Compass of the Times 170
Compass of the Times 170
To Move Forward
There Is No Limit to Inner Development
May is a month with refreshing breezes. In spring, lives that have been quiet during winter begin their activities and release their power all at once. It is a season of life that manifests in explosive development. I hope that you are also experiencing a “life that is developing” when surrounded by fresh young greenery.
If we think about it, the ability to develop is the main feature of human life. It is not an exaggeration to say that “humans are beings that always develop.”
For example, in terms of our body, the size of a fertilized ovum is about 0.1 mm, and it weighs 3 micrograms. It develops in the womb to the size of 50 cm and 3,000 grams when born. Furthermore, considering the average Japanese, it develops to 160-170 cm and 50-65 kg by adulthood.
Calculation shows that the ratio of development in the womb is 500-fold in size and 1 billion-fold in weight. This further expands up to 1,500-fold in size and 20 billion-fold in weight by the time we become adult.
We can say that our body accomplishes astronomical development.
Furthermore, the development of the mind-heart and the soul another element of the human being, the spiritual dimension, is
even greater than that of physical development.
Physical development starts from fertilization. After birth, the newborn grows to become an adult. This growth mostly comes to an end in our mid-twenties and senile decay gradually begins. In other words, our physical development stops after we reach the peak of our twenties.
On the other hand, what about our inner development?
It never ceases to end. Even after passing our twenties when our body stops developing, our mind-heart and soul continue to develop and progress.
This journey of life is one through which we seek and accomplish our purpose and mission. In that process, we learn about ourselves and our relationship with the world, as well as how to bond with others and deal with things. If expressed in the terminology of the Study of the Soul1, we are going to acquire and deepen the Three Paramitas (Wisdoms) of development, of interaction, and of actualization, according to our own situation or condition.
This is the process that continues to deepen as long as we live, and it is our soul which is the essence of our self, that continues to develop even after our physical body dies.
To Live the Dynamism of Remorse and Aspiration
Then what kind of force is it that drives this inner development and progress, the force that propels us forward? I would like to refer to one such force this month.
When we assert a certain goal through the feeling, “I can’t think of anything else but this,” we inevitably gain a strong driving force
to reach our goal. When we hold an aspiration such as “I want to accomplish this by any means,” we are then able to overcome various obstacles.
The more we clarify our purposes and aspirations, the more it becomes clear that obstacles and problems are merely part of the conditions necessary to fulfill them. The reason why ascertaining our purposes and aspirations becomes the major step beyond anything else in the Study of the Soul is that everything begins from there.
It is true that setting firm purposes and aspirations do not lead us to their fulfillment by a natural course. Rather, there may be many cases that we fail to accomplish them because of our shortcomings or immaturity, or perhaps due to sudden accident or unexpected deterioration of conditions. We will then be tormented by the feeling of remorse at such time.
It does not necessarily mean that remorse is bad. However, it is essential to avoid falling into the cycle of remorse in which we repeat the feeling of remorse over and over again.
Nonetheless, when we face a reality for which a feeling of remorse is appropriate, it is important to savor the remorsefulness to its fullest. Then, by observing our mind-heart, we reflect back on the relationship between our mind-heart and reality. We transform our remorse into aspiration precisely because we instill our remorse deep within us.
Living the dynamism of transformation — from aspiration to remorse, from remorse to aspiration — will become the force to move us forward.
1. The Study of the Soul
It is the perspective that grasps our lives from the dimension of the soul. It also refers to the system of the truth, the Divine Truth, that permeates every aspect of the human soul and the world. As opposed to the study of phenomena that is directed at the tangible world, the Study of the Soul is an investigation of all things, including the formless and intangible world (excerpted and summarized from page 3 of The Reason Why You Were Born as You).