via Wikimedia Commons
There is a grand pride of occupation. There is a self-congratulations grinning out of relationships. In the flux of self and world, a thousand lures of false certainty would claim your heart for the darkness. Do not crave a fixed identity.
I own and operate a website development consulting business. The road from the university halls to here was long. I sailed immense bureaucratic caverns of servitude on cubicle ships. Now, I might have a certain pride in being a self-directed man. Yet such pride is false, because it was not my striving that brought me to these shores. It was granted me by grace. Just so, whatever accomplishments you’ve made professionally were gifts given to you. Both of our canoes landed us on these lands, but a time will come when the river will call us back to it. We are creatures of the river, you and I.
Look around at the towers and fortresses that people have built up in the surrounding lands. Can you smell the despairing hearts who seek to wall the river forever out of sight? That desire is a veil between mind and spirit. No matter though, for all mankind belongs to the river.
These waters, sometimes so tranquil and vast they seem a silent sea, are the river of identity. We are never to reach some distant shore of fixed certainty. However, you must say this with a calming hand on your brother’s shoulder. Though a heaven there is beyond a glittering hell, though some insensate dissolution into a grander and eternal consciousness seems a grand rest, those shores are also not fixed. The river of identity may bring our canoes there, but in time we must always, eternally, come back to the waters. Sometimes we will travel with our clan, but many times we must paddle alone.
The dry land is our great work. Here, I have set up a grand crystal palace of parenting. I try to serve the beloved children who came to me as yet more gifts from the Beloved Himself. There, I have set up a store for those who bring their boats to the sides of the river. I attempt to serve them love and kindness in the ways I have learned, for wanderers are gifts too. Have you done any different? Perhaps your structures are not these, but still, you’ve structures, and at times of forgetfulness you imagine you are those structures. But we are not the gifts we are given.
We wander eternally, but not alone. In all our places and in all our times, we are the river and consciousness is the land. Your awareness, your choice and attention – these are gifts too. If you are grateful, your structures will shine. We wander, you and I, with the Beloved who gives these gifts. We build both outwardly and inwardly, for our hearts are gardens and our minds are groves. And, when a work is complete, the river speaks to us as a loving mother, calling us to new lands and new selves.
Let us remember that we are stewards and builders. The river of identity places us where we might add to the glory of the gifts, and these things are not ours. We come to polish the crystal palaces and to provision other wanderers. Our hands are made to plant foodstuffs of kindness in gardens, and to pull out poisonous weeds of selfishness. We do this as much for ourselves as for others, for all the children of the river are One. You see now, perhaps, as a father or a merchant, but the eyes of the child and the customer are also yours, somewhere else on the river.