Everybody has two aspects of life: Extrinsic and Intrinsic. Extrinsic life is when our consciousness is focused on outside reality like family, society, money, property, politics, business or any affair outside of our being. While intrinsic life is when our consciousness is focused on our inner reality like self-awareness, health, sublime mental state, like love & compassion, generosity, forgiveness etc., knowledge about self, truth and realization, creativity, intelligence, wisdom etc.
Extrinsic life is mostly collective life, while intrinsic life is essentially individual life.
Extrinsic life has two realms: Lower and Higher.
Components of Lower Realm of Extrinsic Life
Lower realm contains physical body, all materials possession like money, property etc., job, business, family, society, power, social and political affairs, worldly thoughts and emotions, all worldly affairs, worldly knowledge etc.
Components of Higher Realm of Extrinsic Life
Higher realms contains art, fine literature, music and dance, paintings, intellectual pursuits, creativity, fine thoughts and emotions etc.
So, when we have to analyze the quality or richness of life, we will have to analyze the richness and quality of both i.e. the extrinsic life as well as intrinsic life. And on the basis of this analysis we will be able to understand whether we are able to live the Ultimate life or not.
Before we begin the analysis of our life, we need to understand two things very clearly. The first thing which one is more important- Extrinsic Life or Intrinsic Life? And the second thing, when we say life, what exactly we mean? Or, who and what we actually are? In fact the second question is more important than the first one. Because on the basis of this understanding only we will be able to judge which life i.e. extrinsic or intrinsic truly represent us? So, let us understand what our life is or who we are.
Who and what are we?
Each and everything in this universe consists of only two things- Space inherent with potential or propensity and perception or awareness. Because of inherent with potential or propensity, vibration happens in the space fabric and consequently form reality originates in form of energy and matter. So, whatever material reality we see throughout the world, they all are made of vibrations in space fabric. Our physical body, thoughts, emotions, tendencies etc. are just vibrations and our perceptions are the resultant consciousness of these vibrations. Each and every vibration has a resultant consciousness. Because of this resultant consciousness we are able to feel something and have certain perception or awareness about surrounding or inner reality. The quality and quantity of awareness depends upon the quantum and quality of consciousness.
So, we are just vibrations in form of our physical body, thoughts, emotions, tendencies and most importantly the resultant perception or consciousness because of these vibrations. It is this resultant perception or consciousness which explains our existence as a living entity. So, conclusively, we are just our perception and the richness of our intrinsic life depends upon the quality of our perception. And the quality of this resultant perception or consciousness depends upon the mode and state of vibrations of our physical body, thoughts, emotions etc.
So, this way we have discovered that we are just vibrations and the resultant perception or consciousness. Only these two things are the reality of our life. Vibrations and resultant consciousness, and these both are correlated realities. As mode and state of vibration changes, the resultant consciousness and perception changes. We are not a fixed reality or entity, rather we are a continuous flux, changing every moment.
Now, let us come back to the discussion of Ultimate Life.
As I discussed earlier that our life as two aspects: Extrinsic Life and Intrinsic Life, we will first go into the depth of both aspects of life.
Extrinsic life is our surficial or peripheral realty as this reality is in fact outside of our being. Though in social terms other people or we identify ourselves with our extrinsic life but in fact we are not our extrinsic life.
Features of our extrinsic life:
1. It is mostly our collective sphere of our lives.
2. It is conditional and collective as it depends on others and outside factors as the sources of extrinsic life are outside
3. It is illusive, gross and temporary.
4. Happiness drawn from the components of Extrinsic Life is hormonal, so shallow.
5. It is exchangeable and barter-able.
6. It becomes stale with the passage of time, so it loses its luster and attraction when we become used to it.
7. The achievement of extrinsic life does not carry forward to the next life as it ceases to exist for us as our physical death happens.
8. The stark reality of the extrinsic life is that we don’t live our life. In fact is the constituents of our extrinsic life like our material possession, relationship, social fame, power etc. live our lives.
9. Most of mundane problems in our life come from the components of our extrinsic life. In fact, all these components of our extrinsic life are neutral. Because of our attachments to these things due to ignorance and low consciousness, we invite problems, misery, sufferings and bondages in our life through these components of extrinsic life.
Intrinsic life is the core of our life as it is the life which we live within our beings, within ourselves. In fact, it is the intrinsic life which is our actual life.
Components of Intrinsic Life
self-awareness, health, sublime mental state, like love & compassion, generosity, forgiveness etc., knowledge about self, truth and realization, creativity, intelligence, wisdom etc.
Features of Intrinsic Life
1. This is our totally individual life.
2. If we enhance the quality of our intrinsic life, then the happiness realized from the components of intrinsic life is very refined and of supreme quality. It may in fact lead us to the realization of Ultimate Bliss.
3. The source of intrinsic life is within, so for the happiness realized through the components of intrinsic life we don’t have to be dependent on any outside factor.
4. Achievement of Intrinsic Life continues even after physical death.
5. Self-Awareness or Pure Consciousness is the ultimate and most refined component of intrinsic life. It leads us to the realization of Ultimate Bliss, the supreme most quality of happiness as it is not hormonal. So, this is the final goal of mankind.
6. Pinnacle of intrinsic realization of life is the realization of Infinity and Eternity inherent with Ultimate Bliss.
What makes our life intrinsically rich?
2. Intellect and Wisdom
3. Creativity like Art, Literature, Music etc.
4. Sublime mental quality like generosity, kindness, love, compassion, philanthropy, freedom from vain ego & arrogance etc.
5. Higher Consciousness
6. Knowledge and realization of Higher Truth of Life and Existence
7. Objectless Pure Awareness
Which life is more important- Extrinsic Life or Intrinsic Life?
But, if I have to strictly choose between these two, I will prefer intrinsic richness of life. If are confined to only extrinsic life, we would be just like animals, most probably full of tension, depression, misery and sufferings in life.
How will you judge whether you are living Extrinsic Life or Intrinsic Life?
Every moment just try to judge what the object of your consciousness is. If the object of your consciousness is one of the components of extrinsic life as mentioned above, it means in that moment you are living extrinsic life. Similarly, if the object of your consciousness is one of the components of intrinsic life as mentioned above, it means in that moment you are living intrinsic life. For example, if you are thinking or mentally engaged with matters related to your job, career, business, property, power, prestige, relatives and all outside worldly affairs, it means you are in extrinsic consciousness and living extrinsic life. If your consciousness is focused on art, good quality of music, dance, intellectual thoughts, creative activities, spiritual realization etc., it means you are in intrinsic consciousness in that moment and you have been living your intrinsic life in that moment.
In one moment, one may be living extrinsic life while in another moment the same person may be in intrinsic life. Richness of life depends upon the fact whether a person lives more extrinsic life or more intrinsic life and what the quality of those extrinsic life or intrinsic life are. So, depending upon the quality of your consciousness whether extrinsic consciousness or intrinsic consciousness, the quality or richness of your life depends.
Quality of positive intrinsic consciousness is always better and richer than that of extrinsic consciousness. Quality of negative intrinsic consciousness is always better and richer than that of negative extrinsic consciousness.
For Ultimate Life, a fine balance between the Extrinsic Life and Intrinsic Life is very important. Ultimate Life happens when our consciousness reaches its pinnacle i.e. Pure Objectless and Formless Awareness. In this awareness only we can realize a life marked with Infinity and Eternity inherent with Ultimate Bliss. In this state, we are free from the circle of Birth and Death. This state is called Enlightenment.
(Dr. Aaron Thomas)
Psychotherapist | Author | Spiritual Master