Every truth ever discovered, each new spiritual light that will ever burn bright has already been seeded in our consciousness. All we will ever know and share about love, humility, compassion, and sacrifice -- the secrets that will reveal and then resolve old sorrows -- awaits us within ourselves. Hidden in this truth is our great promise, both as individuals and as a race of beings. I call these timeless ideas that ignite and stir us to remember our forgotten spiritual heritage "seeds of fire."
This means that the new and higher self-understanding for which we search is already a part of those who seek it, as it's always found there, within us, or not at all. And further, it is the Sacred itself that secretly initiates the search! Which brings us to a startling revelation, and a fine starting point for a new way to understand something of our True Nature: There is but one timeless Self seemingly divided into three parts that we will call: "The Seeker, the Search, the Sacred."
Can a collection of hundreds of thoughts -- spread out across a vast expanse of space and time -- spoken world-over by thousands of different voices -- reveal this unseen and elusive fact of our great singularity? The answer is an unqualified "Yes!"-- but only when each of these seeds of fire is realized for what it is: the expressed reflection of the divine mind from which they radiate, not unlike the light from the sun which reveals itself in the glimmer of a thousand diamonds as they dance upon the sea.
There is a very old idea that, as best can be determined, comes to us from the days of the early Christian Desert Fathers. In six concise words it touches upon a certain fact of human nature that even volumes of books would prove unable to express any better: "Fish swim, birds fly... man prays."
In other words, it's the nature of fish to glide through water, for birds to soar through open skies, because they are at home there. Sea and sky, accordingly, are the worlds of their origin, where they belong, the place they are free. But where is our true home? What is the nature of that place where our original self is one with its longing to explore its own deepest possibilities, and where discovering the treasures waiting there is the same as fulfilling our purpose for being? What world is there for us where our essential nature -- and its right to live free -- is one and the same?
We're granted a quick glimpse of this secret destination in these spirit-filled lines from American poet Walt Whitman's classic work, Leaves of Grass.
Would you sound below the restless ocean of the entire world?
Would you know the dissatisfaction? the urge and spur of every life;
The something never still'd--never entirely gone? the invisible need of every seed?
It is the central urge in every atom
To return to its divine source and origin, however distant.
Throughout time, spanning all cultures, religious climate, and incumbent social values, the great saints, mystics, and masters of all traditions repeat one great story line, as evidenced in the following select quotations. These quotations are adapted from Guy Finley's newest work, "The Seeker, The Search, The Sacred," Weiser Books, 2011.
God made the senses turn outward, man therefore looks outward, not into himself. Sometimes a daring man has looked round and found himself. Then he is immortal! --Katha Upanishad (4th c. BCE, India)
Thou hast formed us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in Thee. --Saint Augustine (354-430, Algeria)
The whole world is you. Yet you keep thinking there is something else. --Hsüeh-Feng I-ts'un (822-908, China)
I laugh when I hear that the fish in the water are thirsty. You don't grasp the fact that what is most alive of all is inside your own house; and so you walk from one holy city to the next with a confused look! --Kabir (1398-1518, India)
Religion is the first thing and the last thing, and until a man has found God and been found by God, he begins at no beginning, he works to no end. --H. G. Wells (1866-1946, England)
Fall in love with Wisdom and she will keep you... put her around you, and she will exalt you; honor her that she may embrace you... --Origen (185-254, Egypt)
Suffering, if it does not diminish love, will transport you to the furthest shore. --Buddha (c. 565-483, Nepal)
I who cannot be fit into universes upon universes, fit into the heart of the sincere believer. --Muhammad (c. 570/71-672, Mecca, Saudi Arabia)
Has the road an end or not?" He answered: "The road has an end, but the stations have no end, for the journey is twofold, one to God and one in God." --Attar Of Nishapur (1145-c. 1221, Nishapur, Khorasan)
Survival is the second law of life. The first is that we are all one. --Joseph Campbell (1904-1987, United States)
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