Friday, May 17, 2013
Where is Paradise? On Spiritual Navel Gazing...
Look within, spiritual navel gazers say. The Kingdom lies within. The answer is within you. Look inside and find your own bliss. Look inside and (fill in the blank here). Visualize something (usually a job, lover or material object) and you will manifest it. People keep telling me that the Inner world is so much superior to the Outer world. This leads to some sort of spiritual narcissism where nothing exists but our own feelings, thoughts, dreams, consciousness. Enough of this myopia.
I encourage you to look around you. Look outside yourself: that's where you'll find Paradise. I think most of us spend way too much time contemplating ourselves. We fret about our waist lines, health, checkbooks, breath, job security, salvation---reasonable anxieties, sure. But how important are they really? And do I find Paradise by closing my eyes and listening to my own breath and stilling my mind? I've always been rather bored with the whole practice. Helpful, sure. Still reeks of spiritual solipsism to me.
Paradise isn't within; it is outside my porch.
Have you gone for a walk in the woods lately? Looked into the eyes of a loved one? Have you watched a sunset? Smelled the ocean? Climbed a hill to see a view? Admired a flower? Been spooked by a rattler? Watched dogs run and play? Have you seen something wild lately? Watched a coyote run off? Peered over the edge of a cliff? Admired a Grosbeak? Spent time watching a bird feeder? Have you seen a squirrel jump from tree to tree--aerial acrobatics far superior to any Flying Wallenda? Have you watched the wind blow through 100 foot tall Ponderosas that sway just outside this house? Have you listened to the coyotes sing (God's song dog) at sunset? Have you listened to a creek lately? Or the screech of a hawk or the chirping of a house finch? Have you listened to the wings of a hummingbird make that buzzing sound?
Nothing inside me rivals any of the items above. There is no bliss without the things above. Look within? No. Look without; the view is better. I intend to enjoy it while I can.