January 8, 2017 Editor

Meaning and Relationship



by Kim Nataraja

Each one of us is born with the knowledge at a deep level of or being what the meaning of our life is. But this meaning cannot be accessed by the discursive mind. It can only be found in the silence of contemplative prayer. We then experientially and through our intuitive intelligence discover this meaning, which was always present in the ground of our being, where we are in union with Divine Love. This experiential knowledge then permeates our whole being and our relationship with others and creation. As Laurence Freeman says in Jesus the Teacher Within: “By love we are reintegrated into the community of the universe where we belong.” (p.253)

This way of being is not even dependent on one’s outer circumstances. Victor Frankl in his book Man’s Search for Meaning describes a situation in the concentration camp where he was during World War Two: “We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread… The sort of person the prisoner became was the result of an inner decision.” An inner decision that was based on the felt experience of Divine Love at their centre despite the awful circumstances. This connection with the Source gave them the freedom to choose how to act as a truly human being despite everything that surrounded them. This is true freedom, which gives meaning and purpose to everything we do and everything we are. It is always most evident in our relationships with others and creation. John Main too emphasized the importance of this attitude in The Inner Christ:  “Only when we live in and from love do we know that miraculous harmony and integration of our whole being which makes us fully human.”

Unfortunately many do not access this level of their being, as can be seen from all the misery in the world that surrounds us. In fact, what William James said in the early 20th century is still very relevant: “Most people live…in a very restricted circle of their potential being. They make use of a very small portion of their possible consciousness, and of the soul’s resources in general, much like a man, who, out of his whole body organism, should get into the habit of using and moving only his little finger.”

Transformation of our whole being, which includes our attitude and opinions, is the most important stage in our life and is especially of benefit to others and the world we live in. By changing our opinions we change ourselves and by changing ourselves we can change the world. The most effective way to do so in my own experience is to meditate and to make others aware of the role meditation can play in their life. When the emphasis is on meditation as a spiritual practice rather than a way of dealing with the stresses of contemporary life, it will become a path to self-knowledge and consequently allows a growth into our full potential.  John Main says in Word into Silence: “The task we have is to find our way back to our creative centre, where wholeness and harmony are realized, to dwell within ourselves, leaving behind all the false images of ourselves such as what we think we are or what we think we might have been, because these have an unreal existence outside of us.”

This transformation is not becoming another person but becoming the one you already truly are. As Jung said in Civilisation in Transition: “To the constantly reiterated question ‘What can I do?’ I know no other answer except: ‘Become what you have always been’, namely, the wholeness which we have lost in the midst of our civilized conscious existence, a wholeness which we always were without knowing it.”

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Wayne Northey was Director of Man-to-Man/Woman-to-Woman – Restorative Christian Ministries (M2/W2) in British Columbia, Canada from 1998 to 2014, when he retired. He has been active in the criminal justice arena and a keen promoter of Restorative Justice since 1974. He has published widely on peacemaking and justice themes. You will find more about that on this website: a work in progress.

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