The Inner Journey
The inner journey can take many forms. In a religious context, it can be viewed as a path to enlightenment, holy communion with the everlasting Lord, or nirvana. I prefer to call it an inner journey and to include teachers from different world religions/ philosophies - Christ, Buddha, the Great Spirit. It is the journey that begins when we finally let go of what we wanted, what can no longer be, and move in the direction of what is, who we are.
We no longer attempt to control life and we begin to trust life - and trust ourselves - after so many years of avoiding the parts of life we did not like and pretending to be things that we are not. It is a journey that moves us from loss, pain, and confusion toward love, joy, and peace.
I describe my inner journey in stages and I like to think of it as a magical mythical path that is lined with spirit guides. I have had many different guides along this path and, most recently, the butterfly has come to inspire and instruct me as I enter the final stages of preparation for sharing my journey with others. I talk about the butterfly and other animal totems in the the Medicine Cards section of this website and I list some of my other teachers and guides in the Myth & Meditation section.
For nearly 30 years I tried to find happiness by looking outward. I thought I could find happiness and fulfillment in the outer world ... or perhaps simply stumble upon the life of my dreams. But there was a part of me that wanted to 'escape' from life, escape from so many things that happened in life or the stress of bills, commitments, and obligations. I thought that enlightenment, nirvana, being one with Christ - were all ways to help me 'escape.' I even thought death might be a plausible escape.
Then I realized that the desire to escape was a trap in itself. I realized that finding happiness was an illusion created by my faulty belief that happiness was something that could be obtained through ownership or accumulation. Along the path of my inner journey I found that I can create happiness by learning to identify and appreciate the blessings that are present in my life each day.
On my inner journey, I learned that I am not a powerless observer of life but rather an active participant. I did not need to escape life, I simply needed to make choices that would change my life and change how I viewed life.
Most recently, I have been reading about quantum mechanics and the conscious element that is part of the structure of this theory that places each of us as 'participating observers.' Human consciousness is no longer side-lined or ignored in the most advanced scientific theory we have to describe our perception of matter. I find it intriguing that consciousness is actually a key component of how science most accurately describes the physical state of 'matter' in our universe.
I may need to change my references to the inner guide from the magical, mythical map to the quantum map in a later edition. For now I will stick with my magical, mythical map and coyote guide. Mythical creatures sound more alluring than mathematical equations.
Pictures on this page were taken at the Great Sands Dune National Park in Colorado during a sunrise hike over the Labor Day Weekend in 2013.