We All Just Want To Be Led Back Home
I was ready to sit down and write what I had in mind for today’s post but it’s safe to say that Hermann Hesse said it a thousand times better than I ever could’ve…
When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Those are childish thoughts. Let God speak within you, and your thoughts will grow silent. You are anxious because your path leads away from mother and home. But every step and every day lead you back again to the mother. Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all.
A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening. If one listens to them silently for a long time, this longing reveals its kernel, its meaning. It is not so much a matter of escaping from one’s suffering, though it may seem to be so. It is a longing for home, for a memory of the mother, for new metaphors for life. It leads home. Every path leads homeward, every step is birth, every step is death, every grave is mother.
So the tree rustles in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts: Trees have long thoughts, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours. They are wiser than we are, as long as we do not listen to them. But when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy. Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.”
― Hermann Hesse
If we could look passed the surface layer of our persona and move beyond the thorny field of our thinking mind, we’d discover that at our center all we really want out of life is self-actualization.
We all just want to be led home. We want to be the person we were meant to be. The deepest, most potent, most truest version of our self.
Hesse, in the most brilliant and vivid of ways, clues us in on how to inch closer and closer to that inward space. A space where rational thinking is replaced with contemplative listening.
I’d argue that Hesse’s words aren’t just about trees, although there’s nothing quite like the sound of trees rustling in the wind, it’s about listening in the silence and solitude of our own making.
It’s in this stillness where common, every day distractions are vaporized — where our mind becomes ripple-less.
This is home.
And when we arrive there, we’ll find ourselves having been pulled from the head to the soul, from self-absorption to self-actualization. Here is where we’ll finally see ourselves as we are not as we think.