One of many messages from the occupy movement tells it all.
Many People suffer from one form of psychic shock or another
If people knew in advance what life holds for them before they got to live it, they would never leave the womb, as most of life is suffering, pain and misery. For many, the future holds so much misery that it drives some to suicide later in life. It is ignorance of the future that allows people to chart a course that usually ends in disaster, suffering and misery of all sorts. Perhaps the most interesting thing in all of this is how parents who should know better by the time they have children, is that they bring children into a world of misery. What is worse, they hope and expect their children to succeed where the parents failed and this without a clear and firm guide from them. They increase their own misery when their children inevitably fail and at the same time increase the misery of their children. The process is complete with alienation between generations. Eventually it all ends in death, for what is born, must change and then die. The one constant in everything is change; for nothing stands still. Were some enlightenment were present, a lot of this misery would be prevented. But in ignorance, the situation perpetuates, deepens and becomes worse. For most, life is unceasing toil, raising children, watching them toil as hard or harder than you and all the while growing old and sick with the consciousness of approaching death. Most are left wondering what it was all about anyway. There are many pat answers but little that is offered is convincing leaving the question open.
Patanjali, the yogi warns us that one of the things that we must be aware of and overcome in life is ignorance. We are born into it and only gradually come to grips of it in our increasing awareness of the misery all around us, whether given by nature or by one another. As for the misery given by nature, such as ageing, disease, natural catastrophes and death, there is little we can do but accept the truth and the inevitable. We can do what we can to reduce the suffering, but the nature of the Earth is eat and be eaten. One need not look too far to see the truth of this balance of nature in the closed system of the Earth's ecosystem. Ultimately we have to work on the cessation of our own suffering by seeking answers, meditation and avoiding harmful activities to oneself and toward others. We cannot do this for another person or force them on a path that we perceive from our limited view as being the correct one. This kind of thing has lead to other kinds of misery. As for misery that we give and receive from others, there is a lot we can do to correct and stop this. The unwillingness to correct this is another form of ignorance and the bassist form of egoism, another condition Patanjali warns us about. If you willingly visit harm on others and contribute to suffering to obtain compliance or the illusion to lessen your own, then you are acting in the worst way possible in life. Most contributions to the suffering that we make toward others comes from nothing more than ignorance and myths we have come to accept as untested and unquestioned truth, blown out of all proportion. All of this human caused suffering we can prevent if we only learn how. This requires a personal paradigm shift away from the usual ways of doing things to one where one has complete tolerance and patience.
The thinker will quickly question, “Is there nothing more than being born, struggling to fulfil all of one's various needs like eating, eliminating, shelter, fighting and defending, reproducing, providing for all the needs of the offspring as well and then dying generation after generation?” The question then will lead into seeking out answers. Many things have been tried and many ideas and insights have arisen as a result of these combined quests. This then is part of the road to enlightenment; foreknowing life by what has occurred cyclically in the past. One such emerging idea is the concept of the eternal return and also reincarnation. This followed from observations of natural cycles that infolded over the annual seasons. The natural cycles recapitulated the idea of generational reproduction, but also the idea of rebirth even if not personal. The various cycles have the appearance of what is called a fractal pattern, i.e., the smaller is a recapitulation of the larger in an endless self similar or self affine series from the small to the gargantuan.
The realization of no memory even early in life and certainly not from anything before in the conscious sense makes one question the various given answers from all sources. As for after death states, a plethora of ideas exist; so what is true? Some experiment with mind altering substances and meditation techniques that create altered conscious states. These states of experience and consciousness can be far different than ordinary conscious experience, showing that the mind and consciousness is malleable at least. This parallels the physical world at the quantum level that is also malleable, existing in an non-manifested state until it is measured and observed. And this then brings up the nature of matter and our relationship with it as this is what makes up our physicality. It is known that the mind has to have a physical frame in which to operate, somewhat like the software bears to the hardware of the computer. Both have to exist together in order to make either one useful. Is it that the conscious mind requires the body in order to exist and if so, what of deep sleep where the body exists, but consciousness disappears and the non-conscious state or unconscious exists? This is very much akin to the mystery of the quantum world.
