I had just stepped into the bath, a daily ritual of sorts, or perhaps more of a treat; a hot bubble bath and a good book to read. I had patched up my crumbling copy of The Third Eye by Lobsang Rampa with a few strips of navy blue electrical tape and a strip of packing tape to hold it all together. With a little bit of tape to secure the loose page that slipped out when I opened the cover, it would be as good as new, I thought, glad to have hung on to this work. It was an old book—a survivor—one of the oldest in what remained of my library after the great purge that had preceded the move to the condo.
The day before, I had finished rereading The Man in the Sycamore Tree by Edward Rice, a biography of Thomas Merton, a Trappist monk—my idol of many years ago, whose book, The Seven Storey Mountain had had a powerful effect on me at a critical time of my life. Strange choice of idols, I know, but that was the nature of my journey. The sticker on the front cover of that book said $2.15, for a book I had purchased brand-new. That’s a few years ago! Somehow, reconnecting with my idol of long ago served to refuel my slumbering urge to write, because, while reading it, I returned to my current book project. For some of us, writing is simply part of the natural expression of our being, and while expression is stalled, being seems stalled.
As I slid under the hot bubbly water, I carefully flipped the thick, yellowed pages of The Third Eye. Inside the cover page I had signed my name, Pauline Edward, 1970. I snuggled deeper under the hot, fragrant water and did a little calculation in my head. That’s forty-six years ago—forty-six years of questioning, forty-six of searching for the truth. That’s a long time! I could have berated myself for being such a slow learner; a reaction I may have had not too long ago. But I didn’t.
All I could do was love myself for having stuck it out that long. After forty-six years of not giving up, the searching and the questioning had ended. I understood that whatever it was that I needed to know would emerge naturally, as needed, from my Being. It was now time to simply welcome and enjoy Being. I think in the end the purpose of my rereading these old books was not so much to derive any further learning, but rather to lovingly acknowledge the tenacity with which I had pursued my journey, and now to acknowledge that it was over, in fact, no longer needed.
What a relief, I realized, after forty-six long, though fruitful years. Not that it need take a long time; it’s just that some of us are a little slow. Having grown quite fond of the pursuit of knowledge, I had to come to accept, and trust, that learning needs not be so vigorously pursued, that it needs only be welcomed. The truth is here, now, simply waiting for that moment when we turn our attention inward. How could the truth be lost, or placed at a great distance somewhere, sometime in the future? In the end, even the quest must be abandoned, lest it get in the way of an experience of the truth. Forty-six years, I thought, I had to love myself for not quitting on my Self.
As you read these words, and as you look back over your life, how can you but love yourself? You have stuck it out for a number of years—great or small—and here you are, perhaps still questioning, yet facing the truth. There is no distance to your Being. It waits patiently for you to be still awhile, turn to the quiet within and engage in a little curiosity. All that is needed is that you be willing to accept and embrace the love that lies within, for that is the true nature of your Being. What greater goal could life offer than this? There is no distance to a journey that never was, for we could never be removed from our true Being.
“The journey to God is merely the reawakening of the knowledge of where you are always, and what you are forever. It is a journey without distance to a goal that has never changed.” ACIM