Who are we, and why are we here?
Most religions seem to state that each of us has an eternal soul. My own yoga and meditation practices have strengthened this belief. When I went on a yoga retreat in Mexico back in 2009, by the end of that retreat I felt more than ever like “a soul with a body”, like I was a soul that was currently pushed into this body, something like a human being that’s temporarily inside a mascot at a football game.
So if you look at it from that perspective — (a) that you are a soul that lives forever, with (b) a physical body that lives here on Earth for about 70 or 80 years — an interesting first question is, “Why are we here?”
In fact, many questions come to mind:
- Why are we here?
- Did my soul volunteer to come here, or was it made to come here?
- Is this trip to planet Earth like a vacation, a learning experience, or some sort of penalty?
- Why did I end up attached to this particular body? Again, did I ask for it?
- In regards to time, how much do I know about the selection of this body at birth (or whenever the soul is attached to the body)?
- Is there anything special or pre-ordained about the people I meet in this lifetime, i.e., my parents, my siblings, my friends?
- Where did my soul come from?
- Where does my soul go after this body dies?
- Does my soul really live forever?
- Is the soul made of “pure energy”, or is there any physical component to it? (This question comes from some of my own experiences.)
- When I meditate deeply and hear sounds and feel other sensations, is that the work of the soul (the “subtle body”), or just something going on in my brain?
- Is there rebirth, or a form of rebirth?
- Am I penalized for acting poorly in this lifetime, or rewarded for acting well?
- Can I be reborn in other ways, and on other planets?
- Why can’t I see the soul? For instance, when someone passes away, we don’t seem to physically see the soul depart from the body. (Though before my grandfather died, I was quite sure that his soul was already gone.)
- Is the soul the same thing as the “energy body” or “second body” we refer to in OBE practice, or the “vajra body” that I’ll discuss below?
If you change your perspective to think that you are a soul with a temporary, physical body here on Earth, these questions and many more come to mind.
Unfortunately my physical body here on Earth says that I’m out of time for today, but I’ll return to this topic in the future.
Note on the “vajra body”
Before I go, I want to note that these thoughts were in part inspired by reading a book titled, “Introduction to Tantra,” last night. On page 99 of the 2001 version of that book the author discusses the “vajra body,” which, combined with other current events in my life, made me think these thoughts and come up with these questions.
An interesting side effect of what I wrote above is that I can now greet people differently. If only to myself, when I meet people on the street I can say, “Hello fellow soul, how are you? Have we met before? Were you my good friend in another lifetime? Or maybe my mother, or my son, or my daughter? Are you enjoying your visit here on earth as a human being?”
In any event, if I take on the feeling that I am a soul who temporarily has this physical body here on Earth, I’m going to try to enjoy my stay here, to treat this like a vacation, or at least treat this time as an adventurer/explorer.