Lotus of the Heart > Path of Spirit > Home Within

 
 

Home... Changeless amid Change

A Refuge for Anyone & Anywhere

Dec 31, 2021


Calm & Quiet

Calm & Quiet

Winter 2018, Georgetown Island, Maine

* * *

You spoke about everything changing and groundlessness. Is there nothing else?

Everything changes. Everything changes for something is changeless. For groundlessness, there must be a ground. It's like saying there is sunshine, for there's a Sun. When you look at the Sun, you see the sunshine; when you look at the sunshine, you see the Sun - one is in the other. The relative turns us to its ground. The dance happens on the dance floor.

Which do we choose?

Both or neither, but the changeless is prior. You can live with groundlessness when relating directly with the ground; otherwise, you'll simply relate with groundlessness. That's a recipe for disaster, and you'll find no suitable refuge in this world. You'll be lost even when you say you're found. When living in intimacy with the ground, you can befriend change. So, keep returning to the changeless, whatever you call that.


*Brian K. Wilcox. "Meetings with an Anonymous Sage."

* * *

There is homelessness that has nothing to do with a physical dwelling. It has no address. One can live in a manor and be homeless. One can live on the street and be home. One can live in the same residence for a lifetime and remain homeless. One can move many times from place to place and never leave home. We speak of an inner geography, a place of refuge in a vastly changing world and transient lifetime. What is changeless amid the changes? If it is not without, is it within? If it is within, this is why the Buddha taught us to find our refuge in the self. When we find this refuge, we find it everywhere. How odd... it is often the last place we look. Yet, looking and not finding is the way to find.

* * *

Due to speaking out against the Vietnam War, the Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh was forbidden to reenter his homeland, Vietnam, for some 40 years.

Hanh found asylum in France. The government there granted him a travel document called an apartride. The document meant he did not belong to any state, any country. The apartride granted him access to countries that accepted it. He felt without a country. His unconsciousness, what Buddhists often refer to as "store consciousness," registered this sense of having no home. A recurring dream speaks of a transition from homelessness to home.


During this time, I had a recurring dream of being at home in my root temple in central Vietnam. I would be climbing a green hill covered with beautiful trees when, halfway to the top, I would wake up and realize that I was in exile. The dream came to me over and over again. In the meantime, I was very active, learning how to play with children from many countries: German children, French children, American children, and English children. I was making friends with Anglican priests, Catholic priests, Protestant ministers, rabbis, imams, and others. My practice was the practice of mindfulness. I tried to live in the here and now and touch the wonders of life every day. It was thanks to this practice that I survived. The trees in Europe were so different from the trees in Vietnam. The fruits, the flowers, the people, they were all completely different. The practice brought me back to my true home in the here and now. Eventually I stopped suffering, and the dream did not come back anymore.


*Thich Nhat Hanh. At Home in the World.

* * *

Hanh was able to open his heart to where he was. He grew into a new home, not Vietnam. Homelessness dissolved in the sense of home. That home Hanh discovered was within him and us. You do not have a home other than my home. There is one home. So, when we meet someone in touch with home, it can also inspire us to touch home. We may say, "I feel somehow drawn to her. I don't know why?" Home witnesses of home. When we enjoy deep communion with someone, home is communing with home. The Christian Scripture speaks of "spirit witnesses with spirit."

* * *

We may face a sense of homelessness many times in life. A sense of loss of home can happen through any loss: a relationship, a job, a career, a death, a health crisis, aging, or a move to a new location. One may sense homelessness through changes in one's faith path or a transition to a different consciousness or worldview, which differs from that of the majority one lives among. We may say, "I just don't feel like I fit anywhere." Or, "I don't feel I belong here anymore."

I have felt deeply all the above losses and the felt-homelessness that can arise. When, for example, I left my native religion almost 30 years ago, I searched decades to find a new faith home. After studying and practicing Buddhism off and on for 20 years, I sense a coming home in Buddhism, partly for I have found a sangha to worship with, one in which I feel love and communion-of-heart. After leaving my native faith home, the trajectory of my career and my relationships - almost all shaped around that faith - shifted. My family remained in that faith and never could understood the change. This has been painful. It has also been a source of growth. To find home within and without, we may have to choose a lonely road for a time. And to find home without, we may have to find it within first.

* * *

Finding home within does not mean not needing home without. Yet, home within sustains us in a time of loss of a sense of home without. Home without is subject to causes and conditions, while home within is not. Hopefully, we can be grounded within to have an anchor in times of displacement.

* * *

Home is exemplified in the Hebrew Bible by the sanctuary that accompanied the tribes after leaving Egypt. When the tribes camped, it was set up; when it was time to move on, it was taken down. It was a moveable shrine reminding the tribes of their god's presence. It was the political and religious center, and the deity was enthroned inside. Moses and Aaron would meet the deity at this sanctuary. They represented the people. Only Moses entered it. It was a center for guidance, like the heart. This sanctuary is like our home - it goes with us, and we can always return there for guidance, comfort, and nurturing a sense of Presence. And others can go there for us. We all need persons who love us and represent us in the heart. Yet, we go there. Part of the radical message of early Christianity is the community, each member, is a priest. We are priests ourselves and for each other.

* * *

We will lose everything that gives us a sense of being home. We can appreciate all the persons and places that foster a sense of belonging. We can grieve when we lose any of them. We can better grieve by taking sanctuary daily in the dwelling within. At any moment, wherever we are, we can return within. Amid the flux, we can reconnect with our hearts.

* * *

Sir, what do you call the home within - the changeless?

When I'm there, there's no name for it. If I have a name for it, I'm not there.

So, what shall I call it?

Aspire to be there.

But what if someone asks me what this is?

For those who need a word, give them a word. Among those who don't need a word, speech becomes a distraction.

But aren't words important?

When needed, yes; when not needed, no. Words can lead someone to look at the Sun. When she looks at the Sun, why talk about looking at the Sun? The looking is important then, not talk. Don't you know how lovers in the ecstasy of love-making have no interest in discussing theories about love-making? If one is savoring the taste of food, she is one with that food. The Sun melts the need to engage in Sun-talk. Fall in love with the Sun.


*Brian K. Wilcox. "Meetings with an Anonymous Sage."

* * *

*©Brian K. Wilcox, 2021.

*Brian's book, An Ache for Union: Poems on Oneness with God through Love, can be ordered through major online booksellers or the publisher AuthorHouse.

 

Lotus of the Heart > Path of Spirit > Home Within

©Brian Wilcox 2022