There is an old Sufi story of a man who was looking for a key outside of his house. Neither he, nor the sympathetic friend who was helping him look could locate the key. Then the friend asked where the key had last been seen. To this the man replied that it was last seen in the house. Indignant, the friend wanted to know why they were bothering to look outside of the house if the key was not likely to be there. The man explained to his friend that it was far easier to look outside of the house in the daylight because it was really very dark inside of the house.
What was your first response to the story? It seems quite silly to search for something where it is unlikely to be found, doesn’t it? Funnily enough though, isn’t that what we often do in our own lives? When we’re struggling and uncertain, we tend to look outside of ourselves for the answers because it can be too confronting to look inward.
We are all born in a state of connection to our breath, to our emotional energy and to the intuitive wisdom that we need to survive. Science shows us that before the age of seven, our brains are mostly in an alpha state. That is the exact same state that our brains shift into during deep meditation. We could say then that as children, we are natural meditators, connected to our inner sense.
As we age and evolve though, somehow we manage to disconnect from that internal sense of who we really are. Perhaps the world conditions it out of us. Perhaps we get so busy striving for and achieving things outside of ourselves that we forget the richness that is available to us if we take the time to tend our internal world. If we live our lives from one obligation to the next, we can end up just going through the motions. We may end up feeling that nothing is satisfying and no goal achieved is ever enough.
To find lasting fulfilment, we must cultivate the richness of our internal world. There is a part of us that knows that already. To a greater or lesser extent, all of us know that there is far more to any individual – than can be seen on the surface. Fortunes rise and fall, partners come and go, circumstances change but what is constant is our own inner space. If that space is familiar, rich and satisfying, we are able to weather life’s changes with greater skill and ease. We must take care of our own spirits and our own hearts and not look to anyone or anything outside of ourselves to find what we already have inside.
Sometimes, we fear looking inside because we might find some darkness. What we must remember is that the flipside of darkness is light. Light and dark are the same energy – we just have to choose where we want to focus and what we want to nurture.
This spring, I invite you to take the time to cultivate your ability to go inside. Through a regular yoga and meditation practice, you can develop internal strength and resilience. With these resources and a knowledge of your internal landscape, the next time you find yourself struggling and uncertain you will have a place to turn, no matter what the situation.
~ Kelly Fisher