The personality is something that is built during life and experiences. During sleep, when consciousness is suppressed and the unconscious dominates, the personality is put aside. It has been discovered that that the personality and traits of a person can be deconstructed through various torture techniques such a sensory deprivation and shock treatments; especially if used in combination. Even the memory of life events is erased and/or confused. The CIA and FBI under the MKULtra program experimented on unwitting victims in the 1950's to see if personalities could be deconstructed and then rebuilt through “psychic driving”. The second part of the program met with total failure and was abandoned, but the deconstruction part was continued in use to torture prisoners of war and this either drove them mad or caused suicidal tenancies. At the very least, they ended up worse than when they started and ended up insane and confused. At worst, they regressed to a condition of infancy. What does all of this have to say about natural deconstruction? Natural deconstruction can occur during a great personal psychic shock or as a result of a natural disaster that affects huge numbers all at once. The person becomes disoriented, confused and in some cases, catatonia sets in. Great pain from disease such as cancer, age related nervous degeneration or a heart attack is enough of trigger in some cases. In others, its an earthquake or other sudden natural disaster. Velikovsky describes such cases for humanity in “Mankind in Amnesia”. In these examples, the personality is deconstructed and the person regresses to a more primordial condition, such as in infancy. At the time of death, the physical body is going through deconstruction and the psychic shock to the mind causes deconstruction of the personality and memories. Thus, if we are to answer why we remember nothing from incarnation to incarnation and have to relearn everything all over from scratch, the answer lies in the deconstruction of the personality and memories at the end of life. The spiritual person quests as part of their enlightenment to retain the memories of former lives. Somehow they have to overcome the deconstruction of the mind, memories and personality that accompanies death. How this is done exactly is the reserve of adepts and advanced yogis; at least as far as the theory goes.
In the non-manifested state of the quantum world, everything exists in a superposition of all states. The whole of the cosmos is based on this including our bodies, only what we see is the manifested part, the state that results from the “collapse of the wave function”. It is possible that the mind also exists in a superposition of states. This simple fact is revealed when the conscious mind is in a state of concentration. That which is ignored external to that concentration apparently ceases to exist, at least for the concentrating mind. I personally recall a circumstance where a co-worker was so concentrated on analyzing a lotto ticket that he was unaware of my close presence for several minutes. He then turned and walked away without ever seeing me or being aware of my presence. It was as if I did not exist.
The fact that we enter into a world of woes is known by spiritual seekers of enlightenment from all ages and regions. Each one in their own way sought and seek to bring an end to misery and suffering. Each one had a different approach. To know the future, one needs to remember the past and their own responsibility for their own actions. The key to the future is the acknowledgement of cycles and the tiny variations from on self-affine cycle to its matching counterpart. In a very real sense, each and every one of us has to reach enlightenment on their own, sometimes with the help of a mentor or guides and more often, alone and separated from the community like the lonely aspirant or prophet in the desert or mountains. For most people, escaping woe is a series of attempts to obtain a state of a lesser hell. Most of the time this fails due to misguided choices or lack of foreknowledge. People either give up and stay in the hellish state they are in, especially if the escape to a lesser hell ends in a state of a greater hell. Then there is the reality that people inflict hellish states and terrors by physical and psychic torture upon others. In a world of division, most people exist in a constant state of fear and terror, seeking peace where none can be found.
The seeker of enlightenment must acknowledge the cold, hard truth or everything around them concerning ignorance and suffering and that by and large, they are also ignorant and in a mode of suffering. This is the beginning of enlightenment. After recognizing this, one then must seek out ways to end personal suffering and not to create suffering for others where possible. One must avoid doing deliberate harm to others. We must also acknowledge our own propensity to lust, greed, anger, lying, violence and the like. There will be many on the way that will seek to dissuade you; being of “a more practical and material mind”. This is not to say that the materialist approach is invalid, as to say that one should not center themselves on materialistic concerns. For all intents and purposes we function in a material world and have material based needs as a result but should not obsess over it, especially to the extent where others are denied theirs so you can attempt to satiate your lust for ever more. This kind of obsession has ultimately led to all the evils and woes of the imperialist capitalist order and all other tyrannies where a few hoard almost everything and most people are forced to share what little is left. What's more, the lust of wealth leads to destruction of useful things in order to increase profit at the expense of others who end up suffering from this abuse. Some people are even too poor in material needs to survive in a material context and are also denied the possibility for self enlightenment in the process; being too caught up in mere survival of the body and/or death from lack of necessities though readily available. This order of things has more to do with using harm and pain to control others all based on greed. We have even been told “That greed is good”. But this is not true because in order to have someone else share, you have to take steps to take it from them and this is where coercion enters the picture. Coercion has escalated to the point of weapons of mass destruction and genocide of entire peoples and innocent species not directly involved in the struggle between people. The spiritual seeker should never consider of use coercion for this is ultimately a step to greed or lust and a form of ignorance in expression. Indeed, if this coercion is resisted by another, it can lead to anger and violence. These are all ingredients of preventable suffering.
