In the first pages of his novel, Illusions, Richard Bach tells the story of some water creatures. These creatures spend their entire lifetime clinging to some object under water. Once they saw a creature of their species floating along on the surface of the river. They thought it was a miracle. They thought the creature was their messiah. They requested the messiah to save them by working a miracle. The floating creature asked them to leave their clinging and they would discover new meanings which would save them. But the creatures continued to cling… And they made legends (myths?) about the messiah.
We, human beings, spent our whole lifetime clinging. Clinging to wealth, power, acclaim, love, freedom/independence, fun… We may cling to one or more of these. And hence fail to see new meanings, miracles, in life.
We can choose not to cling. The first step would be to define clearly and concretely the object of our clinging. Don’t define it in abstract terms like success. Ask further: success in what? Or why do I want that success? Slowly we’ll discover that we cling to one of the things mentioned in the list above (with a few exceptions).
Now, go a step further. Ask: why do I need this particular thing (wealth or power or whatever it is to which we are clinging). How much do I need it? Is it really making me happy? Will it go on keeping me happy?
Even love is not an essential condition for happiness. Let alone wealth, power, etc. It’s good if we can love others and be loved by them. Life can be meaningful even if we can’t love others and are not loved by them.
Life can be meaningful without power, wealth, etc. [Not in absolute terms. Many of these things can come in handy at times!]
If an exercise like this, which may take weeks or months to practise, can lead us to the realisation that we really don’t need anything much to be happy in life, many new windows will open up in our view. New ways of looking at life, at other people, at objects…
That’s how the clinging ends.
It’s then that the scriptures acquire new meanings for us. Personal meanings. It’s then that the scriptures can guide us genuinely and meaningfully. [What is true of the scriptures may be more true of literature, art, music, etc.] Religion will then stop to be a divisive factor in society. Life will become more resplendent…
Note: This blog is an answer to a fundamental question raised by the previous post. I shall not state the question, however.