Truth is One, although people call it by many names. The world’s religions honor prophets, messengers and/or incarnations: Krishna, Moses, Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad, and others throughout the ages. They have all sought to bring people closer to the divine. In the mystical tradition of religions, we can directly experience the divine in this life by giving up our ego and individuality to be in the soul, then consciously sharing in the unitive divine essence.
Spiritual liberation is the final objective, yet it must be sought in stages. Our attachment to our outer self, and its interaction with the external world, blinds us to the serenity of experiencing our inner self flowing within the universal whole. Few people are aware that the divine essence is the essence of All. That art Thou, the divine is in you, is a declaration of many scriptures; most mystics believe that essence to be the ultimate, eternal Reality. It is here and now.
Our inner self, or soul, is far more real than our ego self, which is cloaked in various names, shapes and circumstances. Someone’s full name, their outward description and occupation tells very little about the true nature of the person. Also, many people often use external means to contemplate the divine: sacred scriptures, houses of worship, shrines, or sacred art forms. They can provide a light to guide us away from mundane concerns for survival, satisfaction and success; still none of them can entirely convey the spiritual Reality of the divine. Physical and mental appearances can be restricting.
It is not easy to leave the countless attractions of the material world nor the myriad of thoughts in the mind. Most religions use chanting, singing, dancing, recitation, and/or prayer to help us put aside our worldly activities to temporarily focus on the divine. Simple meditation can bring us centering inner peace. Our ego self then returns us to the limited realities perceived by our senses and minds to interact with our physical and social environment.
How can we realize enlightenment, or complete intuitive insight into unity with the divine, in one lifetime when the modern human race has not achieved perfection in 40,000 years (400,000 for Homo sapiens)? Many people believe in only a single life, which might qualify us for an eternal afterlife. Others think we must live through numerous lives until we are in conscious oneness with the divine.
Why were we each born with our individual attributes, family and place? Those who believe in rebirth can easily understand that our circumstances at birth result from our conduct in a past life. Many persons call seeming good fortune and bad luck divine will. Others name it divine justice, the consequences or reactions caused by our own actions in this or previous lives. Some scientists say it is chance.
Many mystics view this life as theater. Following divine law we must perform according to our script, but only to please the divine, the producer and director, not for the applause of the audience or the praise of fellow actors. People usually act to achieve personal benefits and believe their characters and the play are reality. Our ultimate goal is to be aware of universal Reality as the true stage of life, released from attachment to our fictitious human roles.