Many of our upbringings were in the darkness of unbelief in the Divine light of it all. But that duality is a basis for the struggle of life which is theoretically the joyous interplay of light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance. It is the reality of that struggle which makes life a real test and thereby a process of discovery and self-improvement which becomes the means to the gratitude and awarenesses that life is created to inspire. In other words, the hardships exist so that their sadness and frustration may be transformed into victory, joy and wisdom. In search of the praiseworthy diamonds we dig forever in the common soil. Discovery is to make known and to make known is to praise.
It is in this light that I wish to offer this contribution to the general understanding of spiritual goals and values.
In the search for archetypal role models of the spiritual type we have reluctance stimulated by fear of extremes. On the one hand we have the righteous fear of religious fanaticism in which all other beliefs and non-beliefs are wrong, and where it is the religious and spiritual duty of the true believer to join the crusade to save the world. On the other hand, we have the nightmare and desolation of the all-consuming fear for personal survival, with faith in nothing other than dreary personal productivity and acquisition. This is the 'cog in the machine' mentality, and represents basically no religion at all.
Few people actually understand the real and general purpose of life itself, and even fewer are contemplative enough to be able to perceive the real purpose of individuals in their own surroundings. Yet this is exactly the understanding that is most needed. The healing power of this understanding is truly transformative.
I wish to propose the possibility of discovering a personal balance, and the possibility of the existence of a general cure-all in the form of a knowledge and a knowing. An 'objective truth', if you will, the study and practice of which leads the seeker to satisfactory understandings concerning the nature of humanity and his/her personal role in it, and/or salvation from it.
In the first chapter of Qur`an (Al-Fatihah) is mentioned the two consequences of disbelief in objective (revealed) truth. One is the incurring of disfavor, i.e. the accrual of 'bad karma', exemplified by a joyless, lifeless existence, and the other is the 'going astray', or religious egotism, which is the basic misunderstanding leading to fanaticism, judgementalism and extremes of indulgence, among other things.