You've no doubt heard of the old tale that trouble comes in groups of three? Well, I had three messages this week (and within the space of three days) which may not be "trouble" in themselves, but possibly indicate something of what we might be doing more of. That is, reflecting on what's really what.
The first was while innocently watching a BBC TV quiz programme called 'Pointless'. Now in this programme, a list of questions was asked of the contestants related to Charles Dickens' "Christmas Carol". And one particular question seemed to be the trigger for the other two messages I was to receive; the question was "What was the last dream scene that Scrooge was taken to by the Spirit?". The answer, of course, was the isolated grave of Scrooge himself, with a simple headstone revealing nothing about his life.
Now the second message that came to me was at a wedding, when I met a relative by marriage who, like me, is retired. He is an Asian by birth who had been a practising Anglican Christian until recently, he now having decided that he no longer believed in a God, but is now an Evolutionist. Well, good luck to him, everyone is entitled to their own philosophy.
The third message was at the same wedding, during its rituals. It was a Hindu wedding and the priest officiating was very helpful to those attending by explaining everything that happened as he went. At one point there was a ritual relating to the four aims on which a householder's life should be based: a disciplined life (dharma), desire for (right) achievement (kaama), pursuit of (right) wealth (artha) and spiritual liberation (moksha).
Now, to bring these three 'messages' together.
The third (last) message - to me - is a reminder that life needs to have spiritual meaning, for without it one can be blown in all kinds of directions. That fact that there are four such aims seems also to indicate that the admixture of these should be in balance, otherwise too much emphasis on one side can lead to one being unbalanced. The priest pointed this out; the fact is that too often if we follow any such values at all they tend to lurch towards the material in respect of desire and pursuit of wealth, leaving the other two components on one side. This approach will usually lead to great difficulties in our personal lives as well as an affect on the community in which we live.
The second message (about following a non-spiritual belief) would tend to take the person away from a life system containing deeply meaningful aims. Either that or it leaves one to have to find a suitable replacement for it - or, even, to lose a sense of morality. If one rejects the notion of a God then the values defined in a spiritual way of life would tend to be abandoned, or at least followed half-heartedly and without inspiration.
The first message (about the grave) forces us to acknowledge that our sojourn on this planet Earth is brief, and that to live the life satisfactorily means to have followed a sustainable values system. Without such a view, the life opportunity has been wasted.
In short, these messages suggest that a life of sincere spiritual belief and practice is a necessity. Indeed, I would suggest that if a righteous spiritual system were to be sought and followed there would be no wish to look into other ideas or pursue a life of wastefulness.
That's how I see it, with the addition that I see a Big Plan behind all this; the great teachings are too profound, in my view, to indicate anything else.
Thank you for reading this.