Exploring the symbiotic relationship between self-awareness and dynamic progress, shaping a purposeful and meaningful life journey
The two phenomenal constituents of life are consciousness and movement. These two pour forth meaning in one’s life. They make it vivacious and invigorate the spirit to live with every passing day. Consciousness drives the movement of life and the latter expands and emboldens the former. Both are complementary. The division between the two makes both invalid stunting the growth and development of a human being. Consciousness can be self, social, economical, moral or religious depending on the status quo of a human being, particularly the social status quo. The best consciousness is self-consciousness as it ignites the awareness of the origin of a human being, his destiny and the movement of his life.
Hazrat Ali said, “May God bless him who knows where he has come from, where he is and where he goes”. It is self-consciousness that seeks the answer to these three biggest queries to eliminate dormancy and drive one’s life to movement. Thought governs action but it is meaningless until it is practised to give form to the formless, thought. God has hidden himself in the layers of human consciousness but blessed it intrinsically with the urge and instinct to seek the hidden, explore His existence and demonstrate His teachings in the movement of life. Once the consciousness is directed to the self, it begins to unfold itself in mysterious ways stunning a human being to see what he never saw or thought he possessed. The new discoveries are outlandish but consciousness knows their familiarity as it had been introduced to them in the world of particles.
William Wordsworth says that the engagement of the world blurs the conception of God from the consciousness. The light and the vision of preexistence slip from the memory post-birth. Recollection and reflection rekindle it and help human beings to remind themselves and understand their position in relation to the bigger world in front of them. Besides other things, knowledge and experience work together to develop this consciousness or mostly it remains unexplored until one dies. Conscious human beings develop an understanding of the world that ushers pain and suffering into their lives. Pain and suffering are the outcome of understanding the true ephemeral nature of life and the world. Thinking deeply about the movement of one’s life makes one despaired because consciousness and movement do not accord. There is a separation and this separation is tumultuous because the divinely enjoined obligations remain unaccomplished making one’s life meaningless. But the dichotomy is that without pain and suffering, the consciousness is unachievable and the understanding of the world with its help is unobtainable.
Fyodor Dostoevsky says, “For broad understanding and deep feeling, you need pain and suffering. I believe really great men must experience great sadness in the world”. Self-consciousness does not come gratis. One is required to pay a huge price for it. It may lead to social boycotts, tortures, incarcerations, excommunications, arson to one’s house, murder attempts and bans. A life full of movement astounds people. The growth of new understanding is not welcome by the people. You are slighted if you say or do anything inverse to the ingrained customs and traditions of society. Perceiving everything in novel ways, and interpreting things in new dimensions frightens people and maybe they declare you apostate as usually happens. People hate efforts and endeavours and love stagnation and torpidity. The surge of comprehension in different unexplored aspects of a human being disturbs the sham composure of the conservative society.
Shaheed Mutahhari quotes in his famous book, “The Revival of Islamic Thought” the logic of a railway train. When the train is stationary, small kids go near it and play with it. They are happy. But once the train starts moving, the same kids begin chasing it and pelting stones on it. They hate movement. It creates a stir among them. Shaheed Mutahhari calls the separation of consciousness and movement the main cause of the fall of Islamic thought and the pathetic circumstances of Muslims worldwide. Developing self-consciousness breaks the barriers of self. One transcends and gains access to higher realms and understands their patterns of existence. The unison of consciousness and movement is the vindication of one’s good character. Self-conscious human beings remain surrounded by perils every time. He has a keen political, social and religious awareness of the matters and remains the target of everyone. He challenges socially constructed false values and pays a great price for this challenge. Consciousness and movement make the transformation of life possible. Man realizes that it is inevitable and strives to adapt himself to the new challenges of life. The new demands of time seek his change to befit the new circumstances and survival challenges. We must be conscious of ourselves and the outside world. We must be conscious of how this world can be left behind better than we received it. We must put vigorous efforts to unite consciousness and movement to make our lives enthusiastic and worthy of living. We should always remember the life-invigorating dictum of Alfred Lord Tennyson, “to strive, to seek, to find and not to yield”.
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