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Travel arrangements in virus times

Posted by Simon Parke, 20 April 2020, 10.52am

We will remember this time in many ways; but perhaps one of our memories will be that we found something inside us we didn’t know was there.

This is possible; because while flour and eggs are less available, there’s a secret universe that is, if we push at the door.

We’re not travelling much these days. Each week that goes by is another trip or holiday postponed; our diaries marked by events crossed out.

Every cancellation – whether a trip to the pub or Australia – is another sign we are staying at home – still visiting the world, but sat in our kitchen with the computer to do it.

So it helps, with isolation imposed, to remember we possess a universe inside us; unfolding galaxies of knowing.

In normal times, (whenever they were) we’d take our adventures by plane, train and automobile…or hang-gliding.

And if someone said, ‘Did you get away at Easter?’ it was a usually geographical question.

Though it could also be psychological or spiritual; and that is how the desert fathers would have heard it.

‘Go into your cell and your cell will reveal everything.’ In other words, travel to yourself and you will find everything you need.

No one much listened, of course, preferring travel elsewhere.

But those who have pushed at the door of silence will understand; those who travel nowhere yet travel so far.

So, just for a moment, we stop demanding answers and thrills from the world outside, needy for people and events – and find instead, deep knowing within ourselves, a surprising universe on our doorstep.

My sense is that we know everything, but ignore this in pursuit of borrowed experience, which presses us into shapes and perceptions which diminish us.

It is not uncommon, for instance, for some to prefer time spent with people who they don’t actually like... to avoid time with themselves.

They demand others meet their needs, they use them for this purpose (though never naming it as such) – ignoring their own galaxies, as if they were not there.

This knowing, as readers of the Gospel of Mary Magdalene will be aware, is neither thought nor feeling, both unreliable; but found in the cracks between – nous, deep knowing.

It is a tune of discernment, lightness and clarity, as bright as the stars; though not to be found in the crowd, for the music is fragile, and quickly drowned by the world and its machinations.

The world outside may help us arrive at solitude – some moment or some view becomes a path.

But only in solitude, and only in silence, if we can heave ourselves there, will this intimate universe be revealed.

Here is the place you most truly exist, the greatest travel experience and available now in these isolating virus days.

So here we are.

And if you like, you could stop, focus on your breathing and be aware of what is happening now.

Push through the resistance – ‘I’m not good enough!’ ‘This is pure self-indulgence!’ ‘What if I don’t exist?’ ‘I ought to be doing something useful’ – these are rat voices.

Push at the door, be led by the question, step through and find yourself, the world, and maybe God, re-clothed.

There may be something inside us we didn’t know was there.

 
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