At some point in our lives, for some of us, the thirst for truth arises. At first, this existential longing can be quite unsettling. In my own life, I recall feeling a constant sense of dissatisfaction and a deep yearning in my gut that simply would not ease, no matter what worldly remedies I attempted. It was like an alarm, that just kept getting louder. I could settle at nothing. Restlessness and unease were my most lived in states of being. It was hell.
I turned to all manner of sustenance to feed that aching hunger, yet like the hungry ghosts, nothing would suffice. It was only when I had my first Satori, my first full and genuine taste of the realm of Spirit already alive within me, that I finally understood. From that day forward, the clenching and aching in my gut began to settle. Sometimes, it would be gone for days, only to return with renewed vigour and late on in my meditation and self inquiry practice, I remember it returned with full force for some time.
However, by that point, I knew what the thirst and hunger was for. I was longing for something that was already present… the dimension of Spirit… and I knew that the activity of mind and feelings, the perspective of egocentricity had simply gained in momentum and was drawing me back into the old patterns. I also instinctively knew that those old patten’s days were numbered! I realised that with a continued and deliberate turning toward the realm of Spirit within me, it was only a matter of external, relative time before the peace of Presence would be my natural home base.
That really sums up where I find myself today: in a place where an unshakable sense of peace, is my home base. No matter what occurs in my external life (and like all lives, much drama occurs in my external life!), I find myself back here, in the peace of the heart of Presence. Like a stone that is thrown into a pond, the ripples widen outwards and sure enough, the stillness and silence returns. To observe this in ones own experience, is truly a beautiful thing.
The storm clouds gather, the sky darkens, the rains come down, the winds howl, the thunder rumbles and the lightning crackles and lights up the sky. This is the drama of our everyday lives: a loved one passes away, the stock market crashes (100 times worse than the last one!), a lover leaves us, a job is lost, a home taken away. Whatever it is that occurs (and it can be small stuff too… an altercation with someone over the phone, an argument with a good friend, a forgotten chore that causes us inconvenience…) it’s so beautiful to watch how the storm passes… the sky brightens, the air becomes still, the birds begin to sing once more in the trees.
There is a stage also, in the deepening of our stability at home in the awakened state, where that sense of peace and stillness and silence is noticeable and felt even during the raging of the storm. And with that, comes a self assurance (assured as we are, in the Self – with a capital S) and a confidence that home is where we will end up after this journey away… back home to the heart of Presence.
So, until we are able to identify that our restlessness and unease is indeed a longing for the Truth of the realm of Spirit, our seeking will not end. We will mistake all manner of things (especially things on display along the Spiritual Buffet of techniques, retreats, approaches, and so on) for our desired prize, only to return to that longing. Like the hungry ghosts, our lives will be bloated with all manner of things and our hunger, our thirst will remain.
Only the felt experience of the realm of Spirit, the heart of Presence, can quench the thirst for Truth. And to experience that, we must become still… listen deeply to the silence all around… feel the space between thoughts, between feelings. We do this as often as we can, until we realise that it never leaves. We leave, on some wild goose chase that our predominant and well practiced perspective of egocentricity has promised us will make us feel better. When we’re done with all of our prodigal wanderings… the heart of truth, the peace of Spirit, is waiting for us within… where it has been all along.