We are still spiritual children, and we are presented continually in this place with a choice of (at least) three spiritual directions. Ultimately, each person chooses what will be placed on his or her inner altar.
We assume that we must figure out the conditions under which peace and happiness flourish. That’s a falsehood, just blurry vision of our inner altars. In fact, we can’t figure out the nature of the soil that will bring forth the holy manifestations in a particular garden – we are not yet so wise. We can only choose what it is that we worship – what we want.
We are drawn upward into the holy union of all Children of God in the eternity beyond the veil. We are drawn inward into the tiny mental cages of individual organisms in a physical, temporal ecosystem. Finally, we are drawn downward by the darkness of empire, where hierarchy and exclusivity attempts to build immortal castles of the shifting dust. All the sources of this drawing are within us – this place where we’ve found ourselves is nothing if not a battleground of cognitive dissonance.
We cannot discern the pathways by their prospective destinations. No abstract image of wealth or poverty, fame or obscurity, companionship or solitude, physical environment, choice of work, or choice of faith ultimately guarantees peace and happiness. For these are just the turning tides. These are nothing at all – the flux of form in time, the formulation of lessons combined with disobedience as the Holy One interacts with those He’s given free will.
We cannot discern the pathways by their emotive forces. There is fear of losing the temporary gifts given only for lessons, there is fear of being equal to all the other Children of God, and there is fear of God Himself. There is relationship love that is conditional, there is dark love that worships destruction, and there is holy love of the Lord. The turning of interior tides are no more truthful than the exterior ones.
But we can discern holy encounters, and they occur only in the context of the upward-drawn path. It is not within us to create a love for the eternal out of dust, it is not within us to be drawn to compassion and sacrifice of self for others, and it is not within us to create brotherhood that contains no hatred toward or omission of those different than ourselves. When these arise, you’ve had holy encounters – junction points of divinity and temporality or, if you prefer, places where the slumber has become momentarily less deep.
We must let go of all desired outcomes. We must let go of what feels good and stop avoiding that which doesn’t. Instead, we must listen intently with our heart for the working of the Beloved in our lives. See how you are being asked to participate in the work of holiness – how these things that are not within us arise and bloom around you in the mysterious garden. For each such bloom is a communication of the Beloved – a holy encounter between yourself and almighty God.
By listening and then participating in the holy encounters, we become servant gardeners working in groves of light. It is there that peace and happiness grow.