Soul & Sea
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Soul & Sea

This is the Holy Grail you seek

When one light fades, the one you really want becomes visible

Photo by Donald Giannatti on Unsplash

There is a peace that passes all understanding.

You wouldn’t know it much when you look at what’s going on in the world would you?

It sounds like a fantasy. A kind of mental Shangri-La where all worldly travails are set aside and we finally let go and breathe out.

Why does this peace elude all understanding? Because it is not a product of the mind, neither can it be understood by the mind.

We are talking about something that exists at an entirely different level of consciousness that we will never find by looking in the world.

That’s precisely because it isn’t in this world — it is not in the physical realm, neither is it in the emotional or mental realms that we prize so highly.

After all, how could it be possible to know a permanent peace, or at least have access to it, in a world of duality?

Here, everything has its opposite, its shadow. There can be no permanence here yet here is where we continue to look.

Relationships, perhaps more than any other area of life, exhibit that fully don’t they and lend us the best example of how things work here.

Things start off great, we get the much-wanted honeymoon high, but it isn’t long before we enter the power struggle stage from where very few people make it out happy and fulfilled.

What has gone wrong, we cry? Well, all that was buried deep within us, in our unconscious world, had crept up in the hope that what we have so carefully hidden all these years will finally be acceptable to someone, our partner.

The exact same thing was happening within them. After all, wholeness is our goal, our Holy Grail.

But as we are programmed to choose people just like mum and dad that rarely goes according to plan.

In fact, we find the same old sensitive spots are once again trodden into the dust and go back into hiding. The rot sets in and things collapse, usually in pretty short order.

So, if peace is not to be found in the physical world with all its pain and pleasure, the emotional world, the mental or the unconscious, where is it?

Sometimes, very rarely, you meet someone who seems to have found their peace, who is not thrown out of joint by the vagaries of life.

They seem to have a look in their eyes, a calm and poise, and something indefinable that drawers you in, inexplicably.

If someone asks you why you feel so moved to get near this person, you find it hard to pin down, there’s just something…

That person has a quality you need and they are worth getting to know. If you are a particularly worldly creature, you can easily make the mistake of dismissing this teacher.

The paradox is this: you are in a much better place than all those people happy and satisfied by the world. They are still enjoying the game and have further to travel to get where you are.

The old myths and fairy tales are full of dwarfs and shaggy ponies that life seems to have left behind but hold the treasure, the directions to the Holy Grail.

Often these characters come in shapes and sizes the world fails to value, just as it has failed to value the peace that is really the ultimate goal in all of our seeking.

The problem is, while we are seeking our satisfaction through anything outside of ourselves we will always hit a roadblock and have to begin again.

So, we find a new job or girlfriend, buy a bigger car or house, maybe even a yacht if we have worked really hard. Maybe we embark upon that fourth marriage.

But no, that elusive something remains just that, elusive.

Finally, you get the idea that all your seeking has got you precisely nowhere and you are on a wheel that runs in ever-decreasing circles.

You reach one mountain top and on the horizon you see another and begin the next frantic clamber in the hope of permanent satisfaction.

It’s the game of the world and it goes on ad infinitum.

As you tire of the game, something else begins to occur.

A little of the light you saw in that roadside creature, the one with all the wisdom, starts to gather and glint in your own eye.

Yes, something is slowly dawning. The game, you see, is just that, a game and the only way out of it is to step off the wheel and stop playing.

That doesn’t mean you sell your house and get on a slow plane to Nepal although that may be the road for some.

What it does mean is that instead of looking outside you do the one thing you have been avoiding all your life. You look within.

You have been avoiding the inner journey because the first thing that confronts you is your own fear, resistance and pain.

Anything but this, you tell yourself. But then you realise you have already tried anything but this. But if needs be, and if you need a convincer, you go for another lap around the track.

Then you return to where you started and the same journey awaits. The road back to the Paradise Garden is guarded by angels with flaming swords and the only way is ahead.

In one tradition, this turning is known as tauba, the turning of the soul away from its down and outward focus into the world and back in and up to the seat of the soul.

This is a long slow process, rather like turning the Titanic, but hopefully with better results.

Results, for most anyway, don’t happen overnight, you have to devote your time to the inner world, really want to connect with the light within you and that which birthed the whole universe.

Now, for the first time, you are gaining another perspective. Standing outside the universe of time and space and all it contains, you get to see it for what it is.

All along, it was only ever reflecting something way more important, but you got caught in the illusion — as we all do — and believed it to be real, only to find it disappointing you again and again.

The paradox is this: you are in a much better place than all those people happy and satisfied by the world. They are still enjoying the game and have further to travel to get where you are.

Isn’t that incredibly good news? The people who seem to be doing the worst are often the ones closest to the goal. Maybe the meek really do inherit the earth, right?

You have been fortunate enough to get a glimpse of something else, something you could never have seen by your own efforts: the light that lives inside your own heart.

It was there all along but like the sun on a cloudy day, you just couldn’t see it. To see it, the reflected light of the world had to fade. You had to be disappointed. That’s the gift in the pain!

As the light of the world fades, as the world seems increasingly meaningless, the light of the sun finally comes into view.

Behind all your suffering, consciousness was there, drumming its fingers, waiting for you to show up. It was in every experience that passed through your life.

That’s why people say they feel 18 when they are 80. Consciousness doesn’t age and consciousness is you!

You are the permanence you always sought but had mistaken yourself for a human being with a name and form. That’s how you got lost in the first place.

Really, you were something else all along. We could call it the I Am or the Self.

You were always that and always will be, even if you fall back into the illusion, caught once again by life’s spell.

That doesn’t mean life’s problems suddenly disappear and you live in permanent bliss. That’s a nonsense, but from now on you know the ultimate secret and you can be that anytime you like.

All you have to do is wake up. If you do, try not to go back to sleep.

Welcome to the peace that passes all understanding.

© simon heathcote



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