“Why should imprudent unlearned souls trouble that which is both learned, and prudent? And which is that that is so? She that understands the beginning and the end, and hath the true knowledge of that rational essence, that passes through all things subsisting, and through all ages being ever the same, disposing and dispensing as it were this universe by certain periods of time.
“Within a very little while, thou will be either ashes, or a skeleton; and a name perchance; and perchance not so much as a name. And what is that but an empty sound and a rebounding echo? Those things which in this life are dearest unto us, and of most account, they are in themselves but vain, putrid, contemptible.” ~Marcus Aurelius
What Aurelius calls unlearned souls, most of us today would call souls that have not been awakened. They are people who rely strictly on the brain-mind with its knowledge only of the physical world. They are not necessarily uneducated. In fact, some may be very well educated according to the standards of a materialistic society. But with a sleeping soul, they have little ability to understand the truly spiritual.
Troubled By Unlearned Souls
Given that these unlearned souls can’t comprehend the spiritual, their opinions on spiritual matters should not concern those of us who have awakened or are at least trying to awaken. Yet, sadly, many allow themselves to be troubled by the opinions of those people on spiritual matters.
If you need an opinion on a repair problem with your car, you would talk to a mechanic, not plumber. If you had a health problem, you would discuss it with a friend in the medical profession, not a carpenter. Likewise, discussing the spiritual side of your life with someone who has not even started and that path, and has no wish to do so, is pointless. Worse than pointless sometimes, because you can let the opinions of such people convince you that you should stop your spiritual development practices.
Understands the Beginning and the End
The soul does understand the beginning and the end. It understands what was before the beginning and what will be after the end. That is because only the physical universe has a beginning and an end. Only the physical universe has time. Since the spirit and soul exist outside the limits of time and space, their knowledge is not limited by time or space.
Ashes or Skeleton
Aurelius says that in a short while, we will all be ashes or skeletons. He is telling us that physical life is short and limited. As much as we may wish for it, we will never be immortal in a physical body. The physical realm is all about change. Everything in it does and becomes new things. Some things may last hundreds, thousands, even millions of years. But they all have an end. Even the planets and stars are mortal.
Having a Name
So Marcus Aurelius is telling us that making a name for ourselves in the physical realm is meaningless. If we devote all of our energy to physical success, and fame in the physical world, we have accomplished little. Yes, there are a few people who become so famous that they are still known a thousand years after they are dead. Most of them. However, were spiritual leaders like Jesus and Buddha. We would not know the names of kings, governors, or high priests from the time of Jesus if they were not mentioned in his story. The successful business leaders of that time are even less known.
The point Aurelius is making is that if we truly want to be immortal, and have a name forever, we have to do it through the spiritual faculties which are immortal. They are the only part of us that is immortal. So while we are still alive on the physical plane, we have to awaken and start using those faculties. We have to unite ourselves on all levels: physical, mental, psychic, and spiritual. Then physical death will not end us. We will pass on to the next level as a complete being ready to continue the path to ultimate enlightenment, ultimate consciousness. So let’s stop being unlearned souls and start on the path of true enlightenment by awakening those spiritual faculties.