Kipling reverberated through my mind. “Our England is a garden.” Here were still, rural regions, peaceful and beloved, where tranquil rivers flowed, rolling meadows shone in the sun, and castles and cathedrals sat serenely, much as they do in the Britain of storybooks. A little farther afield were grim moors, abrupt hills, and threatening islands. And beyond and behind this outer landscape– I now knew this truth with certainty– there was a hidden world all around me, a world full of magic, mystery, and adventure, and I considered how the character of the British people was molded and informed as much by the quiet and secluded valleys and the steep crags as the mysteries that emanate from behind the trembling veil that separates the unseen world from this one.
To see the world with clear eyes, I must first look inward. Once I have severed identification with what is outside of my essential Self, I am able to look outward in a new way, while maintaining the inward focus. This must be renewed again and again as an act of will, fueled by a longing for true freedom.
One of the recurring themes in fairy tales is “discernment.” Take the separation of the “lentils from the ashes,” in Cinderella– a theme that is repeated in other fairy tales in one way or another. When children are told these stories, they internalize the meaning. This becomes medicine in their lives as they enter the world with all of its inbuilt challenges and terrors. If we wish to truly give our children a “leg up” in the world we will feed them a diet of traditional fairy tales that we ourselves have reflected upon and told (or read) with our full presence.
We are all here to love ourselves and each other. It’s that simple and that difficult. What we hold in common transcends surface differences in viewpoints, and when we hold that more dear than our differences, something amazing will happen.
We all love our blessed Pachamama (Mother Earth). Even if we have forgotten this love, it can still be recovered. This will be the salvation of the human race. Take care to cultivate this openness of heart, and and include all our relations, even those with whom we disagree. Hold fast to what we have in common.
“The Sufi is he whose thought keeps pace with his foot – ie, he is entirely present, his soul is where his body is, and his body is where his soul is. This is the sign of presence without absence. Others say on the contrary ‘He is absent from himself but present with God’. It is not so…he is present with himself and present with God.
We do not want merely to see beauty… we want something else which can hardly be put into words- to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it.
~ C. S. Lewis