"Hidden Beneath the Surface"
- At the Desert Retreat House -
Lots of people today talk about their “spiritual journey”- this phrase has become a very popular way to talk about “faith” without using more traditional words like “religion” – a word that carries a lot of baggage nowadays.
Writing a daily article about faith and spirituality, I have come to observe that people who consider themselves to be “religious,” often presume that they are engaged in a more “authentic” spiritual journey because they are guided by a faith that has its roots in centuries of tradition. On the other hand, the growing number of folks who label themselves as “spiritual” but are unaffiliated with any religion likewise believe that their “journey” is the more authentic one because they are able to pursue a quest for “God” and search for deeper wisdom without the constraints of external religious ritual and dogma.
Then of course there are those folks who see themselves as neither spiritual nor religious- atheists or agnostics who have no thought of “God,” believing that the observable world can all be explained and figured out. They claim that science is their religion, and if pressed, many would likely say that they are not on any sort of spiritual journey at all.
I actually think that the “spiritual journey” is not exclusively limited to religious people nor is it confined to the “practice” of spiritual people. In fact, as I see it every single human being is innately destined to pursue a “spiritual journey”- even the most strident atheists.
The other day I came across a fascinating new book, The New Monasticism: An Interspiritual Manifesto for Contemporary Living, by Rory McEntee and Adam Bucko. I was immediately grasped by the very first sentence of the book’s Foreword:
The spiritual or mystical journey is the heartbeat of humanity,
always present even if hidden beneath the surface.
It is the most primal calling of every human heart,
the song of the soul going back to ‘God,’
from the outer world to the formless Truth that resides within each of us.
Oneness is at the core of our being and within all life.
Each cell embodies and reflects its primal oneness – the unity of being
The journey home of the soul back to the Source is a journey back to unity,
to the mystical realization that we are the
I actually think I prefer the term “mystical journey” to “spiritual journey.” In a vey real sense every single human being is a mystic- we are all together on a mystical journey through life. We all spring out of a Primal Oneness like bubbles that have sprung up to the surface of the vast ocean, always part of and connected to the ocean and ultimately returning to the source from where we came.
We all have an inherent desire deep in the core of our humanity- a desire to be drawn into the transcendent, a desire to return back to the Source.
Some folks pursue their “mystical yearning” by following a path of Christianity or Judaism or Islam. Others may turn to Buddhism or Hinduism- each and every path is a quest fueled by our deep longing to return to the Source out of which we came.
Even the people who reject the concept of God and say they want nothing to do with spirituality are inherently mystical. The “yearning” is always there in every cell of our bodies, even if it is hidden beneath the surface. The desire to return to the Source is innate, it is inherent, as autonomous to our human condition as breathing.
I think maybe Augustine had it right so many centuries ago:
Our hearts are restless until they can find rest in Thee, O ‘God.’