Why would stepping into eternity be any more difficult than stepping on to the moon? From earth, man has sent a satellite into the orbit of Mars, several million miles away. Humanity is making tremendous advances in science and technology, especially in new age areas like artificial intelligence, robotics, reality augmentation and cutting-edge healthcare.
Despite these external achievements, as humans, we are still relatively primitive, inwardly. There isn’t substantial progress that can compare with advancements in other fields. Evolution from primates to human beings seems to have happened more in biological terms and not so much in the inner sphere.
Human beings may have raced ahead of plants and other animals in physical survival. Earth and environment are being exploited by human beings for their selfish ends. But within himself, a human being is waging a war – against desire, avarice, violence, greed and envy, to name a few. This inner battle also manifests as an outward battle for power, oneupmanship, supremacy over his fellow humans and other beings, which then becomes the cause for intense violence and competition. Naturally, that takes a toll on peace, calm and happiness, both for the individual and humankind as a whole.
What do we want in our lives – happiness, contentment and inner peace? It is indeed possible to have them, not just for one person or one country, but for the whole world. But how can we get it when we are always torn apart between desire and control, selfishness and sacrifice, joy and sorrow, war and peace?
To go very far, one must begin very near, although it should not be mistaken that psychological evolution is a function of time. By very near, one refers to the relationship that one has with one’s own parents, siblings, grandparents, cousins, neighbours and friends, and with that stranger on the street passing by. How does a person observe the street dog, the green tree with its beautiful branches and its dancing leaves, the vegetable seller pushing his cart and calling out to prospective buyers, the housemaid lost in her daily chore of housekeeping, the beggar, the rich man in his limousine, the blue sky, the sunset, and the twinkling stars?
The very observation of all these without the yearning to change or control them is itself the seed of man’s inner transformation. Eternity and paradise are not billions of miles away, at the edge of the universe. They are right here, at kissing distance, or even closer, within us.
You may visit places of worship, go on pilgrimages and do charity, but you can’t hide your frailties and fallibilities in these acts and call yourself a ‘good, kind-hearted soul’.
Before even asking how to step into eternity or knowing how to get there, is it not important that we keep emptying all the unwanted content of consciousness? This then translates into right behaviour, right action and, right relationships both with other human beings and the earth. You may call this the preliminary state of preparedness.
Once we get to this point, then, the door to eternity may not be too far away and you may even know how to walk to it. Otherwise, we can let our imagination run wild about our notions of eternity and the Ultimate, and they will only be phantasmagoric, not real and substantial.