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 Blooming Stars

Jeevanmukta – Liberated from Life

            The goal of holistic living is to arrive at the stage of Jeevanmukta (liberated from life’s or worldly ties – samsara-bandhana). One can be Jeevanmukta or free already in this world. Jeevanmukta in this world might be equivalent to Avadhoota (the pure one, most free) in Hinduism or Bodhisatva (the enlightened being) in Buddhism. Both Avadhoota and Bodhisatwa are freed from worldly ties but decide in their compassion to continue in this world to help others become free. When one takes care of this world, the other world or life hereafter will be taken care of automatically. What needs to be done is to engage fully this life which is the only that we know we have, for sure. We need to fully focus on this life. When that is done a good after-life is guaranteed. It is like financial investment for life after gainful employment. If one does that, one will have financial resources for one’s final, and to me, the most important, stage in life. In the final stage the gathering of fruits, a good sense of self, and the final sorting or integration of self-take place. Many, if not most, people are disillusioned, disappointed, depressed, and fragmented in this stage. They have not seen this stage coming; did not want to think about it or have not prepared for it. They see death as an evil that needs to be avoided. In reality they have not accepted death as part of the human condition. Because of this their life ends in despair. Despair is due to the failure of not achieving integrity in the final stage of life according to the eight stages of psycho-social development of a person described by Erick Erickson, a well-known psychologist.

            Life, as it is, is very difficult. The overwhelming percentage of one’s energy, time, and resources is spent on one’s physical well-being. One’s long education generally is a preparation for the physical life, more specifically, a career. One gets a job and spends not only most of one’s life but also the most important years of one’s life to take care of the physical needs of oneself and one’s family. The obvious conclusion from all this is that spirit life has very little importance until, perhaps, the final years of one’s life. What is to be done? The answer is clear. We need to give spirit life the paramount importance. Our spirit life needs to guide and direct all other aspects of our life. All are called to be holy. All can become holy. One becomes free and holy by living the way one should live in a genuine, authentic fashion according to a well-formed conscience. One also becomes a saint by living the way one should live. Ordinary life is not glamorous. One needs not do extraordinary things to be a saint. One does not need canonization to become a saint. Becoming a saint needs to be an ordinary affair as all are called to be saints.

            Going through various stages of life guided by parents, teachers, and great models of humanity, one negotiates difficult terrain, goes through pains and joys, dispenses one’s obligations, and eventually one becomes a guide for others. One blooms wherever one happens to be. One lives life to the full and celebrates life through vicissitudes of life. One’s self fragmented into so many desires, demands, needs, wants, expectations, and hopes are finally put together and integrated as one realizes one’s purpose in life. As one moves through life, the greatest university on earth, one grows in fairness, justice, compassion, freedom, equality, truth, love, unity of humanity, the cultivation of loving kindness (mettabhavana), and, above all, detachment. One becomes aware of the fragility, impermanence, and brevity of human existence. With involved detachment a person becomes free – jeevanmukta – to be a person for others. The more a person is for others the more that person can be for himself/herself.


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