Why do we begin the inner journey?
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Why do we begin the inner journey? Pretty much for the same reason that we journey outwardly. All journeys are due to either our curiosity or our belief that we’d be happier somewhere else. Most religious practice is based on the premise that the unenlightened mind suffers and if we go on the inner journey and enlighten the mind, the suffering of mind will end and we’ll feel better. Long weekend trips away are based on the same premise except that it’s the outer journey that we’re on.
The choice of the inner rather than the outer comes when we realize that we take our stress and opinions with us on the outer journey – so sometimes it’s not really that much of a holiday. It’s a bit like that old Crowded House song, ‘you always take the weather with you’. When you discover that anywhere is lousy when you’re feeling lousy and anywhere is great when you’re feeling great, you become more interested in how you are, rather than where you are.
Sounds great in theory but the practical aspects need a bit of taking care of – so how to start? Another great Sufi poet and mystic Hafiz wrote, “For the
divine alchemy to work, the pitcher [jug] needs a still cup. Why ask anything more about your most vital requirement?”
Stillness is the prerequisite for this inner alchemy - this becoming one with the pure awareness of existence.
Just sitting comfortably and becoming absorbed in feeling the breath and becoming aware of the awareness of mind itself, rather than buying into the mind’s opinions, is the real inner journey. This simple practice stills and quiets the mind stuff, allowing us to become perfectly receptive rather than trying to drive the experience of meditation. We become both the experience and the experiencer without a second thought.
By Kevin Niv Farrow