By Dane Rudhyar
Ancient science most helpful to those who question the purpose or meaning of their lives
Have you ever asked yourself: What am I here for? What am I supposed to be in this life?
If you have, you have begun to live in a new way. You have begun to tap, even if only slightly, the power of your true self. You are on your way to becoming what you are meant to be. It is a long way, a difficult one. One proceeds along this way very gradually, hesitantly; there are usually many setbacks. But it is the only way really worthwhile, really “exciting.” It alone gives significance to life — your life.
It is my deep belief that the function of astrology is to help men and women, who have begun to ask questions concerning the purpose and meaning of their own lives, to find answers to these questions. Astrology has little of real value to offer to people who do not ask such questions. Astrology, for them, is a parlor game or a means to satisfy a more or less idle curiosity as to “what is coming next”, “what is going to happen”. This is all right as far as it goes; but the real function and value of astrology begin only when people ask of astrology rather than “what is going to happen to me”, the far more important questions: How can I find out what I really am? How can I solve the problem which I am bringing to everything that happens to me?
Every individual brings to all the problems of his life the greatest problem of all: himself. We may learn from our parents, teachers, priests or scientists how to meet intelligently this or that particular situation and problem, how to behave according to official and traditional rules of conduct in our family, society, business, clubs. We may learn these rules well and yet make a dismal failure — or a completely meaningless average “success” of the major opportunities and the decisive crises of our lives.
Why is this? It is because, while we may have learned to solve all sorts of external and social problems, we have never given much attention or any attention at all, to the one fundamental problem of all: to find out the real purpose and meaning of our life. We have learned how to meet people and to talk to people in this or that standard situation — at home, in business, in places of amusement. We have not considered it at all important to learn how to meet ourselves every morning as we awaken and how to talk to ourselves when some new situation brings out in us a kind of response which seems to conflict with and disturb our cherished idea of ourselves. Did we ask then: What am I, really? Why do I act, feel or react differently from other people, from the way one is supposed to act or react? Am I so different essentially? Am I unique? If so, why am I unique? What is the purpose of my being different — the real reason for my feeling isolated, lonely?
What’s Wrong With Us?
We often ask these questions — but in a rather vague way, shrugging our shoulders and quickly forgetting the matter because there seems to be no way of getting a convincing answer from anybody. In some cases, the shock of seeing ourselves reacting to life situations in ways which are not according to the usual standards is such that we keep worrying about it. We come to think that there is something wrong about ourselves, that we are abnormal, neurotic or “plain bad” — and we develop an oppressive sense of guilt or inferiority.
We let these negative feelings develop perhaps; before long, we find ourselves in a sad predicament. Then all the things that happen to us in everyday life seem to go wrong, even if they started out with great promise of success, happiness or achievement. Perhaps we feel so upset that we decide to learn a new technique, to change our residence, our circle of acquaintances, our profession. Yet things still keep going wrong, possibly from bad to worse. What is the matter? Will we get “better luck” if we ask of astrologers what will be the result of this or that new move or plan of ours so that we may act “at the right time” and bet on the right horse, so to speak?
We may avoid some serious mistakes or catastrophes with such help; but this help, in most cases, is aid in solving external problems only. Nothing will really work out well as long as the one problem behind all other problems is not solved, at least to some extent: Why am I different from others? What am I really? It is essential that each individual today should find significant, convincing answers to these questions, answers which will transform him, which will change his attitude toward his real self and the basic purpose of his existence here on earth, now in our present society.
The first thing is to be willing and ready to ask these questions, to realize that it is important to ask them. The next problem is: Who will provide the convincing answers?
Jesus, in the Gospels, said: Ask and ye shall receive. Many a great spiritual teacher has told us that when the pupil is ready, the master comes. It has been stated also that the whole of life can be our “teacher”, that every friend or associate we have, our loved ones and also our enemies can give us the answer to this great problem of the “why” of our existence. In other words, we can see ourselves in their eyes, in their responses to us — whenever we really want to “see” ourselves as we are. We can understand our “differences”, and perhaps our relative “uniqueness” of character and destiny, if we are objective enough to find in the reactions of friends or foes mirrors that reveal to us, directly or by contrast, our different and unique self.
What’s The Answer?
However, it is very difficult to be sufficiently objective for this. We need — or we usually think we need — a “key” in order to interpret what we see pictured as ourselves in and through others’ reactions. Moreover, even if we understand how we differ from others — perhaps a very frustrating, confusing or bewildering difference — this is not enough. We must somehow know why we stand out from the norm, why we are unusual — perhaps to the point of neurosis. What is the sense of it all? If there should be no sense, no purpose, then, the only thing to do would be to become normal, average or at least comfortably “adjusted” whatever the cost to our pride, our hopes, our youthful ideals of unique accomplishment.
Modern psychologists and psychiatrists often consider “adjustment” as the goal of their treatments; in many extreme cases, there is probably nothing else to aim at because the mental and neuro-psychological situation has become set beyond the possibility of creative or transforming change. Nevertheless, every crisis (mental or physiological) is the indication of an opportunity for change and self-discovery.
There are illnesses and crises essentially because people who experience them have long refused to ask questions as to the character and purpose of their true self. They dodge asking these embarrassing questions. Then the problems that they themselves pose to anything confronting them become more acute, more difficult to solve; they become more involved in their failures or “bad luck”, more resentful of having “all these things happen to me!” This piles up and ends in a violent crisis.
All crises, I repeat, are opportunities; but few individuals, while the crises last, can understand them as such! Who can open their eyes? Who can help them to meet their true self and to grasp the meaning and purpose of their “differences”, their peculiar responses to life situations, their hopes and ideas which so few can share?
Astrology offers such help, but only if used by an astrologer who is both a keen student of human nature or psychology and a person with spiritual vision and compassionate understanding. These are rare qualifications, but they are evidently needed, at least in some degree, because of the very character of the help required.
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