Monday, February 22, 2010

An Unquenchable Thirst

“Many activities are really distractions that excite us but don't satisfy, just leaves us wanting more distraction. But, they can be bought with money, and worth every penny of it.” ~ Djofraleigh

I read this quote a few days ago and, for some reason, it has been lingering in my mind ever since. Yesterday, taking advantage of a little extra time I had available for myself, I sat alone for a little while and pondered the meaning of such a profound statement.

In so many ways those words reminded me of a conversation I had with one of my children a few years ago, concerning the consumption of sugary beverages instead of water. At the time, I noticed that my sons – both avid consumers of fruit juice – were constantly drinking and went through numerous bottles of juice at the speed of light. Although I’m aware of the fact that children require a greater intake of fluids to boost their growth, their thirst seemed to exceed expectations.

As an experiment, I instructed them to substitute half the juice they were drinking with water, to see if changing the type of drink would make a difference. It did indeed. After drinking a glass of water, more time would pass before they needed another drink. The next week we substituted two thirds of their fruity drinks with water, and their need to drink repeatedly dramatically decreased. We came to the conclusion that because water was the actual nutrient they needed, their intake didn’t need to be so high – one glass of water could satisfy their thirst equally to five glasses of juice.

Similarly, we go through life trying to satisfy our thirst to belong to something greater with activities and people which occupy our time and momentarily fill the void, but in the end, our needs of unconditional love and acceptance are not met. We attempt to quench our insatiable thirst with trinkets and gadgets, lovers and sounds, or we fall victims of glamour, illusion and substance abuse, easily substituting external feeds for what we shouldn’t travel too far to find.

Unconditional love and acceptance are the waters of an eternal spring tucked under the folds of our immediate consciousness, safely concealed by a layer of camouflaging thoughts. If we can allow ourselves to rake through the covering brush, we will, over time, find the sweet-flowing waters running deep within us, and our thirst will be quenched.

The beginning verse of Psalm 23 has always resonated with me particularly. “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lay down in green pastures, He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul…”

This verse reflects a fundamental truth. The satisfaction we crave cannot be found without until one can find it within. External feeds are no different than sugar water or a glass of fruit juice – they satisfy our thirst temporarily and allow us an instant feeling of wellbeing, but their effect is certainly not a long-lasting one, since the love we receive from our outside world is mostly conditional. If we learn how to tap into the eternal waters of universal, unconditional love, the satisfaction lasts much longer and it automatically replenishes when we thirst for more.

There are many ways to uncover the eternal spring of inner love, and not one person’s path is the same as any other; we can reach our source through service to others, through inner silence, or even by accepting the higher truth of a divine nature in all. No path is better or worse than the others, but rather, all paths are uniquely customized for the individuals ready to walk them. The only thing that matters is that the spring is found, regardless of the tools we used to remove the debris, or the trail we chose to get to it.

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