Posted by markdohle , 18 February 2013 · 205 views
There are a lot of bumps in the road for all of us. As we age the bumps, both the small ones, as well as the larger, get closer together. Sometimes they can seem like a cluster. Endurance is needed by everyone in order to get through life with any kind of success. There also seems to be some kind of law that says that when the fortitude that is needed to navigate our lives is avoided, things only get worse. Addictions, all kinds, not just the ones most people think about, cause a great deal of pain and suffering in ones life. The larger addictions, cause serious problems for everyone involved; while the more common and acceptable dependences do much less harm to others, while still doing damage to the one who struggles with it.
I find it amazing that the spiritual side of our nature is often overlooked by a great many people. Many have the assumption that all they need is to have lots of money, beauty, good health, lots of sex and they will be happy. When in fact, when all of these are attained, deeper more urgent needs will arise to the surface and demand to be dealt with. Restlessness, boredom, depression can be the disguises worn by these deeper aspects of our nature. Many addictions seek to assuage the pain of our inner fragmentation, but over all, apart from some momentary release from suffering, it soon returns. Escapades usually have a heavy price, a bad hangover being the least of them.
The desert is often used as a metaphor for the spiritual journey. Deserts are dry, seemingly empty of life, with nothing to latch ones energy onto. The inner desert experience is not boredom, nor depression, though at there are moments when it can seem like that. It is more often than not simple withdrawal. An important but necessary stage in the spiritual life, which has to be experienced over and over again at deeper levels; it is a life long journey.
When this journey is accepted as unavoidable, then the desert can take on a different kind of reality. Deserts have their own beauty. There are oasis’s to be found and there is actually a great deal of life that deserts supports, all one has to do is to learn how to perceive in a different way. Not all life in the desert is benign, but has to be dealt with, that is what self knowledge is all about….a slow stripping away of illusions, a death to self. Then the living water, hidden beneath the dry surface, is slowly experienced and there is a new type of joy that is experienced that is of a different genus entirely from the pleasure experienced from addictive behaviors. This journey is often cyclic; most of us have to learn this at ever deeper levels. Part of the journey of self knowledge is having the humility of simply getting up again. Or as they say in the `12 step program, “getting back on the wagon”.
To take root in the moment is to enter the desert. To embrace life in its totality is the beginning of the journey, to understand that all is already known by the Eternal, alleviates the need to seek to hide from oneself, or from ones perception of God. The more we trust the process of life, the deeper our faith in the Infinite mystery grows. This gives the courage not to believe our own inner voices that seek to keep us back and our immature understanding of the nature of infinite love. Trust is a conscious choice, we don’t fall into trust…. we choose it, at least as far as our relationship with the Eternal goes. For complete trust can only be earned by God. As we age and look back on our lives we slowly begin to understand that……then our freedom expands and deepens along with our love and trust.