Vision of a material goal in life differs widely with each person according to our desires, needs, emotional and mental expectations and our experiences.
But the spiritual goal remains the same for us all, not only by the fact that we share our inevitable physical demise but by the common urge within us all to know the ultimate purpose of our existence.
Individual life is only totally satisfying when we understand our own nature and our place in the scheme of things. So 'Know thyself !' remains a classical directive to assist us in the art of living.
In regard to observing and understanding our personal behavior it is perhaps easy enough as each of us tends to be fascinated by ourselves and even our personal habits may charm us, even though proving irritating to others. We find it more comfortable to excuse ourselves and smile in self-indulgence rather than to apply self-censure. Consequently we all have much to learn about ourselves.
Knowing ourselves implies that we have insight into our psychological make up, are aware of our physical, emotional and mental skills and talents that enable us to live a life of action. This would seem simple enough, but for the complex and changing factors both external and within our nature as we mature. We need clear insight into our personality so that our self image is truthful as well as aspiring towards self improvement. We need to feel comfortable with the picture we have of ourselves.
However, beyond the personality there exists the matter of the soul. We need to be able to relate to ourselves as a soul in order to make contact with the inner wisdom at the core of our being. It is here that we turn for inner guidance to our most superior sense, that of 'intuition'.
We also need inspiration to encourage us. We need confirmation that our choices are correct - that our decisions are reasonable, that our circumstances and relationships are progressing favorably. We need inspiration to create a joyful life or to recreate our lives if we find that we are unhappy. Generally inspiration is sparked when we love life and enjoy our own special work choice and have opportunity to demonstrate our special skills and total mental fitness.
In the art of living we all need the assistance of these internal, special faculties - insight, intuition and inspiration. They are consciously accessed by turning our mind inward in states of contemplation, relaxation and meditation.
Sally Janssen is an writer and educator who from an early age trained in dual professions as both a naturopath and yoga teacher. She earned recognition as an exceptional exponent of Hatha Yoga and natural health therapist and gained an international reputation for her skills and her wisdom in Raja Yoga, the training of the mind.
At a time when Yoga was generally known only as an oriental system, she pioneered this new profession in the West, helping to found the International Yoga Teachers' Association headquartered in Sydney and that established guidelines for professional teachers. As its President, she represented the Association both teaching and training teachers in Australia, New Zealand, England, Brazil, Switzerland, and India.
Her special teaching methods included yoga teaching for children in a system designed to be complementary to traditional academic schooling - extending beyond physical health education to include mental fitness. As well as establishing private studios at St Ives, NSW, and in Nedlands and Gingin Western Australia, she has contributed through television, lecturing and written articles as well as participating in international forums.