At home, and at school, I was taught, and constantly reminded, that I needed to work hard and get good grades so that I could go to College. Why? So that I could get a degree, and with that degree, I could get a good paying job. Why? Because then I could afford to buy a nice house, a nice car, and attract a nice wife, and support nice children, and buy many of the nice comforts in life. Why? These things will make you happy. After all, you don’t want to end up digging ditches for a living. Can you imagine how miserable that would be?
Hummmm, I thought, maybe the ditch digger’s misery is no worse than the misery I would have to go through to get good grades, and to work my way through college, and to work for a corporation in order to get a good paying job, and to throw my hard earned money in buying goodies and people who may or may not make me happy? After all, when I looked around at everyone in the neighborhood, they had all these things, yet, they didn’t seem to be very happy. The next door neighbor was an alcoholic. The man down the street, was a drug addict, another man had a gambling problem and was often visited by heavy looking thugs, several of the neighbors were engaged in wife swapping, my friends’ mothers were stressed out about the lines in their face or a couple gray hairs which made them look old, my parents were constantly bickering, and practically everyone was struggling to keep up the facade of being successful and happy. And these were the country club set—the so-called successful people in life. Did I really want to grow up and become like them?
Shortly after graduating from high school, I realized I was not who I thought I was: a medium sized, 17 year old body, with brown hair, green eyes, and enough smarts and abilities to help me succeed in whatever endeavor I chose. This was a very liberating realization, but at the same time, it was a death of sorts. My attraction to the material world, and to all that was previously meaningful to me, was dwindling, dying away; and my attraction for the spiritual had been awakened. It could be said that I had been reborn in the spirit. But I was an infant in the spirit. My spiritual knowledge was almost non-existent, and I didn’t know what to do—what action to take with this newly found world view. Where does one begin when searching for his essence and function in life?