By Roxanne Howe-Murphy, Ed.D.
I was in my 30‘s, and on one of many trips from California to the Midwest to visit my parents. I arrived on this earth late in their lives and we hadn’t shared a lot of intimacy up until that time. I was sitting with my mom in the living room, and can vividly remember her revealing something truly intimate that has stayed with me the rest of my life. She said that she could never believe she was looking at herself when she looked in the mirror. “My, that’s an old lady there, and that’s not how I feel inside.” It surprised me because, I too, saw an older woman, never suspecting her inner experience. At the time, I wondered what her words really meant.
Years later, I, too, started having similar experiences, as have countless others. Within my own experience, new understandings have been birthed. Just what is the true nature of the inner experience that doesn’t match the multitudes of changes in our lives that are somehow captured and reported in our bodies?
The busy mind can conjure up answers, but to enter into a relationship with that inner experience from a place of quiet curiosity and presence, ah……. We come to know this inner experience as THAT. We might call it the Soul, or the Beloved, or the Divine Within., the “I Am THAT, I Am.” We come to know it as what is Eternal Within. We know it because we have a direct experience of it. It is irrefutable.
Here is a place in which we can rest, being assured of that which IS, amidst all the marvelous and challenging changes in our personal lives, and in the world. THAT continues; THAT is ageless. No wonder the inner experience and the outer images don’t match!
A friend from the spiritual community that I am in, sent the following poem by William Stafford that captures the centrality of this connection. I thought you might enjoy it.
The Way It Is
by William Stafford
There's a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn't change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But is is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can't get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time's unfolding.
You don't ever let go of the thread.
Connecting with the Thread as you move through life helps keep you present, focused on what’s most important, grounded and trusting.
I have found that the wisdom of the Enneagram is a powerful framework from which to make contact with the authentic inner self. Should you every feel lost or confused, not knowing your direction in life, studying the timeless and universal wisdom illuminated through the Enneagram provides a map back to your inner home.
May your connection with The Eternal Thread support you through all of life’s celebrations, challenges, losses, and joys. May it help you remember Who You Really Are.