MANY have to "hit rock bottom" as a result addictions or other types of major shocks to the system ("shipwrecks") which completely shatter worldviews & self-concepts, forcing them to construct far wiser, shock-proof worldviews & self-concepts from scratch.
SOME of us continuously observe our internal dialogue, and realize how self-talk keeps us sleepwalking through life, & then we feel the urge WAKE UP and start LIVING deliberately.
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” Henry David Thoreau
“The only real purpose of being here on this earth is to learn or to re-remember our original nature state of no limitations.” Lester Levenson
“The only service you can do for anyone (including yourself) is to remind them of their true nature.” Stephen Levine
When we relax, when we really let go of every conceivable mental & physical contracted armoring; let go of every anxious urge to do something, go somewhere, be someone, etc; when we allow ourselves to become as silent & still as possible; and IF this peaceful state doesn't frighten us, & we now deeply listen to the most delicately subtle sense of aliveness within, THAT ephemeral, untouchable, undefinable, spark of vitality is - imho - who / what we actually are. One wisdom tradition advises: "Rest in 'I am' before 'I am' becomes anything."
Imho, this spark of life has LITTLE to do with our personal fears, neuroses, preferences, "must haves" & "must avoids" - superficial, transient nonsense we typically (wrongly) assume is who we are. Imho, our ultimate identity has EVERYTHING to do with our transpersonal Buddha-nature, Great Spirit, Brahman, Tao, Yahweh, God, Allah, Primordial Source, The Light, Love, Loving Intelligence, Self, Unified Field, "The Force" (Star Wars), etc.
“The term 'perennial philosophy' was coined by Agostino Steuco (1497-1548) and refers to a fourfold realization:
(1) there is only one Reality (call it, among other names, God, Mother, Tao, Allah, Dharmakaya, Brahman, or Great Spirit) that is the source & substance of all creation;
(2) that while each of us is a manifestation of this Reality, most of us identify with something much smaller, that is, our culturally conditioned individual ego;
(3) that this identification with the smaller self gives rise to needless anxiety, unnecessary suffering, and cross-cultural competition and violence; and
(4) that peace, compassion, & justice naturally replace anxiety, needless suffering, competition, and violence when we realize our true nature as a manifestation of this singular Reality.
The great sages & mystics of every civilization throughout human history have taught these truths in the language of their time and culture. It is the universality and timelessness of this wisdom that makes it the perfect focus for the spiritually independent seeker."
Rami Shapiro. “Perennial Wisdom for the Spiritually Independent.” SkyLight Paths, 2013.
“The two extreme worldviews are probably represented by materialism and the perennial philosophy, the central core of understanding common to the great religions. The materialistic perspective suggests that life and consciousness are accidental byproducts of matter, and that their evolution is driven by the interplay of random events and the instinct for survival. The purpose of human life and evolution is solely what humanity decides it is.
The perennial philosophy, which lies at the heart of the great wisdom traditions & religions and is increasingly said to represent their deepest thinking, suggests that consciousness is central and its development is the primary goal of existence. This development will culminate in the condition variously known in different traditions as enlightenment, liberation, salvation, moksha, or satori.
The descriptions of this condition show remarkable similarities across cultures & centuries. Its essence is the recognition that the distortions of our usual state of mind are such that we have been suffering from a case of mistaken identity. Our true nature is something much greater, an aspect of a universal consciousness, Self, Being, Mind, or God. The awakening to this true nature, claimed a Zen master, is ‘the direct awarenesss that you are more than this puny body or limited mind. Stated negatively, it is the realization that the universe is not external to you. Positively, it is experiencing the universe as yourself.’ … Typical is the claim by an Englishman that to realize our true identity is to ‘find that the I, one’s real, most intimate self, pervades the universe and all other beings. That the mountains, and the sea, and the stars are a part of one’s body, and that one’s soul is in touch with the souls of all creatures.’ Nor are such descriptions the exclusive province of mystics. They have been echoed by philosophers, psychologists, & physicists. ‘Out of my experience … one final conclusion dogmatically emerges,’ said the great American philosopher William James (1960). ‘There is a continuum of cosmic consciousness against which our individuality builds but accidental forces, and into which our several minds plunge as into a mother sea.’
From this perspective, evolution is a vast journey of growing self-awareness and a return to our true identity. Our current crises are seen as expressions that arise from our mistaken identity. But they can also be seen as self-created challenges that may speed us on our evolutionary journey toward ultimate self-recognition.”
Roger Walsh. "Human survival: A psychoevolutionary analysis." ReVision 1985; 8: 7-10. (available for free on the web)
“… there is one, indivisible, unborn, ultimate reality beyond time & space, name & form. The discovery of this reality as our own true nature is the real opportunity, possibility and purpose of human existence. … suffering & delusion (is) caused by ignorance of the real Self.” Mooji
“Without a global revolution in the sphere of human consciousness, nothing will change for the better in the sphere of our being as humans, and the catastrophe towards which this world is headed - be it ecological, social, demographic or a general breakdown of civilization - will be unavoidable. . .
The salvation of this human world lies nowhere else than in the human heart, in the human power to reflect, in human meekness and in human responsibility.”
Vaclav Havel, address to the U.S. congress, when he was President of the Czech Republic (1993-2003)
“Survival and fully being alive & fully living are not the same thing.”
Gabor Mate https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2cJb1QeMIQ a truly EXCEPTIONAL interview!