Sunday, August 31, 2014

Already Right Here

"The Cove"
-Outside the Desert Retreat House-

The area where we live out here in the desert is known as "the cove." Set right up against the Santa Rosa mountains, the cove is replete with scenic hiking trails that weave through the desert floor going high up into the mountains. These trails are very popular among tourists who hike this region to take in the experience of sage brush and cacti, glorious wildflowers in the spring, the sounds of exotic desert birds, roadrunners dashing in and out, a herd of bighorn sheep sometimes standing on the path,  - and always the great silence along the way.

I count myself to be so incredibly blessed to be able to walk outside our front door and be standing right in the midst of it all.

I recall one day as my wife and I were walking with our dogs along one of the nearby trails and we passed by two hikers, walking sticks in hand, backpacks and water bottles, diligently studying their maps and looking very confused.  They stopped us and said, "We are looking for a place called "the cove." We hear it has some wonderful hiking trails. Have you ever heard of it, and do you know how to get there?"  "This is the cove" I responded, "you are already on one of the trails." 

I recall one of the hikers somewhat "sheepishly" looking up from his maps and saying, "Yeah, I guess this is pretty nice isn't it?" 

The American Buddhist Lama Surya Das once said:

Whatever we are looking for is always right here.
We are usually elsewhere - that's the problem. 

As I sit in my desert garden on this Sunday morning, I think of all the millions of people walking on all sorts of spiritual pathways, looking for "Truth," for "deeper peace" in life.  Some go to a church or to a mosque or a temple,  they may read books and listen to sermons and lectures or seek out gurus, sages and teachers - all looking for some solution to the Great Riddle, the Mystery of Life.

But as I see it you can't ever arrive at the Truth by thinking about what is true.  In some ways you can't even find the truth but by searching for it. A Mystery can't be solved, nor can it be explained. It can only be experienced. The Truth is already right here, but "we are usually elsewhere, and that's the problem."

Throughout his life, Siddhartha Gautama was on a path of frantically searching for the meaning of life, searching everywhere for the Truth, but not finding the way. Then he sat under a Bodhi tree for 40 days and said, "I'm here and I'm not going to move from here until I find what I'm looking for. So he cleared his mind of thoughts and opened his heart, awake and available in the present moment and the Truth came to him.  He became the enlightened Buddha. He experienced the Great Mystery that he was not a separated individual, that he belonged to everything and everyone, all belonging to one another.  What he was looking for was already here but he could never experience it before because he was trying to solve the mystery. 

Jesus also went out into a desert and like the Buddha he waited and watched in the moment for  40 days and 40 nights. He cleared his mind and opened his heart and the Truth came to him. Like the Buddha, Jesus experienced everything and everyone that is, or ever was, or ever will be,  all belonging together - all the many in the ONE, and Jesus called this experience, "The Kingdom of God." 

Later when he preaches to his disciples about the"Kingdom of God" and they ask him how to find this kingdom and when it will come? Jesus tells them, "It's already right here, now, within you." He tells them to get their noses out of the maps because they are already walking on the beautiful trail.

Whatever we are looking for is already right here.
We are usually elsewhere - that's the problem.  

1 comment:

  1. For me the truth is something that is felt sense in what I call my "knower" that does not come from intellectual pursuits but informs them. Carolyn Wheeler