The contemplative life is where I feel most at home. In other times in history I might have been a monk or nun, but in this one I lead an integrated life where I participate in the world and retreat on a daily basis. I retreat to the realm of solitude. Finding the inner space to connect with the Divine. Giving gratitude for the unmanifest potential which dwells there.
The contrast of worlds, inner and outer has always been my challenge. I’ve made efforts to explain the inner realm through my teaching and writing, which have served as a bridge of sorts.
But actively engaging in the exterior world, some parts completely escape me, and I fine with it.
The peace that resides within is so much more fulfilling for me than buying or consuming any object or even experience the material world can generate. I feel I often walk in an in between place at times, because the material world is where I dwell day to day. I’m far from wanting to be a sadhu, holy person, who dwells in a cave.
Yet, I have my own ways of making that cave: eye pillows/blinds to block out light, noise cancelling headphones, to block out sound, and a heating pad to warm my body as it lies in meditation and Reiki, sometimes for hours each day. I guess you could call this the creation of “my comfort cave”. It is a space of being held, of showing devotion, of maintaining my spiritual practice.
When I leave that space and return to the realm of cars honking, shoppers walking to and fro, airplanes flying overhead, it’s always an adjustment.
Ah, this place, right, ordinary reality, I liken it to be. Where some would say ‘Earthschool’ happens.
Where we learn the lessons and have the relationships that are only possible in this third dimension of reality. The place where we done egos and personas and have bodies and all the complications and sufferings that come with it.
The irony is, of course, that ordinary reality is where we are given the chance to remember our inner connectedness.
Some of us find it through religion and philosophy. Some find it through intellectual or spiritual studies. Some find it through being immersed in Nature. Others find it through communion within relationships.
Yet, all these modes and means are grafted onto that exterior world. These ways are simply entrance points to journey to our true home: inner space.
My way of finding that place has been that ‘comfort cave’. It allows me the opportunity to reconnect to the infinite dimensions of inner space and wisdom. This is the realm where I feel completely whole.
Going from ‘comfort cave’ to exterior world is how I navigate through this life. I am grateful for living in such a time and place when this can be possible. Without such an opportunity I often think I’d feel stranded on an alien planet focused only on the material.
I encourage you to build your own cave in a way that suits you and is practical for your own life. As I say to my students, ‘try it and see’. As always, be prepared to be surprised….you will open a whole other way of looking at reality.