Consciousness is a multifaceted looking-glass. To look through one side is to perceive the eternal and to look through the other side is to perceive the temporal; one side the infinite and the other side finite. Most of us look through the lens of the temporality, of finitude.
We perceive the world through preconceived notions, through symbols and ideals, through pre-ordered ideologies. We give our life meaning through identification with the dominant ideologies and their symbolic systems. This preconceived symbolic system provides order, hierarchies, transcendent aims.
We seek to reach some undefined and predetermined zenith far out of reach: a heavenly ideal. But seeking a heavenly ideal is like gazing into a transcendent mirror in the sky above. We seek an idealized symbol that is only an obscure reflection of the sacred real.
White bearded wise men, lovely goddesses, vigorous youth are all born in the minds of people; for mankind creates idealized symbols that reflect his own ego. The human race is in relentless pursuit of whatever it is that is just beyond our reach, and we, as a culture, have not yet obtained the perspective that would enable us to see the eternal truth that exists all around us, and within us.
But because we exist far from the psychological zenith, our ideals and symbols serve a purpose. They urge us onward as we grow and develop our consciousness. We pursue the transcendent ideal until our own particular awareness holds the capacity for self-reflective awareness.
And in this state of awareness, we find that our ideals and fantasies are no longer necessary. We are ready to give up the psychological safety net and enter into flow of life, as simply the Self.