I think it was Buddha who compared life to a giant wheel. What goes up, comes down. We will up many time and come down many times. Here going up mean higher life forms and going down means lower life forms. When we are metamorphically at the top of the wheel, we have better chances of evolving into much higher life forms and when we are at the bottom of the wheel, we have to toil and come all the way up before we can re-begin our evolution process.
Smart people will ask how do we minimize the time it takes between the positions at the top of the wheel and bottom of the wheel. They know that in order to make progress on (spiritual) evolution, they have to be at the higher life forms thus at the top of the wheel. They also know that there in no way of avoiding up and down on the giant life of wheel. So, they correctly conclude that effective way to minimize the time it takes to get to the top from the bottom is to get as close as possible to the center of the wheel.
Center of the wheel - that is a gem of wisdom. As you get closer to the center from the circumference, it takes less and less time to go around the wheel. So, as we get closer and closer to our real self (i.e. our spiritual center), it takes less and less time and thus less and less pain of the up and downs of giant wheel. So, get closer to the center and reduce the effects of giant wheel of life.
Finally after many years of spiritual practice we become the center of the wheel itself and that is the nirvana. Once you unite with the center and then the concept of up and down totally disappear. So, you are free from pain and pleasure. You are in the never ending joy zone.
Not sure where I read this fantastic explanation. But, it makes absolute sense. Get closer to our real self, get closer to others and we will finally reach our center and unite with the God who is at the center of every person.
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