“Happiness is the product of wisdom. To attain perfect wisdom, to comprehend fully the purpose of life, to realise completely the relationship of human beings to each other, is to put an end to all suffering, to escape every ill and evil that afflicts us. Perfect wisdom is unshadowed joy.”

Ignorance is not bliss

Life can be pretty tough sometimes. And even if we aren’t directly affected by natural disasters or political uprisings, we all suffer in our own ways. One minute we’re happy and the next we’re dealing with poverty, disease, alienation, or even death. Perhaps Hobbes was right when he said life was nasty, brutish, and short!

But this isn’t true. “It is the natural right of every human being to be happy,” writes LW Rogers in Self-Development and the Way to Power. “Happiness is the normal condition, as natural as the landscapes and the seasons. It is unnatural to suffer and it is only because of our ignorance that we do suffer.”

The reason this powerful truth is often unknown is because we lack “the spiritual illumination that alone can light the way and enable us to move safely among the obstacles that lie before us”. Much like walking through a long dark room with furniture in the way isn’t hard if the lights are on, our journey through life becomes comfortable and swift when we are spiritually evolved.

Evolution marches on

“Whatever is not used finally ceases to be. In plain language, apathy, inaction, idleness, uselessness, is the road to degeneration. On the other hand, aspiration and activity mean growth, development, power.”

Human evolution has given us the five senses through which knowledge can be gained. But this isn’t the end of the road. Since our physical bodies are only a small part of our entire being, the next step is for us to develop the sixth sense. Few have begun the process and fewer still will progress very far. Most will remain completely unaware because the old method of education (filling the mind with facts in order to polish the personality) is not enough.

In other words, there are two ways to progress on the evolutionary journey from “spiritual infancy to godlike power and perfection”. Most do so unconsciously (submitting to “nature’s whip and spur”) while others consciously choose to work with nature so the process is quicker. Unfortunately, most spiritual lives are in a state of atrophy because the concern for only material affairs means no thought is given to higher things. Evolution marches on and many are left behind.

Developing the dormant abilities we all possess requires systematic and consistent work. Nobody would expect to become physically strong by watching other people exercise and spiritual development is no different. Our progress will be in exact proportion to the conscious effort we make. There are no shortcuts and there is no other way.

“The universe is a training school for evolving intelligence — a vast gymnasium for the development of moral fibre. We become mentally clever by playing at the game of life. We match our courage against its adversities and acquire fearlessness. We try our optimism against its disappointments and learn cheerfulness. We pit our patience against its failures and gain persistence. We are torn from the pinnacle of ambition by opponents and learn toleration of others. We fall from the heights of vanity and pride, and learn to be modest and humble. We encounter pain and sorrow and learn sympathy with suffering. It is only by such experiences that we can grow to rounded measure. It is only in an environment thus adapted to our spiritual development that we can evolve the latent powers within us.”

Author's Bio: 

I have been an active writer for well over a decade and published my first book in August 2007. This marked the start of Varsity Blah, a personal development blog that has now received over 250 000 hits from almost 130 countries worldwide. The best entries have been compiled into my latest book, which was reviewed on Authonomy.com: “This is some very insightful stuff… The way the book is structured, paired with your capabilities of drawing great narrative, leads this on the right path. This cleanses the mind.”

I share my love for reading and personal development by publishing book summaries and reviews every week at www.eugeneyiga.com. So make sure you subscribe to free alerts or follow me on Twitter to be notified when I do.