A Zoroastrian Educational Institute



HomeArticlesAuthorsBook ReviewCommunityLibraryProminentsRegisterStoreArticle SubmissionAbout Us





Effective Living

Personal Perspective

Shahriari, Shahriar




Related Articles:

Related Links:


















Every life is offered the opportunity to leap out and find its true nature. Every soul is given the chance to transcend the mundane and find the ecstatic.

More often than not, however, this opportunity is heavily disguised. For some, it comes in the form of the loss of a loved one. Others may find their opportunity through grappling with a terminal disease. Yet others encounter great disappointment, generally in relationship to other souls.

Public life, by nature, puts us in situations where we encounter friction and resistance. The people we expect least, end up being the toughest opposition and the most destructive obstacles we encounter. Great disappointment comes from dealing with people, who simply behave in ways that are not becoming.

And it is precisely during these times of trial and tumultuous tribulation that our soul is offered a great opportunity.

Sometimes I think of what Zarathushtra must have felt, when the people of his own town did not take his word seriously. When the priests of his time, who were the learned ones, rejected his ideas and ideals.

The courage that it must have demanded to gather his friends and inspire them to move on to the next township, must have been tremendous. The tenacity that it required to move from state to state, hearing rejection after rejection, is only comparable to the way dripping water makes a dent in the rock.

Ironically, These trials of life are somewhat of a rite of passage, an initiation if you will. And much like any initiation, we can come out of it triumphant and transformed, or we can be crushed to pieces.

In the Gathas, Zarathushtra talks about the "fiery test", and often we interpret it to be a metaphor for the judgment in the afterlife. But perhaps there is more to this "fiery test" than just a reference to the hereafter.

Perhaps this fire comes in many forms, making each one of us confront our deepest fears and profoundest ignorance. Perhaps the test present each of us with the opportunity to transcend ourselves and be who we really are, or give in to our weaknesses and live a life of mere existence until our time comes to leave or face another test.

It is like going into the belly of the whale. Either we will come out digested and torn into a thousand pieces, or we come out victorious, unconsciously integrating the powers of the beast within our psyche, adding to the forces of the Good.

It is in these times that life offers us the soul-searching opportunity that we need most. We will go through a bittersweet process of questioning, analyzing, rejecting and affirming, sifting through the sand, and painfully separating the wheat from the chaff.

The outcome of this process is one of two things:

Either we emerge bitter and disillusioned with the world, going through our lives with an attitude of blaming life in general, and becoming a martyred victim, or...

Or we look deeply within our soul and try to distinguish between the temporal and the eternal in life. We come face to face with our mortality, and touch our immortal side. We let go of the glory and embrace grace.

Through this fiery trial, what remains is either the impurities and the base metals of our life, or we separate the gold and shine our light - no matter what goes on out there, outside of us.

Either the cocoon is crushed with the caterpillar trapped inside, or the beautiful butterfly emerges, spreading its beauty and joy, regardless of the thunder or the harshness of the wind.

In the case of Zarathushtra, the beautiful butterfly finally emerged, and spread its light and beauty to the whole world, not only of his time, but also of millennia later.

Let us hope that we can use Zarathushtra's example as our role model. Let us hope that when these times are upon us, we shun our bitterness, and embrace the opportunity to search our souls, and live life in a way that we can spread our light and love, beauty and joy, touching others with gentleness, no matter how harsh their skins may be.