Looking Within

I was really angry today. I was angry because all the belief systems I have subscribed to and crafted over my 28 years have come crashing down, mostly because I kicked the pedestal out from under them. I was angry that I was raised within one system of thought (Christian), not realizing until adulthood that there is a whole world out there and that God is beyond all of what I had been taught.

I was reminded of a teaching by Meister Eckhart. Seeking peace and seeking God externally will keep such things elusive. Only when we seek them within can we find them and know wholeness.

Part of my upbringing was the need to be validated by a god, by a system, that existed outside of me. I needed to conform, to match up. This habit of looking for some system of thought, some religion, some practice to define me has continued into adulthood, and it’s produced nothing but heartbreak and misery.

Odds are that many of you get what I’m saying because you’ve experienced the effects of broken systems and beliefs. You know what it is to spin out of orbit because the center of your spiritual universe betrayed you or revealed its inadequacy.

Many Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and Neo-Pagans know what it’s like to see that their system can’t fully satisfy them. There will always be a human element of deception or manipulation involved at one point or another. Agendas run rampant, and the Divine often has little to do with it.

This is why we must view all external religious/spiritual realities as what they are: tools of expression. Expression of what? The Truth within.

Only when you can find peace, enlightenment, and wholeness within you, and only when we acknowledge that each of us carries the presence of what we might call the Divine, can we make good use of the tools before us. Otherwise, the tools become idols by which we divide and mistreat the human family.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be religious or spiritual. Hell, I’m a Quaker. Community is important for discernment, as our beliefs always have practical implications. What I am saying is that if you focus solely on the external for your hope, validation, salvation, and enlightenment, you’re only going to be disapointed.

Now, looking within is not a process by which you will find some cleverly hidden answer to all the questions of the universe. Rather, it’s a means of recognizing and honoring your own value and agency. It’s your ability to affect positive, life-giving change and achieve peace within the life you currently occupy.

With all that said, know that you are enough. You have all you need to know peace and transformation. Your mind, your soul, your consciousness is an incredible gift from the Source by which you may discern a way to live at a blessed oneness with the world and those who share it with you.

Peace be with you!

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