Taking Time for Yourself

Listen and Restore Your Inner Voice

My family and I are enjoying a Family Experience Week in beautiful Findhorn, an eco-village and spiritual community in Scotland. We’ve been working in the Original Garden, where Findhorn began, weeding flowerbeds, clearing pine cones, harvesting St. John’s wort (for medicinal tea), picking blueberries and raspberries. The children painted a rainbow mural on the shed in the Flower Garden. We’ve built a campfire by the River Findhorn, swam in the river and the sea, cooked in the community kitchen, and star-gazed at the big black sky at night.

Findhorn began as a community in the early 1960s. Its initial focus was on nature – growing flowers, vegetables, and forests. Along the way, Findhorn became known for its deeply transformative programs that help to grow people too!

This week, Hollie and I have also sat in meditation circles and discussion groups, while the children are out on nature trails, at storytelling, and playing games. A big theme of our gatherings has been “paying attention to your inner life” – nurturing your inner garden.

What is your inner life?
The phrase “inner life” is commonly used in spiritual circles. It’s easy to get lazy with familiar phrases like this one. What really is your “inner life”? Do you have one? Is it important to you? How do you experience it?

For me, my inner life isn’t given to me or made by the world; I came with it when I was born into the world. My inner life is where I meet up with myself. It’s my connection to my Unconditioned Self. When I don’t pay enough attention to my inner life, I am more susceptible – less immune – to being consumed by unwise busyness, a manic schedule, social pressures, invasive social media, etc. Also, when I neglect my inner life, I find my relationships suffer too.

Spiritual Guidance System
My inner life is free of the noise I experience in the world – noise about what “I should” be doing with life; how much “I could” be earning right now; how many Facebook posts “I ought” to be writing; what “ideal weight” I’m meant to be, etc. My inner life is free of comparisons and competition. The super-ego can’t touch it. There’s none of the daily neurosis. It’s fresh, vibrant and full of clean air, like the pine forests here in Scotland.

My inner life speaks to me through my body. I’ve been experiencing stiffness in my knees recently. I’m getting some bodywork, and I’m also slowing down! My inner life often drops love notes into my heart. My life works better when I take time to listen to my heart. When my mind is too full of thought, my inner life might work a dream into my night-time sleep. Poetry is one of my favourite ways to connect with the sound waves of my inner life. How about you?

Opening Doors Within
Eileen Caddy was one of the founders of Findhorn, together with her husband Peter Caddy and their friend Dorothy Maclean. In the early days, she was very busy raising five children, growing the gardens, and building the Findhorn community. She often struggled to find time to be still and meditate in the day. So, she’d wake up early, before the children stirred, and visit one of the freezing caravan park public toilets. Here, she’d listen to her inner voice which gave her day-to-day guidance on how to be and what to do.

Opening Doors Within is a book of daily meditation guidance that features 365 excerpts from Eileen’s journals. It’s a hugely inspiring book that’s sold over 5 million copies worldwide. I read the daily entry most mornings. Her son, Jonathan Caddy, who is one of the focalisers on our Findhorn Experience week, notes, “The first half of my mother’s life was not easy; but it became easier once she paid attention to her inner voice.” That inner voice told Eileen,

“My teaching is simple, BE STILL. Go within and find that centre of peace and stillness within, the God-source, and then live and move and have your being come from that centre within. Be consistent with this. Try it and see how it works with you!”’

Tell me this: what does your inner voice most want you to know today?

Original Garden - Gate
Original Garden – Gate

More Inside Out
Your inner life is, first and foremost, for you. It’s a private affair, some of which you may wish to share with others, and some not. Your inner life is a sanctuary. It’s a retreat and a place to rest in. But you are not meant to hide away there. In The Gospel of Thomas, which is one of the Gnostic Gospels, there’s a teaching by Jesus which deserves serious contemplation. Jesus said,

“If you bring forth what is within you,
what you bring forth will save you.
If you do not bring forth what is within you,
what you do not bring forth will destroy you.”

When your life is not going as well as you want it to, maybe you are being asked to bring forth more of your inner life. The next level of success and happiness may well require you to bring forth more of your wisdom, to express your creativity, to follow your joy, to love out loud, and to add more of the real YOU to the equation.

Thanks for reading! I hope this article supports your inner life somehow because it’s the nurturing and cultivation of your inner life that helps to evolve this world in the direction of love.

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