Coming Home

We shall not cease from exploration

And the end of our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time.

-T.S. Eliot

I’ve always loved these lines from T.S. Eliot’s poem, “Four Quartets”.

I was an angst-filled teenager when I first read Eliot’s poem. At that time, these lines were an invitation to explore, which is exactly what I did—internally and externally. I traveled, lived abroad, prayed, meditated, went on pilgrimages, wrote poems, danced, and did much soul searching.

But, despite all the exploration, I continued to carry with me a deep longing to understand my life’s purpose.

A few months ago, I moved back to the States, after living in Central Asia for a few years. I was terrified to “come home”. I feared it would be the end of my exploring, and that my longing would remain unfulfilled.

A few weeks ago, I woke up with Eliot’s poem in my head. But, it was no longer the “exploration” that was resonating with me; it was the lines that read: to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.

 By “coming home”, I had “arrived where I started”. When I had read the poem thirty years earlier, I had thought of the “arrival” in terms of a geographical location. But, now in terms of my experience, I realized that I was arriving back to my spiritual home, to my true self, the self that had always been there, but hadn’t been acknowledged.

I realized that I didn’t have to go to exotic locations and climb the highest mountains; it was here all along. And, as Eliot’s poem says, I felt as if I were seeing myself for the first time. But, this time without judgment, without criticism, without fear, without a need to change or alter anything.

And now every morning, I wake with these words on my heart. I imagine that I am arriving for the first time, with the wonderment of discovery—the discovery of beauty, holiness, glory, perfection of everything that IS, that is already there.

Maybe we need to a little less striving, and a little more stillness, arriving back home to ourselves.

Here is a meditation exercise that perhaps can help us return “home.”

Blessing.

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