Learning to fly in the School of Hard Knocks.
I wrote somewhat glowingly about the Twinings video a few days ago. At the time I wanted to write a novel inspired by it. Perhaps I will. But I think I may skip that because it is a topic worthy of a masterwork I cannot write (at least yet). You see, I have realized that the Twinings ad is actually a summary of the spiritual journey. It is the essence of religion, in a manner of speaking. No, I have not converted to Tea Worship. Rather, it is the essence of my own religion. Not the tea, but the boat journey.
Please do yourself the favor and watch it, preferably full screen. It may save your soul. OK, probably not. But it’s worth a try.
See, the movie actually starts a little after the actual spiritual voyage has begun. Fairly early after you have decided to set your course for Heaven (your name for this may vary), you have to row. Sorry about that. This is where a lot of people give up. They have been told by their pastor and reliable books that We Can Do Nothing To Our Salvation, that those who try to save themselves are outside grace, are under the Law and will be judged to the full penalty of the Law etc. Well, at least that is what Christians say around here. Your Christians may vary. Other religions are less bothered by this, it seems.
But the truth is that most of us come upon a stretch where we have to row. It just doesn’t feel good to abide by the basic tenets of religion. We want to snap back, we want to hurt or at least threaten those who mock us, we want to take a break from being good, we want to have some fun with our favorite sins from the good old days. Not that this isn’t going to happen anyway unless you’re some super saint, but the thing is, no progress is going to happen if we only do good when we feel good. We just have to sometimes do the right thing even if no one sees it and we don’t feel like we want to at all. We have to set aside time to pray or meditate, to read holy books or whatever our religion dictates which seems meaningless to us when we are tempted to skip it. In other words, we have to row.
The risk here is probably that we might succeed. I do not know why this happens to some people, why they manage to live good lives on their own, in their own strength. I guess that is commendable in its own way, but it is not the spiritual journey. That one happens pretty much like in the YouTube movie. Things get rougher than you had anticipated, and then you make a mistake or something happens and you lose your oar. The inner storm is too wild, your boat is too small, you are too weak. You lose your oar and no matter how much you try, you cannot get it back. You fail at life. Hopefully not in a spectacular manner that lands you in prison or pregnant or worse (although those may also happen here); but inside you this thing happens and things go out of control.
Don’t kill yourself at this point, the fun has barely even started.
The waves get bigger and the storm gets stronger and you seem destined to drown now that there is nothing you can do to save yourself. And then at some point you recognize that you are still alive, and that somehow the storm and the waves are conspiring to send you in the direction you were planning to go, albeit in a scary and uncomfortable manner. And then you start making these great leaps that feel like you are flying, except when you land again, and it feels like THIS time you are going to crash and drown for sure. And it just goes on and on, year after year. But at some point you begin to believe. You have seen the foam of the waves transform into seagulls so many times, you have had so many hard knocks and every time you get thrown forward again. You begin to believe that no, you are probably not going to Dissolution after all, even though you deserve it. And a strange exhilaration fills you as you see the storm throwing you forward, again and again, toward your distant goal.
In real life, this part goes on and on. Years go by for sure.
The end is what you thought your voyage would be, except so much more beautiful. The calm is absolute. Nothing, no pain or even death itself, can make the calm waters even quiver. There is absolute stillness. Or so I have heard – I am still being thrown around by the waves. ^_^ But I have this from pretty reliable sources. Not just Twinings…
The absolute calm, which started inside you as just a tiny mustard seed, has spread to completely engulf you. And in that calm, as Unknown Friend just said the other day, is Heaven itself. Its energies are moving your boat now. At some point, your boat will reach the Other Shore, and you will meet your True Self, the You that called to you from the future with absolute love that you could not deny. Finally you are home. Finally you are complete. Finally you are you.
There is much beyond that, but it is not for me to write about the things in Heaven. I’ll be so happy just to make it to the shore. And if I do, it is because the waves and the storm were directed to help me, even though I thought they were going to destroy me.
So that is the spiritual journey according to Twinings. But I may be wrong. You see, you hear these funny voices, in the Tower of Song…
Now may be a good time to watch it once more, preferably full screen. Does your heart agree with mine?