“In our individual life we encounter good and bad, pleasing or displeasing events all the time. Many belief systems define these as either a test or a reward/punishment for deeds. Is this true?” Gonul asked, steering the conversation to another level.
“As I said earlier, all of these presumptions of good-bad or right-wrong, result from the ‘conditionings’ you receive from your environment… If you can emancipate yourself from these conditionings, you will see that humans merely encounter situations at certain times as part of their life’s requirements! You have two feet, no? Do you ever use only one foot to walk and choose not to use the other? No. Such are the events of the world. They come to pass complementarily and simultaneous to one another, just as summer follows winter, the night follows the day and so on…
“One who knows his self will neither try to change the summer into winter nor the winter into summer. He will enjoy them both for what they are and when they are. As such, a true human will not grieve over misfortunes but will see its validity and purpose, and in fact enjoy the misfortunes as much as the fortunes.
“Those who are ignorant of their true selves, who aim to dominate others, use these events as a means to glorify and exalt themselves, to establish their own dominion. They define the situation of others as either a punishment or a reward, and by conditioning people with such notions they drag others to serve in the course of their own expedience.
“He who knows himself will see all events as natural as the right foot following the left foot and he will continue his life with the freedom of not succumbing to becoming conditioned by any event. At this level of enlightenment there are no tests, rewards or punishments. Such a person will have surpassed all of these barriers and conditionings. He would have attained his essential self.”
“So are all the teachings of reward-punishment just made-up stories then?”
“Not at all! These notions were introduced in order to direct people to becoming free from their conditionings, and to refrain and control those who fail to fulfill their purpose. It is, of course, quite possible that some people exploit these notions for their personal gains.”
Jem wanted to check that he understood correctly:
“What I got from everything you’ve explained tonight is: if humans can free themselves from their environmental conditionings they will be freed from becoming defined with notions such as good-bad, beautiful-ugly, right-wrong, and start living a life beyond and above all of this. Hence their lives will be unaffected by things that supposedly cause grief and misery. While pursuing this kind of life, if they also become aware of the reality that their seeming individual existence is actually a reflection of the Universal Intellect, they will realize that they actually embody the qualities pertaining to the Universal Intellect within their own essence. Ultimately, this realization will enable them to discover and unlock their essence, at which point their constructed self will become completely annihilated. Have I understood it correctly?”
“Partly, yes… Let’s call it a night. I fear that if we continue the weight of the information will strain you much.”
“Will we meet again tomorrow night?”
“Is that what you would prefer?”
“Actually, I’m free after 3pm tomorrow. I don’t have any more classes, so we can meet then if that’s OK with you?”
Gonul was anxious: “What about me? I can’t leave the bank at that time!”
Jem tried to comfort her. “Honey, I promise I’ll explain everything to you, and we’ll have a long talk about it.”
Jem and Gonul stayed silently seated in their spots for a while…
Their brains were like an electronic device, working non-stop, trying to process all the information.
Long afterwards, Gonul broke the silence as she stood up: “Come on Jem, let’s go to bed… These aren’t the kinds of things you can get with a few talks. Let’s sleep on it and let it settle on its own.”
“You know what… Either we’re going to end up completely insane or discover an enormous reality that nobody knows about!”
“How can you even think of insanity!!?”
“You know what I mean; it’s just a figure of speech… But it is also true that many people who have uncovered great mysteries were labeled crazy simply because they were not understood. When people aren’t ready to hear a truth it is easier to label the discloser as insane to hide their own incapacity.”
They were now in their bedroom.
Silently they changed into their pajamas and jumped into bed.
With their exhausted minds eager to take a break, they both fell asleep…