“I used to drink yet increase in thirst, until I knew the truth, sublime it’s splendor; Then my thirst was quenched without drinking.” -Aristotle
I imagine Aristotle as a young seeker tantalized by knowledge. He lusted to know everything and his very quest seemed to aggravate his thirst. At some point it seems that he began to immerse himself in life. He still studied passionately, but he was no longer living life at arm’s length.
Aristotle’s statement reminds me of Jesus’ saying that those who come to him would never again hunger and thirst. Neither Aristotle nor Jesus were speaking about adopting belief systems. The teaching of Christianity no more feeds the soul than the teaching of any other sect or subject matter. What feeds the soul is true living.
Jesus said that he came that we might have life. Every spiritual teacher worth the name calls us into life, not some creed about life. To accept Christ, or Buddha, or any spiritual teaching means to accept who we are in the nature of things. To live with authenticity requires that we die to our imaginary life which separates us from other people and from real living. Like Aristotle, we must learn to stop living life at arm’s length.
Only the truths of reality and the beauties of life can quench the thirst within us. And we cannot sip this ocean through the straw of religion, we must drown in it. Religion brings us to the threshold of living, but at some point we must leap into the mystery itself. To live into the reality requires that we die to the world we have imagined for ourselves. So Jesus taught that those who hold on to their souls will lose them. We must die into living. At that point, there is no longer religion or non-religion, there only is life.