A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege of spending some time with a Buddhist Lama. We both spoke of Jesus and the Buddha, faith, practice and belief – we listened to each other.
Then I asked him this question: ‘If someone came to you and asked for a PRACTICE to help them embark more deeply on the spiritual journey, or awaken to the spiritual journey, what might it be?’
He closed his eyes for several seconds and I could almost feel him take the question into the depths of his Heart, then he opened his eyes and this was his answer in so few words:
‘LEARN YOUR HISTORY.’ (Learn your story….)
Well, my immediate response was: that wasn’t really the answer I was looking for!!
But then I found myself pondering his answer over the coming hours and days, and came to see the profound WISDOM within his few wise words.
So much of our cultural and religious problems today are due to the fact that WE DO NOT KNOW OUR STORY. We seem to skim the surface of so much without entering into the depths of our Hearts, without listening deeply to our experiences and the experiences of those around us, and without exploring who we are, while then falsely dividing and separating what has no division or separation within it.
When we truly ponder our STORY, both personally and communally, how could we be anything but blown away by the sheer mystery, awe and wonder of it all.
The Mystics down through history knew the importance of ‘self-knowledge’, we too must learn it anew within our own cultural and spiritual context– we must learn our story. We hunger to learn our story, because our story is the story of the Cosmos (nearly 14 billion years old) – it is the story of the Spirit of Love Breathing Life into Everything – it is the story of Incarnational Love – it is the story of UNFOLDING – it is the story of the PAST, the PRESENT and more importantly, the FUTURE. It is the Story that with every Breath, is calling to us to LEARN OUR HISTORY (Learn our Story) and to grow in Love.
Pope Francis gives us similar sentiments when he says in Laudato Si (202):
‘Many things have to change course,
but it is we human beings above all who need to change.
We lack an awareness of our common origin,
of our mutual belonging, and of a future to be shared with everyone.
This basic awareness would enable the development of new convictions,
attitudes and forms of life.
A great cultural,
spiritual and educational challenge stands before us,
and it will demand that we set out on a long path of renewal’
Are we OPEN to become ‘aware of our common origin’ and to LEARN OUR STORY?