The inner journey, or the interior spiritual life of the soul, is often seen as the preserve of the contemplative monk or hermit. Difficult enough for these dedicated souls, how on earth are ordinary folk to ever venture inwards? Given the great goal of self-knowledge or perhaps a deeper sense of God Himself, what prevents so many of us from making any progress?
I journeyed down into the depths of me,
And met a sign that read: diversion!
It pointed back to the sights and sounds
That parade on the periphery of me.
A voice around me said: conversion!
Would you dare to continue on by?
I kind of knew a price had to be paid,
And hesitated, wanting, not wanting.
Alas, poor me: to try or not to try?
Was it ease or fear that had me swayed?
Another time I journeyed down again,
And quickly passed that warning sign.
Some inner need urged me onward,
But the merry lights and loud refrain
Of outer things did my purpose resign.
How many times have I come and gone?
How many steps ventured just so far?
Is my life history to be a vacillation,
Achieving such but more left undone?
The ace in the pack become the joker?
What draws me back time after time?
What dwells in that inner sanctum there?
Yet what is this fear that shackles me?
Strong inertia set in this heart of mine?
My soul riven with chronic civil warfare.
Does the monk, fortified by his regular
And collaborative prayer-ruled life,
Where mundane things are subdued,
Has he overcome this warring agenda,
To pass beyond our obstacles and strife?
Or does he still struggle on the soul path
To deeper depths in the vastness within?
Is one rampaging din replaced by subtler;
Does mature progression bring aftermath,
And no one escape the impact of their sin?
Will You pick up Lord where I have stalled?
Will Your Spirit repurpose my tardy starts,
And spurn me onwards to authentic core,
Where saints and sinners both are called,
By Your quiet voice deep in human hearts.
What chance the likes of me to this end?
Is final destination, like healing, deferred,
Until that blessed arrival of the redeemed,
Upon the cusp of eternity’s divine dividend,
When death excavates what’s long interred?
That as the body dies, the soul lazaruses
Out into the bright of God’s own day?
A big bang for that personal universe,
And a new journey of Godward traverses,
Sin unfettered, and strolling in ecstasy.