The Illustration Friday word of the week is search.
❦ It seems incongruous at best, and perhaps even irreverent or even blasphemous to bring up this subject following my last introspective post. But in the true spirit of blogging, this is a subject near and dear to this blogger’s heart. The Illustration Friday’s word of the week challenge called these words out of me, and I always try to honor an inspiration. I hope no one will be offended if I nudge a bit in the spirit of planting seeds and shining a light…
Have you noticed that so many people are on a perpetual search for The Truth—accumulating knowledge, degrees, workshops, trainings and retreats—and still not finding peace? Their curricula vitae are very impressive indeed, but (yes, I do remember that we’re all works in progress) the litmus test for if it’s working can only be this: can they be truly present with a person here and now, and can they flow with the unfolding, often unmanageable circumstances of Life?
The Tibetan Buddhist master and founder of Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, Chögyam Trungpa, coined the term, spiritual materialism in his classic book, Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism. It is worth a browse (or at least a contemplation of the term) if you—like I—are tired of the endless flow of teachers, experts and consecrated ‘paths’ of the New Age scene. “The New Age loves anything as long as it doesn’t work” is a related expression. Sarcastic? Well, definitely not using the kid gloves.
Perhaps I am just lazy or being rebellious, or maybe I have been the object of too many well-meaning, dead-sure spiritual rants and holier-than-thou (but well-meaning, I know) pontificators. But as I grow older, it seems ever-clearer to me that true wisdom, true knowing is only find-able deep within: found in solitude and silence, in slowness, with humility, with patience and with gratitude. Found mostly in the region of the heart, with no formulaic map at all to its abode, nor any formulaic approach to its expression in this all-too-fleeting and ever-challenging world. And this ‘within’ is the only place where the appropriate answers to that question, “What now?” can be found.
I’ll leave it on a humorous note with Emily Dickinson’s classic poem, I’m Nobody! Who Are You?:
I’m nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there’s a pair of us–don’t tell!
They’d banish us, you know.
How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!
“Inner Wisdom” (watercolor, pen & ink, colored pencil) An oil version of this image is here.