East, west, south, or north makes little difference. No matter what your destination, just be sure to make every journey a journey within. If you travel within, you’ll travel the whole wide world and beyond. – The Forty Rues of Love, Elif Shafak
It is of a complex nature attempting to describe or speak to the journey within when asked, How do I go there? Yet there is something about the asking itself that creates an opening as though the secret word to unlock parables, is how. Inquiry leads us, and not the inquiry of the world, but the inquiry of the self. When we sit in the seat of receptivity and ask “how,” we have already entered in, and the journey now becomes an exploration of what it is that we see, that we feel, and that we experience there on the inside.
It is the receptive mind who travels the inner road and is willing to stare darkness in the eyes, neither fighting nor fleeing, but rather holding space for themselves. Space is love. Space is compassion. These allow us to take a deep breath, and inside the pause, find our footing enough to continue looking into the eyes of the dark shadow. To go within is to be willing to see it all, our lightness of being and the shadow following us when the spotlight of the sun appears. Compassion gives us the courage to hold steady the gaze long enough to inquire of our shadows’ existence. I see you and know you to be a part of me. Help me understand why. Why do you follow me? What have I of yours that you, like gum under shoe, walk with me? We ask such questions without judgement, only an authentic desire to know in order to befriend and ultimately heal.
Traveling within isn’t solely about the dark, no. Yet in the dark we come to know the light. We have to be willing to enter into the secret spaces, the ones we desire to hide from ourselves and others, if we are to travel the world over. The light is easy. It is what we reach for, what we share with others, what we wear like a badge of honor, but the dark night of the soul wears a different face. The ego has us believing that the dark isn’t worthy of our attention, or that death looms if we get too close, which is true. Darkness dies the closer we get to peeling back its layers and reasons for being, that is, as we grow closer to ourselves. To know the self is to know God.
There is a universe within ripe with spirit and energy even when we think otherwise, and we can travel the expanse of that universe simply by asking how. Life hears us and responds to us at our point of inquiry and receptivity. We ask. We wait. We allow.