The Garden and the Myth of Today
The Teaching, the Lesson, and the Learning
(1) I prepare myself. I sit very still in the wee hours of first light of day. I find my water, my earth within, my inner gravity, my foundation. I connect and align. Inner harmony and balance asks that I practice this daily.
(2) I plan for the day before me. I ask what needs to be done to maintain and create my daily life ?? I ask what is the direction for my effort in this day ??
Commentary: I am learning to do that which I do not feel generous and open towards. I see my reluctance, my aversion, my fear. I want to face all the growth in my garden— the weeds as well as the flowers. Here-to-fore, I wanted life to be as much of a rose garden as possible. This made me weak as I was unable to confront and engage with what I did not, would not accept in myself, in the world, and in others. A real inner strength would allow me to engage with all of the forms, faces, facets of my life. I came to see much of my spiritual posturing as essentially imagination, a naïve arrogance, self-will, pride, false personality.
This new attitude both allowed and required me to confront (rather than avoid my pain, my angst, my fear, my suffering). I avoided what I was being asked by life and circumstances to engage with.
(3) At the end of my day, I ask: What did I accomplish ?? What was the fruit of this day ?? What did I learn ?? What did I offer to others ?? I seek to become increasingly sincere with these questions. That is real inner work.
The Inner Journey and the Myth of Today
I want my life to become my great teacher; but that requires that I make due effort that is based upon ‘perennial principles’ that address the human condition and the meaning of life. That wisdom is available; but it does not reside on Main Street. It is traditional; yet seldom found in the established institutions we find in our modern culture for that purpose. Like all things, they have been corrupted over time. This wisdom is about mankind’s inner development. Examples of that would demonstrate a personal transformation to others. These people would be examples to others. They would walk their talk in a consistent, harmonious, balanced, productive manner. What we find now is words, words, words. What we find now in the modern culture is confusion, self-will, a progressive movement away from traditional, perennial principles of human inner development.
The outer world has certainly progressed with our modern scientific, materialistic, economic, rational world view. However, our inner world and development of being has not progressed and requires that we attend to it. The changes that must occur in the 21st century require a whole new way and level of thinking.
What is unique in this new way of thinking is that it cannot originate with us. It must originate at greater and higher levels of being. It is not done by us. It is done through us. There is no way to get from here to ‘There.’ There is, however, a way to get from There to here. This way requires an enormous effort on our part to become equal to being available, aligned, and in accord with greater and higher levels of being. Greater Being is found in the depths of the human being. This is a perennial paradox as well as a rootstock of the classical, traditional paths
Metaphorically speaking, these greater and higher levels of being are like the constant stream of sunlight. There is a light and shadow side to this life, and to everyone’s life. We can receive this light only if we are outside and available to it. Yet overwhelmingly, we are inside our personal structures and not available to it. We have roofs, boundaries, barriers that prevent the light from entering. There is ‘artificial light’ but it is not the same. This, of which I refer, cannot be manufactured and duplicated. We are an aspect of it. It does not correspond to our intentions and wishes.
These obstructing structures and barriers also lie within us as our present ‘modes of thought,’ our negative states of mind and feeling, our rigid patterns of reaction and response, and our attention towards what is shallow, superficial, mediated, in fashion, popular-successful. One could go on and on for the list of what prevents and obstructs is long and complex.
The list of what we must do to develop our inner being is short and simple. This is the simplicity that follows the complexity we will need to work through both individually and collectively. This true and matured simplicity is seldom found; but certainly bantered about in the marketplace. This false simplicity has been referred to as ‘spiritual materialism’ and has become very profitable in a time and culture desperate for inner peace and harmony. This spiritual materialism beckons to us in the form of speakers, books, workshops, technology and techniques. Spirituality is now big business and very much in fashion with the young, the not so young, and the restless.
We hear the right thing being expressed from the ‘wrong’ people. They are the wrong people because they have not become equal and integrated about what they speak and write about. They provide us with marvelous ‘spiritual’ answers that are to be found in the traditional religious literature both as it is and re-interpreted with a contemporary re-visioning and language.
About what one does not know, it is useful to remain silent. We think in error that spirituality is an adding on of new information. We do this, we try that, we read this. We follow the fashion of the day. The most popular is considered to be the best.
In truth, much of the individual spiritual journey is more a stripping away of what is false than an adding on. Our inner foundations are all too often weak and we ourselves are not in harmony and balance with ourselves. Our thinking needs to change, our reaction-response patterns to people and circumstances need to change. This is an enormous undertaking and the work of a lifetime— assuming that one is walking an integrated and valid path in a way of inner-outer harmony.
As an example, we hear people in ‘New Age’ thought point to the perennial truth of Oneness and unity; but they have not integrated the equal truth of diversity and manifestation. Their doctrine is an obsession to focus all attention on the forest that they do not see the trees. Their false simplicity is artificial and undemonstrative. It is the false attempt to impose the pre-modern and traditional answer onto this present moment. As such, it suffers from being on the near side rather than the advanced side of the enormous complexity that is modernity. It is ‘pre’ rather than ‘post’ historical. It is a valid finger pointing to the moon. But the finger is not the moon; and the individual has not taken the journey ‘homeward bound’ to being and becoming. Essentially, it is another (although seductive) distraction to doing the authentic, inner work.
The paradox is that those higher-greater states of being are found within our depths. They are not out there. They are in here; but we are not listening. Our technology strains and struggles to progressively incorporate and control the outer aspect, the objective, the world that we see and touch. In doing so, we have all too often forsaken our perennial human injunction to simply ‘be.’ To be simply present to ourselves. “To Be is to ‘am’ just this one is that I are.” Please note that the distortions to the great verb are intentional and informative.
We have learned to distract ourselves so that we are no longer aware of our loneliness, our confusion, our urgency, our pain, our fear, our suffering. We have barricaded the inner doors progressively so effectively that now there is a sign over the inner portal to our homecoming that says: ‘Do not enter, nevermore.’ We are afraid to look and truly see. We do not want to see. We want to imagine and to believe that our distortions and distractions are valid in themselves. This condition which is increasingly critical can only begin to alter itself after we begin to engage in an authentic self-observation. Note it begins there. We need to see things as they are. We need to see ourselves (and others) as they are. We need to find clarity and soft eyes. We need to find alignment and a purposeful grounding in reality (both inner and outer).