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While walking one rainy afternoon last week, I noted the aroma of wet, springtime mud. This aroma, paired with the way that the dirt yielded beneath the weight of my feet, triggered a very strong and vivid memory.
In this memory, I am a child of about seven years of age. It is nearly dusk. I am squatting in the backyard of my family home with a small, garden shovel and I am digging.
At that time, I was learning about archeology in my Social Science class. I was intrigued by the idea that ancient artifacts and even remnants of entire cultures could be deeply buried beneath the ground. As my small hands dug deep into the soft, moist, springtime earth, I dug with the eagerness of the archeologists I was reading about in school. I would often dig until the dark of night cloaked the sky.
What was I digging for?
In my childlike imaginings I hoped to dig up lost gems—perhaps the jewels of a young woman who treasured beautiful things. I dreamed of digging up journals or boxed letters that might contain the secrets held in the hearts of those who lived long before me. I hoped to unearth cups, bowls, and fabrics—anything that might indicate that beneath the ground I walked upon, there might be evidence of a place that those who came before me called “home.”
“Yes—that is it, “ I thought while walking in the rain. As a child, I was digging for “home.”
This insight, prompted by the aroma of the wet mud under my feet, led me to think about my early fascination with books. In many of my favorite books, the main character traveled to exotic places, sought adventure, or fought to make a place for herself that felt like “home.” Most of the stories I loved conveyed the theme of feeling unsettled and lost. Driving the plotline was the character’s search for a place to call her “own”—a place where she fully belonged.
Lost in thought and connecting deeply to a flood of memories as I walked in the rain, I felt overcome by the memory of a longing that I felt for much of my life. Like the characters in my early childhood books—I, too, have been the relentless seeker, the ungrounded lost Soul, the frantic searcher.
Books. Countless spiritual trainings and programs. Retreats. Conferences. Degrees. Certifications. All of these things evidence of my aimless wanderings.
What was I digging for? Searching for? Longing for? Aching for?
In 1990 I was going through a difficult phase of loss and transition. I was unable to lift myself out of the depression and fear I was feeling. I was utterly beside myself.
While browsing through yet another self-help book, I came upon a tattered pamphlet that I once picked up at a Unity Church service. The pamphlet provided a brief tutorial on meditation. I read the instructions quickly and I decided to try it. Unskilled and desperate, yet willing to do anything to feel better, I sat down. I closed my eyes and felt the warmth of the late afternoon sunlight on my face. Connecting to my breath—as the instructions advised, I not only found myself in a deep state of meditation, but for the very first time, I had a direct experience of God.
Words fail me as I try to convey the magnitude of this first meditation experience and perhaps this is a topic for a future blog. That said, what I came to understand during that meditation experience was a very important lesson about God and about “home.”
During that transformative period of stillness, I understood that I wasn’t searching for home for all of those years but that home was searching for me. I learned that my unrest and the feeling of being lost was really God’s way of calling me “home.” For the first time in my life, I experienced this important Truth: Home was the presence of God “inside” of me.
I left that meditation knowing that:
Home is not a geographical location or structure.
Home is not a person or a people.
Home cannot be found in a substance, in material things, in degrees, certifications, or accomplishments.
Home cannot be found in self-help books, retreats, or on-line courses.
Home cannot be found in incessant working, exercise, dieting, obsessing.
Home cannot be found in worry or in endless ruminations about the past or in anxieties about the future.
I learned that:
The deeper meaning of our aching and our longings can be understood as God calling us home.
The deeper meaning of our searching, our obsessing, and of our desperate wanderings can be understood as God calling us home.
The deeper meaning of our restlessness and the utter exhaustion related to not feeling that things are quite “right” can be understood as God calling us home.
Imagine my awe when I stumbled upon Lesson 182, titled: “I will be still a moment and go home,” just a day after my recent walk in the rain. With fresh eyes and fully awake to this notion of God’s “call” to each of us to “come home,” reading this lesson brought tears to my eyes. Some highlights:
“The world you seem to live in is not home to you. And somewhere in your mind you know that this is true. A memory of home keeps haunting you, as if there were a place that called you to return, although you do not recognize the voice, nor what the voice reminds you of. Still you feel an alien here, from somewhere all unknown. Nothing so definite that you could say with certainty you are an exile here; just a persistent feeling, sometimes not more than a tiny throb, at other times hardly remembered, actively dismissed, but surely to return to mind again” (Lesson 182, p.1309 of A Course in Miracles, The Complete and Annotated Edition).
I am certain that this persistent feeling, the tiny throb, and at times, the loud, nearly deafening inner roar were my reminders to “come home.”
During my very first meditation, I came to understand that regular periods of being still were akin to “visits home,” and with consistent practice, the experience of home as “God within me”—could indeed become a permanent state.
This is the promise of Lesson 182 when practiced in earnest.
“When you are still an instant, when the world recedes from you, when valueless ideas cease to have value in your restless mind, then you will hear His Voice.
So poignantly He calls you that you will not resist Him longer. In that instant, he will take you to His home, and you will stay with Him in perfect stillness, silent and at peace, beyond all words, untouched by fear and doubt, sublimely certain that you are at home” (Lesson 182, p. 1311).
How does God call to you? When you examine your own life and experience—how have your longings been God’s call for you to return to Him? Can you recall ever feeling that you were not quite “at home” in your own home? Have you ever contemplated “home” being an innermost dwelling– place inside that is so deep, so sacred, yet always a place that is perpetually with you? Always, perpetually yours? Always, perpetually, a place you share with God?
I invite you to visit Lesson 182 of A Course in Miracles with fresh eyes and from the awakened state of considering all of the ways that God has been calling you home.
Lesson 182 asks us to “rest with Him frequently today.” Perhaps today, in your meditation time, you can approach this time as a visit “home.” One practice that I have created is to begin my meditative period using the words “Come Home” as my mantra. If you wish, give this a try.
On the inhale, contemplate the word “Come.”
On the exhale, contemplate the word, “Home.”
Upon each exhalation—when you contemplate the word “home”—experience the universal, grounding nature of the OM sound. Let the weight of that sound ground you. Let the energy of that sound envelop you—much as the four walls of a sacred home would hold you in the deepest protection and comfort.
As you relax ever more deeply into the stillness, express your willingness to be shown the Truth about home and all the ways home is within you and how it always has been.
Much like Lesson 182 states, for most of my life, I did feel like an alien lost on this earthly plane in search of her home. I felt this so much that:
As a child I found myself digging for home.
As a young girl, I found myself reading for home.
As a young adult, I found myself searching for home in relationships, material things, lofty ideas and ideals.
Somehow, early on, like so many of us, I wandered away from home. Misguided, detoured, and wrong-minded, I was much like the child who lost her way, yet hears the echo of her father’s voice calling her back home.
Can you remember that sound when you were a child—the sound of a parent’s voice calling you back home before dark? Lost in play or exploration, or wandering, that voice can sound so very far away and yet, it tugs at some deep part of the heart and draws us back in the direction of the call.
This is what the journey back home has been like for me. In Truth, home never left me. God never left me. I wandered away and had to find my way back. I am grateful for all the ways that God called me back. I am grateful for the ceaseless echoing of his call.
And I am so grateful that I listened.
I would love for you to leave a comment below about finding your way home. If you like this teaching and want more, consider the Presenter Series, for more information click here.
Christine Kiesinger, Ph.D.
Personal and Professional Development Coaching/Leadership Trainer/Integrative Wellness Educator
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