Do you ever get fed up with eating and all that it entails: shopping for food, storing it, preparing it?

How about some of the other basic things we have to do as spirits in the material world? Bathe ourselves, shave and groom ourselves, pee and pooh and wipe up, dress ourselves, take our vitamins etc. . . . and all this before we leave the house in the morning for work. There are so many other rather mundane, but necessary things we need to do to keep our bodies functioning, to stay alive.

Would you like to break free of all of it?

Sometimes I think that if there is life after the death of our mortal coils, I will welcome the liberation from so many of the demands of material existence.

One of my favourite writers, a Theosophist/journalist/feminist named Annie Besant, wrote about the yearning to transcend the trappings of the material world in a chapter in her book The Ancient Wisdom (1918). It comes, she wrote, after the spirit has incarnated many times.

Here is an excerpt from Chapter XI, called Man’s Ascent. You can click on this link to read more — even the whole book, if you want. Enjoy the excerpt below, and feel free to comment.


Excerpt from Annie Besant’s The Ancient Wisdom, Chapter XI

As a man’s intellectual, moral, and spiritual nature develops (over many lives), he becomes more and more conscious of the purpose of human life, and more and more eager to accomplish that purpose in his own person. Repeated longings for earthly joys, followed by full possession and by subsequent weariness, have gradually taught him the transient and unsatisfactory nature of earth’s best gifts; so often has he striven for, gained, employed, been satiated, and finally nauseated, that he turns away discontented from all that earth can offer. “What doth it profit?” sighs the wearied soul: “All is vanity and vexation. Hundreds, yea, thousands of times have I possessed, and finally have found disappointment even in possession.”

“These joys are illusions, as bubbles on a stream, fairy-coloured, rainbow-hued, but bursting at a touch. I am athirst for realities; I have had enough of shadows; I pant for the eternal and the true, for freedom from the limitations that hem me in, that keep me prisoner amid these changing shows.”

This first cry of the soul for liberation is the result of the realisation that, were this earth all that poets have dreamed it, were every evil swept away, every sorrow put an end to , every joy intensified, every beauty enhanced, were everything raised to its point of perfection, he would still be aweary of it, would turn from it void of desire. It has become to him a prison, and, let it be decorated as it may, he pants for the free and limitless air beyond its inclosing walls.

Nor is heaven more attractive to him than earth; of that too he is aweary; its joys have lost their attractiveness, even its intellectual and emotional delights no longer satisfy. They also “come and go, impermanent” like the contacts of the senses; they are limited, transient, unsatisfying. He is tired of the changing; from very weariness he cries out for liberty.

Sometimes this realisation of the worthlessness of earth and heaven is at first but a flash in consciousness, and the external worlds reassert their empire and the glamour of their illusive joys again laps the soul into content. Some lives even may pass, full of noble work and unselfish achievement, of pure thoughts and lofty deeds, ere this realisation of the emptiness of all that is phenomenal becomes the permanent attitude of the soul.

But sooner or later the soul once and for ever breaks with earth and heaven as incompetent to satisfy his needs, and this definite turning away from the transitory, this definite will to reach the eternal, is the gateway to the probationary Path. The soul steps off the highway of evolution to breast the steeper climb up the mountain side, resolute to escape from the bondage of earthly and heavenly lives, and to reach the freedom of the upper air. — Annie Besant


— Jillian