What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you. - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Our western civilisation has at times often fallen prey to an extrinsic bias of processing life, an external reasoning of reality that defines outcomes by a rigid materialistic absolutism. A what-you-see-is-what-you-get mentality that fuels our dualistic consciousness. This has led to a suspicious distrust of the intrinsic nature of our humanity. Ironically, religion has played a huge part in supporting this separation by casting doubt on the trustworthiness of our internal processing by over-emphasising the importance of institutional adherence and accountability. The church institution is not bad in itself but it’s role in people’s lives is not to create some kind of universally agreed way of believing, belonging, and behaving. It’s recent historical agenda has been rooted in dogma and doctrinal polity which does not always encourage people to listen to their internal hum of reverence, and follow the genuine within.
All external structures must serve the internality of the human condition or they will invariably end up trying to control peoples thinking around what is right and wrong and how that pertains to every facet of life and faith.
Our extrinsic view of he world needs the counter balance of the intrinsic perspective to keep us from a myopic bias that sees everything in linear terms, an external rationalism that often processes life through the lenses of comparison, competition and one-up-man-ship.
The intrinsic intuitively understands that there a greater work going on within, a beautiful interpenetrative work of the divine that is unfolding our true self.
The mirror and the window are twin metaphors that help us to understand and capture the essence of this visceral challenge. The mirror provides us with a way to remind ourselves of the importance of taking the time to appreciate and accept who we are. It’s only enemy is narcissism, which ironically is not a reflection of your true self but a reflection of your ego that is caught up in an external battle to prove itself to others. The window reminds us to see beyond ourselves and consider the greater good, an invitation to share our lives with those who could benefit from our individual contribution to their well-being.
“There is something in every one of you that waits and listens for the sound of the genuine in yourself. It is the only true guide you will ever have. And if you cannot hear it, you will all of your life spend your days on the ends of strings that somebody else pulls.” - Howard Thurman
The big questions of life find their appropriate response as we dig deep down inside to discover the treasure trove of understanding and providence that resides within, which will inevitably require that we employ the competent help and support of others who are also on this intrinsic wisdom journey. Learning to trust the process of my interior journey will mean that I continue to experiment with contemplative practices that reinforce my self-awareness and self-confidence.
There is a growing awareness of spiritual practice in west due to the exposure of our religious rigidity, and an increased fascination with the eastern traditions that are more open and inclusive. The Eastern tradition has exposed our addiction to busyness and productivity, inviting us to SLOW, LISTEN, and fall in love again with what it means to be fully alive. As east and west come together around the negotiating table we may actually discover a new kind of spiritual well-being that enables us to be a more healthy human race (walk).
'When I become more comfortable in my own skin I will begin to discover what hides below the surface, the god-within, the god of my emergence'.