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September 24, 2017

When we are Awake, our Home can be Bigger than our House.

For a long time, I have been looking for home. 

I hear you wise spiritual people say, but home is inside of you. Home is not a place, it is a feeling. Home is where the heart is. And, like so many clichés, I have found these words to be both true and not enough.

For so long, I have been my own home. As an introvert, I am more than happy with my own company. As an independent traveller, I take my heart everywhere I go and find the most joyous and amazing adventures and experiences along the way.

As a dedicated navel gazer (or “spiritual journeyer” in more Elephant Journal terms), I have found peace in my heart, self-acceptance at the deepest levels of my soul, and calm in my brain (though that one rarely sticks around for long).

But I wanted more.

“More?” you gasp in Zen horror! “What sort of grasping spiritual hedonist is this woman?”

Yep, it took me a long time to be comfortable wanting more too. “More” is not spiritual. “More” is not living in gratitude! “More” is anti-non-attachment! And let’s not even get started on “wanting!”

We are told that “finding yourself” is the goal at the end of the road. That once you can truly meet yourself, to sit in your inner heart, you have reached the pinnacle of “I am throwing away my job and taking nothing but a backpack to Asia/Peru/Mexico to find myself”-dom.

But I am here to throw a spanner in that little idea!

I have done the “running away” thing. I have sat in a midnight ceremony in Bali, drunk the green “medicine” in Peru and done the death meditation in a Buddhist monastery on a hilltop in Nepal. It has been a hell of a ride. And I have learned so much about myself—it really can be like accelerated classes for the mind, heart, and soul.

And I did find myself and a sense of home inside—the inner peace that I needed. But I didn’t find the greater sense of belonging that I was (and to a degree still am) missing. For my whole life, I have felt like the outsider looking in. I was once told by a very cool psychic woman that my soul is really not from the usual “many life-cycles on Earth” batch and that actually made total sense to me at the time. It also sent me into a bit of a tailspin for a while; it was continually weighing on the back of my mind, leaving me wondering what I was supposed to be doing here.

However, I also once heard a slightly crazy but very talented Balinese energy master address the issue of reincarnation when someone asked about past lives. He said, “You are here now, as this person. That is all that matters.” And while I took that in at the time, it has taken me a long time to figure out how to fully integrate that.

And, to be honest, it is only after an incredibly deep meditation I did a few months ago where I got a message from the soul of my human father (yeah, I know, that sounds pretty odd to the more pragmatic side of me too, but there is no other way of explaining what happened) that I really could fully let go of feeling like I should be somewhere else.

So, while I may have a “soul home” elsewhere, for now, this is it. I am here on Earth. I joined the human race for a reason, and I think it is time I got off my butt and did something about that. Whatever the bigger reason I am here, it seems pretty likely it is not just about me. This is not just my journey to my heart—there are seven billion other soul/body combos here trying to find their way too, and it is time for me to step outside of myself and contribute more. (See, “more” can be a two-way street—I can want more and give more!)

I am here now. This is my life. This is the world we live in. And, while I have had a wonderful time drifting around for a while, it is now time to re-engage and be fully here. I have given up my wandering ways. I have my first apartment that I am actually paying for in years (rather than just housesitting or random travel arrangements). I actually bought a mattress! And a washing machine! And, more bizarrely, I am applying for jobs. Not because I have to, but because I want to do something more. I want to give back.

Home is a state, but not an island.

Like with so many things on the spiritual journey, I find I have come full circle—from someone who was looking outside of myself through the full journey into myself, and now wanting to re-engage with the world outside me as a completely different person. It is the second half of this circle we don’t hear so much about in spiritual workshops; we learn how to go from someone who looks outside to someone who looks inside—from someone who blames the world to someone who takes responsibility.

But then the journey can actually go on to bring us back to where we started—sort of. We can get to a place where, from our secure inside, we start looking back outside as we realise we are not just connected, but interdependent. We realise that understanding responsibility means stepping up to be accountable for our interactions with others, not just saying that they are responsible for their lives.

I have found that, from the outside, being fully awake looks an awful lot like being asleep. I have come back to be ordinary. To live, to join in, to matter, to belong. And so, my next journey, my new adventure is to find home in a place, a person, a job.

“I am more ordinary than most.

Or, put another way, I have accepted my ordinariness.

The journey of awakening is often extraordinary. But to awaken is to return to and accept being ordinary.”

~ Leonard Jacobson

I have been home alone. I want more. I want my home to be bigger than just me.

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Author: Tui Anderson
Image: Flickr/Ivana Bugarinovic
Editor: Travis May
Copy Editor: Catherine Monkman
Social Editor: Callie Rushton

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