Each of us has a goal in life. One may be consciously aware of its existence- it may have been articulated or it may be implicit, but none the less it is there, just below the surface, and can be retrieved and made explicit when we are asked about it. This goal however, does not complete the causal link between belief and behavior- something else is at work and at a much deeper level. This is a desire that is so spread out and so elusive in form that it remains untouched by the intellect. But it is there, silently molding and directing all our perceptions, feelings and attitudes towards some faraway goal.
This goal can be tangible and expressible in social terms. It could represent the desire for a certain life style, a certain status or at the other extreme it could be unstated longing to touch the face of God. Sometimes this control is felt as a pressure or pull that we are powerless to resist. This is however so diffuse that the source and its structure cannot be determined. Yet, in the final analysis, this is the ultimate driver-we would behave very differently without it. It’s presence leads us to make a particular selection from the flow of possibilities that life presents us.
It cannot be analyzed by reason because it is not expressed in terms of structures that conscious thought can operate with. It remains elusive and the machinery of the intellect, of reason and logic, having nothing to bite on become impotent. If I were asked to state what my inner goal was I would state it in terms of tangibles like a certain level of affluence and social standing. There would be more desires-the wish for good health, for love and happiness but even as I write this I know and I can feel that this is not the real story.
I am not a religious person in the conventional sense of the word. Like most other people, my daily life goes on (apparently) untouched by the issues of God, life and death. However, I believe at the deepest level these issues and all that follows from them are important. They create a certain attitude, which defines who we are and how we interact with other people. If I was to choose one statement that would come closest to describing the core belief that I feel I possess, it would be Albert Einstein’s remark that “God is subtle but not malicious. ” For me this is a statement about freedom.
It describes the human condition as potentially unbounded and full of amazing possibilities. For me it also describes a moral universe where hard work and persistence is always ultimately rewarded. It also describes, most importantly and closer to home, the power and efficacy of prayer. These core beliefs greatly influence my life. They make me what I am. They imply that I wake up each day with the desire to “meet everybody and everything in a new spirit of open inquiry and interest instead of an instant reaction against what is unknown and unaccustomed.
It means putting aside circumstances that cannot be changed and living beyond them. It means roving imagination and daring thinking and ready laughter and quick appreciation and intense interests and observation. “* These beliefs form the core of my being. They define my center. This center is not static- the attitudes and beliefs that create it ensure that it cannot be otherwise. They guarantee growth and continuous change. They help me choose life over death.