Dear sisters and brothers,

Heart in stone photo

In times such as these, I keep noticing that I cannot find real security in national or international events. I cannot touch a deep peace by watching or hearing news, ever. I am not filled with compassion or loving-kindness–the heart of Christianity–by trying to change anyone’s views about anything, or change anyone period, including me. I am beginning to get the hint that there is NOTHING outside of me that can bring what I long for on the inside.

You have probably known such things forever, but I have to keep being reminded to quit looking in the external places for what only lives internally. And I do wonder if there are just a few people around the globe who are like me, needing reminders to STOP looking outside for what is an “inside job,” as my AA friends say.

But it is so easy to keep looking elsewhere for whatever I am really longing for. Maybe the next Netflix show will do it. Maybe Walmart has what I need. Maybe a meeting, a job, a relationship, or a certain salary will fill me. Maybe some comfort food has the answer, (especially sweets and milk chocolate). Maybe accomplishing more so I feel I am more. Maybe proving my value to God, church, company, family, friends, or even strangers with the right behavior will reveal my worth. Or what if I find the right self-help book or seminar that will finally show me how to fix myself and be exceptional – finally!

There seems to be no end to the outer directions we turn to find what is only ever inside. And some of us have to become very weary in our bones from all that searching, or we even have to fall down very far into our brokenness, before we wonder if there is another way.

Evening has fallen and I am just now settling into my meditation space. All day long I have stayed busy. I knew from early this morning that I needed my dose of turning my attention within, bringing the mind down into the heart, but I have resisted by doing every other thing. That’s just it: all my doing never helps me locate my being. I only have one option–stopping the doing–that helps me finally find my being.

So I will turn on a guided meditation from the Compassion Cultivation Training class I am currently leading, and use it to help me turn to the inner being. I will open my heart wide to myself, others, and the Great Love, to source the compassion and loving-kindness I want to locate. Then I will turn off the spoken guidance and settle into the inner stillness, slowly finding my way beneath the barrage of thoughts and mental stories, and letting go of the thousand distractions of the mind–one by one. I know where I am heading now. I am getting my bearings again. I am on the way to True Home.

If I keep writing about this inner journey, I will not arrive on time. So this is where I stop clacking the computer keys and disappear. But don’t worry, you will see me again. I will just stay Home a little while, until my being is rejuvenated. And when the fulness returns, I will venture back out into the world. Perhaps we will see each other, and smile, and know that we both know we will never find what we are looking for by looking on the outside.

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About soulcare4u

I am the author of Monks in the World: Seeking God in a Frantic World, published by Wipf & Stock and available through Amazon.com; and of a blog on Wordpress.com, "A Contemplative Path." I serve as the founding spiritual director of The School for Contemplative Living (www.thescl.net), adjunct faculty of Loyola University, and as a pastoral counselor and spiritual director in private practice.
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