Our everyday world provides us with no clues of what it really is. Certainly, this is true for those who have just been born. As each of us remembers, without any choice in the matter, we were thrust into this world with no explanation as to why we had to be born only to bear a lot of pain both physical and emotional.
However, the world that we have been thrust into demands of us that we explore it which involves study, that is, absorbed contemplation. Even babies explore and study their immediate world. If they don’t their brains do not develop. As we grow up and mature, we find out that there are a lot of theories about what our world is. Go to any library. It is full of explorations.
At some point we almost stop exploring and studying our world. We are content to take everything at face value. But when we do, we are missing out on a lot. Eventually, we suffer a spiritual crisis—our life seems empty. Something inside of us keeps telling us, “You have to keep exploring and studying—there is a lot more you need to know.” For me Aldous Huxley in his book, The Perennial Philosophy, adds to what I am saying.
“Nothing in our everyday experience gives us any reason for supposing that water is made up of hydrogen and oxygen; and yet when we subject water to certain rather drastic treatments, the nature of its constituent elements becomes manifest. Similarly, nothing in our everyday experience gives us much reason for supposing that the mind of the average sensual man has, as one of its constituents, something resembling, or identical with, the Reality substantial to the manifold world; and yet, when that mind is subjected to certain rather drastic treatments, the divine element, of which it is in part at least composed, becomes manifest, not only to the mind itself, but also, by its reflection in external behaviour, to other minds. It is only by making physical experiments that we can discover the intimate nature of matter and its potentialities. And it is only by making psychological and moral experiments that we can discover the intimate nature of mind and its potentialities. In the ordinary circumstances of average sensual life these potentialities of the mind remain latent and unmanifested. If we would realize them, we must fulfill certain conditions and obey certain rules, which experience has shown empirically to be valid.” (Emphasis is mine.)
The psychological and moral experiments of which Huxley writes are only of ultimate benefit if they mean that our exploration and study must plumb the depths of the human mind believing that here is to be found the one true reality—or divine element— from which all of this rich diversity is composed which is also us.
Of those who are content with the commonsense, superficial view of the world, their everyday experiences they believe are enough. There is no reason for supposing that human beings are greater than the sum of their biological parts. In us, they believe, there is no divine element—no Buddha-nature. In my view, they have ceased being human because I believe human beings are foremost spiritual explorers.