This sign jumped out at me recently as I saw it outside a shop window. Ah! The relief of being ourselves. The comfort and happiness within when we are sitting naturally in our own skin.
We all have natural affiliations, gifts and tendencies, as well as personalities. Some of us are sprinters, some are long-distance athletes. Some of us are leaders, some encourage from within the ranks. Some run companies, others help unnoticed. Some are parents, some aren't. Some others devote their time to life's work and experience, others travel. Some are rich, poor, or somewhere in between. Some yearn to discover constant newness, others enjoy routine.
Some of us are chronically ill, some are hungry, tired. Some of us are in tremendous pain, others don't know this. Some of us are struggling, others are having breakthroughs. Some are despairing, others are allowing help to penetrate them. Some are calm, others are anxious. Some people are living in a war zone, others are peacefully unaware.
Some of us can read maps. Some of us can actually park a car! Some can bake the greatest cake on earth without even looking at a recipe. Some of us play music, some of us can hear it. Some of us can cajole and encourage. Some bring rest. Some can understand we are carrying a load, and some can lighten our load. Some allow us to have bad days, some allow themselves to have bad days. Some can inspire, some can teach, some of us can receive. Some can welcome. Some can fight for justice, some can forgive. Some of us are motivated, some others lethargic.
Some of us startle easily, some of us are restless. Some of us want to hide, some want to be seen. Some of us are larger than life, some of us are invisible. Some of us have endless doubt, some find faith in spite of it. Some of us are light-hearted, some of us wish we were.
We all get lost from time to time. We are all of the above, some of the time. Contemplation reveals our external world is always on the verge of entering a new phase of change, or just coming out of one. Some of us catalyse change, some of us soothe the effects of change. Some challenge, some accept. We need both.
The seasons of life bring inevitable change, but our inner natural Way is constant, like the background behind the changing landscape. A tree is always a tree, in spite of witnessing 4 seasons every year. It is deeply rooted. It is aware of a natural order occurring around it throughout the year. It does not cling to one season over another, wishing to prolong the summer, or prematurely end the winter. The Flow of Life knows what it is doing. The tree yields and bends with this Flow.
Where is our natural habitat? Outdoors in nature or in the middle of the busy urban environment? Meeting with a group of friends or family or walking silently though a quiet forest or by the deafening sea? Are we happier reading or talking, moving or stationary? Are we gardeners or designers? Are we builders or supporters? Are we teachers or students? Are we visionaries or conservationists? Are we old or young? Are we different or are we the same? Are we fresher in the morning or at night? What is our rhythm? How well do we know our natural Way? What do we need to come home to ourselves? What balances us and brings true contentment? Can we relax into our natural Way?
Know Yourself, and Be That - it's not only impossible, but exhausting, trying to be other than this. Find your roots. You are planted deeper than the seasonal changes of life. The Contemplative Way seeks to anchor you there.
"Go deeper than love, for the soul has greater depths,
love is like the grass, but the heart is deep wild rock
molten, yet dense and permanent.
Go down to your deep old heart, and lose sight of yourself."
From "Know Thyself, Know Thyself More Deeply"