The Stream of Life
The journey that each and every one of us has to take is entwined. It can be summed up using a simple but powerful analogy. It is like a twig that floats on top of a stream. If you observe its movement, you can find that there are two ways in which it moves, nonetheless, forward. Sometimes, it follows a circular movement and other times it follows a straight movement. Our whole life is like this, constantly moving forward to that one destination. I am not referring to death here and I am certainly not talking about a single lifespan.
The destination is that of ultimate freedom. This may or may not be attained in a single life. But each one of us is sure to reach that stage one day or the other. Ironically, the soul is already of that nature. Different layers have to be penetrated before you get to the soul. The time when you become ignorant is the time we take a circular motion. We become slaves to our own mind and hence forget the sole purpose of this life until a revelation hits us. This may be in any form or manner but nonetheless, it hits us. Some may call it disillusionment or a nervous breakdown, but the name is not what is important here.
At this stage, if we introspect deep enough, we will realize that we had been in a trance until that moment. All that you had previously imagined yourself to be, all that you had thought you had changed and learnt in your life will come back to you. These stages are highly individualistic and the duration will differ according to each person. Form that moment, we begin our journey in the straight path, sadly to go circular again after some time.
When we travel in the straight path, our mind becomes our friend and when it is circular, the same mind becomes our enemy. Although, this perspective might not hold good when observed externally from a social point of view as the person might be seen to be flourishing when looked upon from the worldview. This is why it becomes so difficult to get out of this movement and it is harder than walking on the edge of a sword.
The criteria for escaping this is to do as many good deeds as possible during this time. People who have already broken away from this cycle will be waiting on the banks of the stream to pull you out if you seem fit. If the amount of good deeds that you have to perform is completed (which also varies according to different people), someone or the other will be there to pull you out. In order for a person to be able to do that, he/she must have been liberated the same way before. That is the most interesting part of this whole scenario. After liberation, we would not run away. We would sit there beside the stream looking out for other people coming your way. If you find that they have completed their part, you will be able to give them a hand and pull them out. Despite the fact that you had years of struggle to get yourself out of this, you will not run away from this stream of life.