When something bad ends, we feel great and say to ourselves: “Thank God, the trials and tribulations have ended.” When something good ends, we feel sad and say to ourselves: “Why did this ever come to an end?” It is spiritual wisdom that reminds us that beginnings are endings and endings are also beginnings. The truth is that there is no beginning and no end to our eternal Self. Only our illusory self, which has the habit of doing mundane activities on earth, is susceptible to endings and beginnings. For example, every dinner we eat has a beginning and an ending, every movie we watch has a beginning and ending, every nap we take ends in a disruption when the alarm clock wakes us up to get ready to go run for our daily bread. In this way, the principle that endings are also beginnings applies to all phases of life.
When we meditate, our Supreme consciousness sheds light on the eternal spiritual wisdom that makes us understand the bipolar and ever transient nature of life on earth. Our divine Self expounds to us that we are eternal souls, sparks of the same cosmic consciousness (known as God); and we are on a mystical journey of self evolution in which death is but the beginning of a new phase of life.
Some day we will wake up to the fact that our physical body is like a dress. At the end of each life, we remove the current dress and wear a new one, which then becomes the reality of our subsequent life. Many of us are afraid of death, in other words, we are afraid of shedding the old dress because we are attached to the dress (our physical body). Remember how much we struggle to throw away old clothes from our closet? Very few give their sincere shot at getting rid of their dress in this very lifetime by attaining supreme knowledge of the eternal Self (Self-realization). Very few have the courage to ask themselves “How can I defeat death and become immortal?” People spend their precious little time in constantly worrying about losses, such as losing a loved one, losing a job, losing money, and losing name and fame, rather than equipping themselves with spiritual knowledge that they have forgotten for a gazillion lifetimes due to their ego. It is only transcendental knowledge that can help one realize that every pain and predicament that he/she faces in life is but an illusion created by his/her own mind. Only divine wisdom about one’s true Self can help a person cope with rise and fall, the day and night, and ultimately life and death itself.
If we take the opportunity in this very birth to know ourselves diligently, we get, after death, an eternal spiritual body, or at least a better physical body and suitable environment than our present one, for rapid spiritual progress, which culminates in enlightenment a.k.a. Self-realization.
But, what if we haven’t used this lifetime to get to know ourselves – the truth? Even so, wherever our individual consciousness travels after death as per our karma, our eternal Self, accompanies us and guides us to know ourselves in each lifetime. For example, when we finish school and enter college, the opportunity to apply what we have learnt at school begins. Similarly, when we finish this life and begin the next one, the lessons that we have learnt in this life certainly serve us to become a better individual in the next life, provided we want to make use of these lessons for self-improvement.
By embracing and utilizing the golden opportunity that each lifetime brings us, we experience eternal bliss and freedom, upon the dawn of Self-realization. When we strive to serve those in need, we increasingly sense God’s all-pervading presence in all the living beings around us. We realize that God is not only there in meditative silence but also in life’s chaotic challenges that only exist to redirect us back to our blissful inner silence.
Hence, by meditating on both the temporary nature of material existence and the eternal nature of our connection with our own Supreme Self, we can learn to perceive every ending as a beginning and every beginning as an ending of something. And by seeking the hidden opportunities in the transition, we can progress towards the spiritual joy of getting to know ourselves completely, if not in this lifetime, in some lifetime to come.