I raise my hand and gesture to my friend (all of you) with a beckoning wave. “Come with me, my friend; we’re going to journey into the desert. There will be no turning back until we discover profound Truth. We’re going to leave everything behind–including water. On this journey into barrenness, we will have no need for canteens.”
Incredulous, my friend says, “But, surely we shall perish if we dare to travel into the desert heat without water.”
I look at my friend with utter compassion. His concern is understandable, given whom he believes himself to be. “In Truth–true knowing–there is no need for water,” I reply, “because we’re going to leave behind the person who drinks.” And so…we head into the desert:
Who would pretend to know what events lead us into the heart of the desert. Suffering? Life circumstances? Beasts in the belly so painful that we are willing–even eager–to leave behind our person who cries in the night? Yes, no doubt. The cause may also just be what it is…when the time is right. In I Am That, Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj makes it clear that “the fruit falls from the tree when it is ripe.” If you, my friends, are ripe with earnest curiosity, we’ll walk into the desert and discover our essential nature.
Personhood–what a rush! Through it we get to run and play, build companies, climb mountains, forge rivers, get married and have children. We may travel the world, be fighter pilots, and take motorcycle trips that span thousands of kilometers! We can choose a career and give our life in service. Conversely, we may get lost in the greedy egoic dream and take this moment-to-moment journey in “time and space” as real–too real. If this be the case, our journey into personhood–the little Jane or John Doe that the majority of individuals still believe themselves to be–can be incredibly challenging. At such a point, we may need to travel within–to the heart of the desert–and rediscover our essential nature.
During our journey into the desert, my friend learned–directly–that the realness of this world was but a shimmering desert mirage. Every sandy step was a walking meditation into the stillness of our Being. He recognized (Latin: to know again) that What was truly Real was the transcendent place from whence we came. And when we emerged from the desert, walking together as spiritual children of the one-and-only God, we carried that knowing with us. We truly are in this world but not of it.
Dare to dream (and care for one another).
With heartfelt regards,
Copyright © – 2020 – R. Arthur Russell
P.S. Please share this article if you enjoyed it. If you’d like to view my latest book (This Taste of Flesh and Bones–released September 8, 2020), press here. May it help you in your spiritual journey. 🙏🙏