As a human being, it is difficult to appreciate what it is to be a human being. Among the thousands of different types of species in this world, to gain a human birth is considered extremely rare and beautiful.
We may say that there are billions of human beings so what's the big deal. True, but before taking a human birth, the consciousness has to evolve through millions of different life forms.
As human beings we have great opportunities in this world. We have the ability to understand life through a wider scope. We have the senses, an evolved mind and also an evolved intellect. We have the ability not only to understand the world around us, but also the faculty to understand ourselves. This is a very rare opportunity given only to human beings. So we should feel blessed.
Human beings are all born the same but there is opportunity for us to evolve further. There are the various levels of evolution.
Each one of us is at a different level of evolution based on the opinion we have of ourselves. Each one of us has a particular Self-view; for example, a person may have a very low Self-view, a very low self-opinion. At the lowest level, the person may think that he or she is very bad and evil.
Depending on this opinion about oneself, one responds to the world. Though, outwardly the person may have a good education and may belong to a good family, his response to the world will depend on the image he has of himself. If one thinks, 'I am bad', then the response to the world will also be the same.
One step higher in the evolutionary process, we find people with a slightly evolved opinion about themselves. They may have different desires or even have anger in their hearts. Such a person would fight and react to every situation. This is a self-opinion of 'me' being victimised. It gives rise to the feeling that one should be defensive and angry with the world.
On further evolution, the person shows more courage. Instead of blaming the world, the stars or the past, one takes responsibility for one's life. The thinking is, "I am responsible for life. I am responsible for my happiness and sorrow." Taking charge of the situation one becomes a brave person. With this opinion about oneself, one looks at the world as a field where one can work to attain whatever one wants in life.
We can evolve further, so as to 'accept' this world. We have the ability to accept whatever is coming into our life in its totality. Rather than reacting to everything, accept life in its totality.
The understanding of life further evolves to the state of wisdom. The intellect becomes sublime and wise. It is now able to understand the subtler aspects of life. Evolved souls with this level of wisdom can help us understand the secrets of nature. Many great scientists and philosophers have reached this stage. They understand much more of life than an ordinary person.
Higher than the intellect, is love. At this level a human being understands the meaning of love and is able to appreciate it. Such a person is more evolved. A person who has love will be able to understand the subtler aspects of life. This then expresses in and through their lives. The meaning of life then becomes more pervasive. For an ordinary person, the purpose of life is 'khao, piyo aur majaa karo - eat, drink and be merry'. But for a person whose heart is drenched in love...an unconditional love, the meaning is sublime. What we see in this world may not really be love. What goes on in the name of love is nothing but attachment or mere selfishness. Many marriages end in divorces because the attachment changes into dislike. Attachment is not love.
When we evolve to understand the meaning of life as love...unconditional love...a love which is so subtle that it itself gives joy...such love gives a great sense of peace. This love is not confined to one's own family but has expanded to embrace the whole world. It expands to the whole community...embracing the whole cosmos...and then God. When love is expressed for God, the meaning of life becomes more pervasive, more subtle. Then we understand life not only as an opportunity for acquiring food, clothing and shelter but as something far beyond that.
Enlightened masters understand life even beyond this love...as pure beings...pure existence. The real meaning of life is "Oneness". They identify with the entire cosmos and are one with it and with God. They are the ultimate evolved souls.
As human beings, there is a range of levels within which all of us remain. There are methods of finding out at what level we function. Depending on one's self view, world view and God view, each one is at a different level of evolution. Depending on our level of evolution, we get the type of happiness,the type of satisfaction, and the experiences we deserve. The meaning of life evolves, as we grow spiritually.