that gives us strength to continue on.

The coming year will bring a fresh suite of joys and sorrows. We have to take everything that comes our way with strength and resolution. We must be learn to be vigilant against the darker promptings of our hearts--those of avarice, pride and cruelty. We might not have been very successful in the past, but we will strive to do better in the future.

Suffering will always be an inevitable condition of life. For as long as we live, hope and aspire, we will have to learn to take suffering in our stride. We suffer because we are attached to the world--to our loved ones, our possessions, our pride, our honour. But we are here in this world to learn the lessons of suffering so that through our suffering, we discover the soul's essence.

There will be moments of joy along the way, but we will take them with a deep sense of gratitude. There cannot be a crest without a trough. We enjoy the crest of success because we have laboured through the trough of hardwork. Through the challenges of work, we dissolve our karma, we build character and we cultivate wisdom. These are great rewards already--the real fruits of our labour.

Absorbed in our daily preoccupations, we sometimes forget to spare a thought for others. We think only our own problems matter and that the world owes us praise and recognition for our efforts. In adopting such an attitude, we are only setting ourselves up for more pain. A mind in constant expectation of reward or praise is one that is full of unease and tension; it is one that is never happy.

We are all imperfect creatures of God. As rocks on the bed of a river gets smoothen by its currents, the jagged edges of our imperfections will be polished to smoothness by life's many painful experiences. Through acceptance and surrender, we allow the forces of life to take its course and shape us into better human beings.

Every year we age a little bit more--our physical strength wanes and the body pursues an inevitable course of decay. But as the skin coarsens and wrinkles ravage the face, something inside us grows richer with the passing of time--the soul, driven by that divine impulse, rises slowly, to ever greater levels of perfection and ultimately, unshackles itself from the fetters of temporal bondage.

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