February 21st, 2014

Rabbi Shapiro Explains Perennial Philosophy, Part Five. Question Four: How Shall I Live?

Never value anything as profitable to yourself

which shall compel you to break your promise,

to lose your self–respect,

to hate any person,

to suspect, to curse, to act the hypocrite,

to desire anything which needs walls and curtains:

for the person who has preferred to everything intelligence

and spirit and the worship of its excellence,

acts no tragic part, does not groan,

will not need either solitude or much company;

and, what is chief of all, will live without either pursuing or flying from death.

(Marcus Aurelius, Meditations)

Question Four: How Shall I Live?

Collapse )

Rabbi Shapiro Explains Perennial Philosophy, Part Six - Question Five: Why?

I almost dropped the question Why?... because it is ... distracting ...

Asking Who am I? leads us to the realization that we are so much more than the smaller self can imagine, and as we come to see ourselves as the many faces of the singular Self, we are freed from the fear and anxiety the small self suffers, and the ignorance, arrogance, and violence that often comes from that fear and anxiety.

Asking Where did I come from? awakens us to the interdependence of all the living in the singular process of the Life that is all life. And as we awaken to our shared origins we realize our shared responsibility for person and planet.

Asking Where am I going? shows us that we arise in and return to our truest Self, that there is nothing to fear regarding death, and because we are free to die fearlessly we are free to live courageously in service to universal justice and compassion.

Asking How shall I live? offers us a compass that allows us to continually adjust our walk so that we are always moving toward justice and compassion.

But what does asking Why? do for us? I’m not sure it does anything at all. Or at least nothing essential. In fact, asking Why? might distract us from all that we have learned thus far...

Question Five: Why?

But he continued with the question anyway and what he says interested me.