I’ve spent significant moments in my life looking for overpowering outward signs. I’ve wanted magical revelations about vocation and the future; dramatic epiphanies that would reveal when I was “in love”; a clap of thunder to confirm an important decision in a crossroads of choices. It’s taken me a while to listen to the “whispers that are my feet,” as the Torah suggests: “If you listen down below, you will deserve to hear from above.”
More than one author has reminded me that there is a quiet awareness to be found in smaller doses and reflections. In his thoughts on Waking Up, Charles Tart calls me to pay attention to the everyday experiences and perceptions in my life that offer insight into my gifts and musings along the way. As such, I can develop an awareness of the gentle song within me that begins as a whisper and becomes a melody over a period of time.
We can spend a lifetime with a borrowed tune and never hear the authentic but undiscovered voice within us. “Attention must be paid,” cried Willie Loman almost at the end of his life, in “Death of a Salesman”; but Miller’s play sadly concludes that he “never really knew who he was.”
Life was designed, I believe, to be energized by curiosity. Inquiry and investigation provide substantial satisfaction and joy. Each one of us contains uncharted territory within us, where small steps and deeper incursions will always provide interest and substance to life. Is curiosity an exercise for childhood, or a lifelong calling? Elizabeth O’Connor, the stimulating writer of the Church of the Saviour, challenged me years ago to take the Journey Inward, Journey Outward—and, as someone else has eloquently said, “that has made all the difference” (Robert Frost).
What about you? Are you still curious?