Let's look at some cold facts. The bailout of the banks and CEO's in the US has reached about 700 billion (mid 2009). The war in Iraq and Afghanistan has cost about 680 billion (mid 2009) so far. These have been paid out of taxes paid by working people. Only 3 billion has been spent on feeding hungry children in the school program in N. America and this does not come out of tax revenue, but from the same people whose taxes that pay for the bailouts and war costs, because “welfare as we know it has ended” and what we have is wealth-care instead. This single fact has inspired the various rebellions world wide. The support is expected from and comes from the people and not the tax revenue. Comparatively speaking, feeding hungry children is a compassionate act, whereas war that maims and kills children is a heinous act. With a 3 to 680 ratio, or .004 compassion ratio compared to a 99 percent plus rate of injury to others, we can gauge the rate and nature of ignorance. The approximate divide is 99.6 percent evil to .4 percent good. This is just in this area of comparison. It tells us a lot concerning how we treat one another and that we ere on the side of doing far more harm as opposed to compassion and healing; over two hundred to one. That is more than two hundred acts of evil to one act of good. These evil acts are done in the name of gain, disguised as good and democracy, not for the people, but those seeking power and wealth at the expense of everyone else. They are even done in the name of God or gods, the epitome of good and compassion. What ignorance! What contradiction! It is irrational logic at its peak.
Even if you are aware of this and practice spiritual living, most are not and do not practice spiritual living and will view you as strange, preferring pseudo mystics, gurus and practitioners than the real item. Everyone likes to hear about and practice some form of spiritual oriented exercise without the acts such as compassion and personal sacrifice that go with real spirituality. There have been and are pop gurus and pop fads that seem spiritual, but that is where it ends. This forms the majority of readily available spirituality and does little to alleviate suffering for anyone. It goes far to make the sellers of this brand of spirituality a large profit, while doing little to alleviate suffering. Real spirituality is a discipline that requires constant attention and application. Real spirituality often is involved with correcting problems that are encountered in the world that cause suffering and misery. This can mean becoming involved in political struggle, something that some people who claim spirituality say is not spiritual; even anti-spiritual.
Foreknowing life also means being aware of cycles and preparing in advance when the evil or suffering part of a cycle approaches again. Once more we are confronted with remembering the past and how it influences the present and future. To be ignorant of history is to repeat old errors and not to move on to a more aware condition and that is one of the requirements for spiritual advancement.
There are ways to concentrate and remember the path chosen in order to obtain insight and resolve to end suffering both for yourself and any that you may project on others witting and unwittingly. Knowing that one is ignorant is enough to cause an enquiry to find the truth. The truth is that we all have desires such as lust, greed and anger that can drive us to harmful ways unless controlled.
Compassion and empathy are two characteristics of the knowledgeable spiritually practising person. It is written that Jesus was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. He practised feeding the hungry, healing the sick, clothing and sheltering the poor, stopping the storm and consoling the oppressed among many other acts. In another area of the world about 400 years ago, guru Ram Das started the practice of feeding the poor in mass and this continues to this day where followers feed the poor in communities around the world. To be empathetic by identity with the suffering of others is to generate compassion and the wish to guide others out of suffering individually and collectively. To build a better society, this must be extended and expressed be each and everyone to all others. Even the most hard boiled person must change, or the world will remain as it has for the extent of civilization so far; brutal, torturous and murdering. Gentle instruction comes not from coercion and terror, but by example, and that is what the leader of spiritual knowledge must do; to act in compassion to eliminate the one form of pain we can prevent by not acting out the expression of causing suffering of all kinds to others. This is what is meant by the yogi's path of not doing harm.