On the eve of our first. ever. camping excursion, I’m feeling a little poetic.
(And overwhelmed. Holy crow. Do you know that some people pay FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS for a tent? I told my husband. He said, “FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS??? If I had that to spend on a tent, I’d be staying in a hotel.”
I said, “Honey,” leaning forward for emphasis, “Some people actually camp. On purpose.”
I seriously don’t get it but I think we’re going to love it.
And I’m sure that I’ll get this whole packing-thing down. Right now, the back of the car looks less like we’re going camping for one night, and more like we’re being evacuated from our house, never to return.)
Anyway. That has nothing to do with the point of this blog. So onward we go.
Growing up, I loved the poem, Desiderata by Max Erhmann.
The first lines always move me into a space of rest:
“Go placidly amid the noise and haste and remember what peace there may be in silence.”
The world gets very noisy.
Either the world outside of us.
Or the world we’ve created in our minds.
The silence is a retreat — first into the contrast — for in the silence we hear our noise.
Once the busy, crazy chaos of the outside gets turned down,
we hear the busy, crazy chaos within.
We didn’t notice how much of it was on the inside
until it got quiet on the outside.
But then, in the breath of silence, we hear the song of peace, calling us into it’s sanctuary.
And then, over time we see that the sanctuary isn’t on the outside because we experience the sanctuary within.
That, to me, is the valuable journey — to get to the point where you know the dissatisfying end of external pursuits of peace (because it is supposed to be dissatisfying for us to try to find peace in the external.)
The external is for pleasure and connection. Ecstasy, pain, life and death.
The internal is the eternal…
and is for peace.
And when we find the peace within, we enjoy the external life with a different appreciation because we are not pursuing it, expecting it to give to us something it was never designed to give.
The toys, the cars, the wine…they are there for our pleasure.
Not for our peace.
Whenever they are used toward that end, it’s because we’ve mis-assigned their value and misplaced our expectation. And we do that because we are having a bout of spiritual amnesia — forgetting who we are, the power we hold, and the peace that is within.
“You are a child of the universe…
…no less than the trees and the stars…”
If, in our forgetful state, if we don’t go inward to the sanctuary and instead go external, we end up momentarily distracted
and temporarily medicated
and ultimately dissatisfied.
That restless dissatisfaction?
It’s a gift.
It’s not there so that you’ll turn up the TV louder to drown out the static of your mind.
It’s there to be a signpost that it’s time to stop swimming in the surface waters of superficiality and it’s time to go deeper within.
The journey is to the center of yourself, the core of who you are.
For there you will find your Divine Self and Source.
There, you will find
“Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.”
(Excerpts in green from Desiderata by Max Ehrmann, 1927)