“Unrest within the heart” – that is something I know from personal experience! Like from spending too much time and thoughts on computer games, social networks and other outward things.
In my previous entry, about a social computer game, I mentioned that it had a centrifugal effect: Pulling the mind outward from its spiritual center toward peripheral things, outward things, shallow things. That is a pretty harsh drawback to anything, really… if you are into centering in the first place. It would seem that a lot of people are not.
Boris Mouravieff seems to have held the view that about half the population does not have a spiritual soul. This is not defined by race or gender or some such, but a separate property of the soul. Or lack thereof, so to speak. I doubt it works quite like that, but it certainly seems that some people are utterly immune to spirituality. Not necessarily the rabid atheists: If anything, their opposition could be due to feeling the threat of Â conversion, much like people who react strongly negative to homosexuality are found to be somewhat excitable by such things, and sometimes switch sides at a later time.
But there are people who just don’t get it. They have an absolute conviction that there is no “in there” in there, no spirit or soul, that they are obviously meat and this is how things should be. Â In a way, they are better off than those of us who keep struggling to wake up, and then fall asleep again without ever getting out of bed. I mean metaphorically, as in spiritual awakening, but it probably doesn’t help that I have had this tendency in physical life as well…
But the great saints, sages, gurus etc seem to agree that God (or Heaven or the Higher Self or whatever is really important) is always “in there”, and that over time a kind of center of gravity develops and grows stronger. The inner world, which at first seemed like a small thing, turns out eventually to be greater than the outer.
I should specify that by “inner world” I do not mean the imaginary world of daydreams or fantasies, although in its own way these too are signs that the human mind is not merely a computer. But the spiritual center is different and indeed opposite from the fantasies of the mind. These, too, are centrifugal: Pulling us outward and away from our true home inside.
To return to this inner home (in wordless prayer or meditation or just a simple willing act of the soul) is Â a wonderful feeling, sweet and pleasurable to such a degree that it will often spill over onto the body’s senses, perhaps giving us goosebumps or a sense of pleasure (that is quite distinct from sexual pleasure, if anyone wondered). I believe it is similar to the feeling of a child being caught up in the embrace of a loving parent – but to be honest, I cannot remember such a thing from my own life.
Ironically, I have found that it is mainly the return there which gives such a pleasure. Staying there for some length of time does not, at least for me. I have not seen anyone else write about that particular aspect yet, but I cannot help but notice the similarity to Jesus’ story of the prodigal son. When he returned, there was partying, but his brother who had always stayed there, in his Father’s house, did not get such a party. That is not to say that he had drawn the shortest straw, for his Father said to him: “My child! You are always with me, and all that I have belongs to you.”
At first, the gravity of this inner center is quite weak, at least for most of us who have it at all. But it can grow over time. And as I mentioned a few years ago, the presence of people with a strong inner gravity can help strengthen our own, perhaps more than anything else. (Or perhaps prayer and meditation is more effective, I am honestly not sure though. In the beginning at least I think the presence of others is the most efficient.) This may sound counter-intuitive: If they have a strong inner gravity, would not that pull me outward from my own center and toward theirs?
The misunderstanding lies in the very fact that we can only speak of this in parables. It is not actual Newtonian gravity (although I am quite sure Newton had it, and in spades). We just use gravity as a way to illustrate or make it easier to recognize this when it happens to you. In reality, the center of gravity inside another is also the center of gravity inside yourself! Â All is one, one is all. Â So that is why their very presence pulls you into yourself, into your own heart, where you will find what you long for.
In the absence of such a person – often a saint or guru or bodhisattva – modern man can often find a similar help in the writings of such a person. Even the writings of someone who has left this world can have this effect. We are then touching on an area similar to the reverence for saints, and I believe the two overlap, but I will not go into this today. I will just say what I have experienced to some small degree and heard for truth by better men, that the presence of someone who is grounded in their own spiritual center will help strengthen the same in you. This seems to depend entirely on that other person’s integrity, not their orthodoxy, which may not completely overlap.
In other words, someone may be a master of the study of the correct faith, but their actual presence is of little value. Another may be useless for teaching, or possibly even worse than useless, but their presence radiates a call to turn inward that anyone with a trace of the same calling will feel. Why it is so, I know not.
I probably understand very little of this, so you may want to go to other sources. But I hope something has stirred within you, a feeling of the pull from that other center, that is opposite to the worries and entertainments of the world. Me, I am still kind of suspended between them, but I believe the interior castle is still growing. If I am given time, I now have hope that I may have a home there that will never be rocked by the strongest storm, even – I hope – the one that will one day blow out the candle of my earthly life.
I hope that is still far off, though.