Additionally, I've decided to make a change to The Five Gifts prior to publishing. I now talk about pure awareness as simply The Gift of Awareness. Since awareness surrounds and permeates the other koshas (layers), this gift of awareness contains, holds and empowers the physical body, the life energy field, and the mind-space. This change in language is intended to convey that awareness both contains and includes thought, and expands beyond it. Beginning with this post, I'm using this new language in my writing.
Remember that you can still download an unpublished draft at www.lifeflowyoga.com/the5gifts.htm. I'd love to here your feedback. Thanks for joining me on this journey of exploration.
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Here's an insight that came to me in my meditation one morning. I have long believed that each of us, and everything around us, is here for a purpose. The divine universe is field of intention; not just a series of fortunate accidents. I can't, of course, prove this. But, my spiritual experience can't be explained any other way.
So, if everything is for a purpose, why are we given these gifts? I don't pretend to know or understand the intent of the universe. I don't think it is possible to know, as long as we are in this form. However, we can explore the five gifts, and understand in a broad sense, what each is given us for.
Why are we given the Gift of the Physical Body?
The physical body is a gift, a collection of atoms and molecules, structures and physical "stuff" that is ours to use. This body is how we interact with the world - how we do. The intent of the physical body is for doing, for action.
We are each given a body so we can act in the world. The atoms and molecules that makeup this body come and go, and we don't have control over this. Yet, we are each free to act with this body. The physical world responds to the actions of our bodies. Our actions have impact on the world.
It seems to me that the universe is not dictating how we act in the world. We can choose actions that bring joy and happiness to ourselves and others. Or, we can make war with the world, as many people do. We can even choose to do nothing.
The universe is not telling us what to do. Our actions, however, have consequences (in Sanskrit, this is called kharma). The world around us responds to our doing and we must live with these outcomes.
Why are we given the Gift of Life?
Life is an energy that flows through and animates all living things, including our bodies. Life organizes the processes that keep the atoms and molecules and structures of the body alive. And it is through this gift of life that we experience the world.
The intention of the gift of life is experience. The life energy surrounds and permeates the physical body. Within this energy system is the processing of all sensory input in our experience, as well as the emotional responses that govern our experience. Our experience, in other words, is the experience of life itself.
This may sound simplistic, yet it is quite profound. We are intended to experience the world. And we are given this wonderful gift of life so we can have this experience.
Why are we given the Gift of Thought?
Sometimes thought doesn't feel much like a gift. The mind can chatter on and on, and my thinking can be muddled and negative. This happens when I'm allow thoughts to happen without awareness, instead of taking an active role in the process of thinking.
We are intended to think, and we are given the gift of thought for this reason. We do not always have control of what thoughts enter into our minds, but we have the ability to choose what thoughts we dwell on, and which ones we let go.
In The Five Gifts, I describe the gift of thought as a tool with four uses: discerning, describing, designing and deciding. These four Ds, as I call them, represent the intention of the gift of thought. We are given this gift so we can use it to discern and describe the world we experience, design our life and decide on our actions and words.
Why are we given the Gift of Awareness?
In my modeling, we are given the gift of awareness for two reasons. The first intention is existence, or being. Awareness is the field within which all of the other gifts we receive come into being. Each of us is like a wave of awareness rising up on the ocean of consciousness. Awareness is what allows the "wave" to exist.
The second intention is that we use this gift of awareness to guide our use of the other gifts. When we are centered in the gift of awareness, our awareness guides our thinking. Awareness-guided thinking, in turn, guides our experience, which, in turn, guides our action.
Another key intention of this gift is that, through awareness, we connect with the divine source. Awareness is the gateway to God. We are meant to know our source, for this is at the core of knowing ourselves. And, though awareness, we experience the intention of the divine itself.
Why are we given the Gift of Divine Consciousness?
Einstein once said, "I want to know the thoughts of God." This impulse to understand the intention of the divine source is, I think, universal. Unfortunately, as finite beings, we cannot fully understand the infinite. We can only make our best guess of what the divine intention is.
Two things I know about the divine source. One is that, when we connect to divine conscousness, through awareness, love and joy come to us and through us into the world. We are intended to experience joy, and to share divine love with each other.
What's more, when we are aligned with source, our process of manifesting in the world flows with ease and grace. So, we know the divine intent, indirectly, through the joy and flow of grace in our lives.
Ultimately, we could say that we are intended to experience joy and love.