There’s a place of peace and clarity within us. You can go there if you retreat just a little from all your worries and cares.
Don’t go outside your house to see the flowers.
My friend, don’t bother with that excursion.
Inside your body there are flowers.
One flower has a thousand petals.
That will do for a place to sit.
Sitting there you will have a glimpse of beauty
inside the body and out of it,
before gardens and after gardens.
Getting there is easy. Staying there is harder, because we’ve spent all our lives investing in stories of “out there”.
Stories of how important it is to worry, strive, prove yourself, accomplish something.
Stories that began with us accepting there was something wrong or broken or inadequate about our own existence.
Stories where it’s a mean world out there and your success is a measure of your worthiness and your happiness is a reflection of your success.
Guard your heart
Guarding your heart means not allowing your thoughts about life to force you out of the peace and happiness within you.
After all, we have God’s own assurance that nothing can go wrong for us.
Christ didn’t let himself be killed to pay a price required of us by his own Father. His was a sacrifice to end all sacrifice, not because God requires or demands sacrifice but because we humans had got it into our heads that sacrifice was necessary.
Sacrifice was never necessary.
But Samuel replied: “Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.
To obey originally meant “to listen”. The Hebrew for “obey” likewise means “to hear”.
We tend to interpret this verse as saying “enough with the sacrifices, just do as you’re told!”
Because obedience conjures images of dutifully following commandments. Listening and hearing God’s guidance is conflated with following orders.
Yet the whole point of the Bible is that God desires a genuine relationship with us.
Or rather, God has never ceased pouring out His love and blessings upon us. We are the ones hiding, refusing, and rejecting the grace available to us.
The garden within
It’s easy to find the quiet place within you where God dwells. But to carry that peace and love out into life requires us to let go of the worries and cares that have accrued around our external circumstances.
I can close my eyes and feel close to God, but open them and feel the tie of thoughts about everything I see before me: house, belongings, family, YouTube, chores, plans, worries and fears and hopes and wishes.
The work before us is to let our thoughts be changed by the peace and love we find within.
Bit by bit, soothe and soften and ease the story of our lives until we can remain in this love always.
The Way is like an empty vessel
That yet may be drawn from
Without ever needing to be filled.
It is bottomless; the very progenitor of all things in the world.
In it all sharpness is blunted,
All tangles untied,
All glare tempered,
All dust soothed.
It is like a deep pool that never dries.
Was it too the child of something else? We cannot tell.
But as a substanceless image it existed before the Ancestor.
– DDJ 4. Waley