I’ve just read a book about a monk who left the cloister and rejoined the world. He brought with him a distrust of material things and a heavy emphasis on what he called his ‘inner life’. It was written many decades ago, and by a woman. But apart from the obvious questions, (How the hell would she know what he went through? Was it really written by someone else who had actually left a monastery?) the striking issue was: do we in the 21st century have need of such a thing as an ‘inner life’?
Because I see so much illness and dis-ease created by our selves, together with our reaction to our environment, I am open to the idea that a certain amount of introspection and quiet thought is good for us. If we can take just a moment…. to reflect… to consider the long term effect of our words, or even our feelings…. maybe we can touch on a different reality. One that might take us to a different plane of experience. Wouldn’t that be a good thing?
We could expand our awareness beyond the ‘things’ we don’t have and perhaps reach a higher level of consciousness. Young people in this world (and I acknowledge that I speak from the age of 60+) seek enlightenment from sources that are different to my generation, ie hallucinogens etc. But there are healthier options, accessible only to a few genuine seekers.
Being a Genuine Seeker requires no special qualifications, no secret handshake and above all, no particular religious or moral stand-point. The only requirement is to believe that there is something better to be found, something beyond normal experience of space and time. And perhaps a belief, or at least a hope, that we don’t need to abandon our ability to discern our current reality/consciousness, but only to grow beyond our present awareness.
Before you let go of this message, please realise that I do not believe that humans are merely the highest of the animals, and I do not want to start a new religion!! God/ Goddess knows we have enough of that already. But I do think that we can be more, much more than we presently aspire to. Life is about more than a great job, a great house and new everything.
Surely life is….? (The word ‘surely’ is a giveaway that it is far from sure!) If we only contribute a little to the total happiness of the world, to the total health if the world, to the total knowledge of the world, we will have made a small mark on humanity and life will not have been in vain.
So, why write this blog at all?? The book has stimulated me to some thought about my own ‘inner life’ and how I might improve my impact on my little corner of the temporal world.
Firstly, my ego should be got out of the way. It is tempting to placidly accept that people ‘become doctors to be loved and needed’ as I was once informed, disparagingly. So if I seek to reach a different level of awareness, it should not be so that I can brag, tell others or be a leader. It should be for the value of the experience itself.
If any of my loyal readers have experienced moments of higher awareness, I am sure you will agree that these moments are difficult to describe or share with others. But the effect inside oneself is profound. They can be more than just moments. They can, in my case anyway, last up to 20-30 minutes of finite time, even though they feel like fleeting seconds. But they leave an echo that cannot be forgotten.
If there are any who know what the heck I am talking about, then maybe you can let me know so I don’t feel like a lone lunatic! It is the full moon next week after all. And if that’s not enough, we have an eclispe of the sun coming up,which would make anyone think that there HAS to be a force larger than the human mind at work in the Universe.
Perhaps what we need is an awareness not only of an inner life, but a truly outer life, beyond time and space….