To the "Heart" of the Matter
Welcome back my spiritual friend, I trust things went well for you!
For those of you who have been with me for some time, know the beginnings of the New Year sets the stage for the years' journey as well a as tie in to the previous one. Thus far, we have made our way inwards, wherein, initially we discussed, perused and addressed our emotions, addressed numerous spectacles for our perception, allowing us, this past year to delve deeper within our being, addressing some issues along the way.
Thus, as we begin our journey forward, the last two years, we have dealt with the heart's hearth, and last year, well let us say we have ventured a bit farther in this very direction. A ‘fine tuning' of things as we proceed up the monk's ladder. If you have not been with me, let me quickly express them succinctly:
Reading leads to knowledge, which leads to understanding, ushering us into mediation, and from here on into contemplation.
Now then, let me say, from the very outset: "The true throne of pride, everywhere, is the heart of man. If we desire, by God's grace, to put down pride, the only way is to begin with the heart."
Allow me to share with you a parable in the form of an eastern story, which will set this truth in its proper light.
"A wise man in the East, called a dervish, in his wanderings came suddenly upon a mountain. He saw beneath his feet a smiling valley, in the midst of which there flowed a river. With the sun shining on the stream, the water, as it reflected the sunlight, looked pure and beautiful. When he descended, he found it was muddy, and the water utterly unfit for drinking.
Nearby he saw a young man, in the dress of a shepherd, who was filtering the water for his flocks with much diligence. One moment he poured some water into a pitcher and then allowed it to stand. After it had settled, he poured the clean fluid into a cistern. Then, in another place, he would be seen turning aside the current for a little and letting it ripple over the sand and stones so that it might be filtered and the impurities removed.
The dervish watched the young man endeavoring to fill a large cistern with clear water. He asked him, "My son, why all this toil? What purpose does it answer?"
The young man replied, "Father, I am a shepherd. This water is so filthy that my flock will not drink it. Therefore, I am obliged to purify it little by little, so I collect enough in this way that they may drink, but it is hard work." So saying, he wiped the sweat from his brow, for he was exhausted with his toil.
"Indeed you have labored," responded the wise man, "but do you know your toil is not well applied? With half the labor, you might attain a better end. I envisage that the source of this stream must be impure and polluted. Let us take a pilgrimage together and see."
They then walked some miles, climbing their way over many a rock, until they came to a spot where the stream took its rise. When they came near it, they saw flocks of wild fowls flying away, and wild beasts of the earth rushing into the forest. These had come to drink and had soiled the water with their feet. They found an open well, which kept continually flowing, but, by, reason of, these creatures, which perpetually disturbed it, the stream was always turbid and muddy.
"My son," said the wise man, "set to work now to protect the fountain and guard the well, which is the source of this stream. When you have done that, if you can keep these wild beasts and fowls away, the stream will flow by itself all pure and clear and you will have no longer need for your toil."
The young man did it, and as he labored, the wise man said to him, "My son, hear the word of wisdom. If you are wrong, seek not to correct your outward life, but seek first to get your heart correct, for out of it are the issues of life. Your life shall be pure when once your heart is so."
Therefore, if we would get rid of pride, we should not proceed to arrange our dress by adopting some special costume, or to qualify our language by using an outlandish tongue. Rather, let us seek of God that He would purify our hearts from pride. Then assuredly, if pride is purged from the heart, our life also shall be humble.
Thus, it is written: "Make the tree good, and then the fruit shall be good. Make the fountain pure, and the stream shall be sweet." "For it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles, but what comes out of the mouth that defiles."
There is a tune I am partial to, "Ubi Cartias et Amor" in English, it means "whenever I am without love." This is sung as though from a heart, which longs for what it cannot reach, yet pants for as though it were a hart thirty for water, which is just beyond its tongue.
Bro. Smith SGS
New Book Church History II