“You have traveled too fast over false ground;
Now your soul has come to take you back.
Take refuge in your senses, open up
To all the small miracles you rushed through.
Become inclined to watch the way of rain
When it falls slow and free.
Imitate the habit of twilight,
Taking time to open the well of color
That fostered the brightness of day.
Draw alongside the silence of stone
Until its calmness can claim you.”
– John O’Donohue
Our outer progress over the last few centuries – the relentless pace of progress – has occurred much to the detriment of the human soul. The soul itself has not been harmed by man’s misuse of his free will, for lower cannot permeate or influence the higher, but it has been relegated to the bottom of the list of things about which a person ought to be concerned.
The soul remains intact, there remains in each one that which is whole, holy, perfect, and true. But the loss comes from the fact that the soul has been obscured by man’s frenzied attempt to dominate the world around him. Heaven is now more veiled from earth than ever. Man’s obsession with outer matters leaves him at odds with his inner self. His covetousness and acquisitiveness, which spring from the fact that materialism has trumped spiritualism in his heart and mind, leaves him bereft of true meaning, value, and purpose.
No matter how grim this may sound, there is no cause for despair. On the contrary, there is ample reason for great hope. The veil which obscures inner from outer, heaven from earth, is easily pierced by the sword of truth. Truth comes in so many forms – appreciation, forgiveness, and patience are but a few of its many aspects – and all of them create openings, precious pathways by means of which that which is above can flow into that which is below.
Slow down today and look at your world. Really look at it. Not just with your eyes, but with your heart, with the full attention of your mind. Think not what you can get from it but ask yourself instead what you can give to it. Connect with the beauty of nature around you, be it a lovely tree, a lonely blade of grass, or a passing cloud. Let your heart come to rest for a day, or at least a moment. Let yourself “be.” Let yourself live. Let yourself love.
Your soul has come to take you back. Slow down enough, listen carefully enough to hear it calling you through the silence.