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The wilderness inside

The interior life is a place of the wild – uncivilized and unpredictable, giving us fevers, symptoms, and moments of beauty. Yet within the appearance of chaos is both a richness and deep level of orderliness. Like a national park the interior world does not do anything–it is the treasure-house of life. It can’t be strip-mined for our conscious purposes, the only request it makes of us is that we love it, and, in return, it responds to our attention. To learn to attend well is to discover our place in the natural order. It brings an element of consistency and harmony to our lives, and gives us a story about who we are. To learn to attend is the beginning. To learn to attend more and more deeply is the path itself.  

For aboriginal people a wilderness is not something alien, but a kind of blessed garden. As our attention deepens, we too come to harmonize with existence, learn to see the thin vine that has a tuber underneath, or to follow the direction of the birds at sunset to a waterhole. Gradually we change. Our listening becomes more acute. We hear background as well as foreground noises, and we are no longer so surprised by the animals- the fears and longings of our inner life – and do not complain that someone else has caused their rough ways. When our attention is offered freely, the inner life in return becomes a friend to comfort and sustain us. Gradually, through our offered attention, we connect with the source out of which we came. We become aboriginal to ourselves, discovering how much we love our own inwardness.  

Meditation – the primary method of spiritual inquiry, taking various forms in different traditions – plunges us into the source and saturates us with its waters, answering, in a certain fashion, our curiosity about what it is that we are. … it compels us to its mode, in which eternity is everlastingly present within our lives, making the smallest moment vibrant and full of colour. Our underlying doubts about existence soften, and a constricting attachment to the narrow, received aspects of consciousness is weakened. The transparency of the world amazes us – at each moment we are surprised anew by the clarity of what we see: our undeniable connection to the source. We have come home at last, no longer alone on the earth. –John Tarrant (edited)

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