Are we physical beings in search of a spiritual reality, or, are we spiritual beings in search of a physical reality? How we answer that question for ourselves can make a world of difference in how we understand and conduct our lives. For each of us how we answer that question will depend upon our experiences, what we have been exposed to intellectually, and how aware we are of ourselves. We each do our best, by design or by default, to answer that question to the best of our ability and as honestly as we can. Why? Because it does matter. In as intimate and pervasive a way as any question we will ever face. And one way or another, operationally if not intellectually, again by design or by default, we act upon our understanding…or lack of understanding.
Some might see this question as simply another “What comes first, the chicken or the egg?” type of question. But it is much more than that. How we see ourselves, the values we adopt and act upon, what meaning, if any, we see in our lives can and will be affected by how we perceive ourselves in relation to this question, even if we don’t know this question exists. If we recognize ourselves as primarily or only physical/animal beings we may limit our awareness to the issues that concern only that aspect of our being. If we recognize ourselves as primarily of a spiritual nature that opens up more dimensions of awareness and considerations. Ultimately, we all answer this question with our actions. Yet, while we get to decide what operational definition we are going to work with, we don’t get to decide the reality itself. So, in that way also our decision matters; will we be working in harmony with our actual reality or not? It’s a big decision with many ramifications. I can’t make it for you nor you for me. However, I can share the answer I have arrived at.
We are spiritual beings striving to understand and make a place within a physical reality. We exist before we incarnate here and we will exist after our body has stopped working. And if we don’t like the place and conditions within which we find ourselves, we may try somewhere else the next time. However, unlike simply trying on coats at a store, what we do while we’re checking out our life and environment matters. We matter. You and me, we both matter. We both affect our own and each other’s reality with the actions we perform. We both can and will set energy in motion with our lives. We are, in actuality, co-creating our world. We can either choose to work together, recognizing the mutuality of our plight, enhancing one another’s efforts, or we can choose to work in opposition.
If we choose the latter, to work in opposition we can and will start filling the world with distrust, fear, opposition, stress, friction. In short, we can fill the world with all the things that wear people down physically, mentally and spiritually. Ultimately these attributes diminish both the quality and quantity (longevity) of life for everyone concerned. Does that sound like the goal we should be aiming for? Maybe in the short-run, related to some specific circumstance, there is a purpose to being oppositional. But ultimately, as a long term way of life, it is counterproductive if not suicidal.
It is when we feel safe, loved, able to explore our world, see the beauty in it and care for it and ourselves, it is then we can begin to realize and express the best aspects of our being. It is then we are free and supported in engaging with the world in the most imaginative, constructive and sustaining ways.
In our current world there is much to distract people from imagining how almost unbelievably wonderful the world might be if we put our minds and energies toward working in harmony toward goals of mutual benefit. War, greed, hatred, distrust, envy, and poverty have filled so much of our cultures, so many of our lives. There has never been a time in history when the stakes have been higher for us all on planet Earth. We will receive what we choose to co-create. It’s time to put our energies into harmonious living!
There are many books on this subject. I would like to suggest one that I find especially worthwhile: “Journey of Souls: Case Studies of Life Between Lives” authored by Michael Newton, Ph.D.