Been awhile since I’ve quoted Deepak, but here is an abbreviated excerpt from his recent article on self-awakening with the goal of WISDOM as our ultimate life purpose beyond just accumulating knowledge.
“Making Wisdom Your Most Important Goal
“…Waking up is a metaphor for the conscious life, and the conscious life is what wisdom leads to. Every day we are driven by unconscious impulses and desires, and unexamined processes go on beneath the surface of the mind that lead to anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, self-destructive behavior, and every kind of pointless discord, from household tensions to war.
… In one way or another, allowing our unconscious to go unexamined has caused the greatest and longest suffering in human history. It was suffering and finding a way to end it that became the foundation of Buddhism, but any spiritual teaching that will show people how to wake up also aims to bring them out of suffering.
In that sense, wisdom has a definite purpose, but escaping the ills and woes of the unconscious life is secondary to the main purpose of waking up, which is to know who we really are. The answer can be formulated in a few words: humans are a species of consciousness whose special trait is self-awareness. Being self-aware, we have the capacity to access the very source of awareness.
…We are a species of consciousness whose great pitfall isn’t evil but “mind-forg’d manacles,” to borrow a phrase from the poet William Blake. We make up mental constructs, invent stories around them, and tell the next generation that these stories are true. One story says that women are inferior, a complex tale that gave rise to a thousand injustices and false beliefs. Us-versus-them thinking leads to stories about racism and nationalism that caused their own barbarous results.
Waking up allows us to escape all stories and to live free of self-limiting mental constructs. The real question is whether it can be done. Can you and I wake up? If so, how do we go about it?
… Where prior generations had little grasp of higher consciousness beyond the precepts of religion, millions of people today can walk their own path to self-awareness, choosing to include God, the soul, organized religion, and scriptures as they see fit, or to avoid them. Even “spirituality” is a term you can adopt or ignore—the real purpose of waking up is about consciousness.
…We have always had the potential to be wise by using self-awareness to explore who we really are. A society driven by consumerism, celebrity worship, video games and social media gossip, and indifference to massive social problems feels like it could never find wisdom, or even the first impulse to wake up. But I’d argue that we are the most fortunate society to wake up in, simply because higher consciousness is open to anyone. I count this as the greatest opportunity facing us, to see that waking up is possible and to hasten toward it as quickly as we can.”
Deepak Chopra MD, FACP