May 2010

A Rose in the Desert

A solitary pilgrim, his heart filled with yearning, crosses the desert on a camel. He knows the desert well, guided surely, as always, by the North Star. In his heart though, he feels a destination to which this star will not guide him. He has long felt that a higher life exists coincident with this ordinary life we live day to day. And he knows there are teachers who have realized that sublimity, and who share it in schools of aspirants no different from himself. But where, he wonders, is that place to be found?

He does not yet know where. And so onward he treks, his daily life but a backdrop to this earnest search for something true. On the arid desert beneath limitless sky, unmarked days and weeks pass with the bob and sway of the camel’s head. One thing is certain though: when he finds what he seeks, he will know it. It will stand out to him like a rose in the desert.

***

It is 2010 now. The desert is not what it used to be. The heavens bristle with satellites, the days are parceled into minutes and seconds, and the camel’s placid sway yields to the rush of bits and of bytes, of cars and caffeine. And the desert is no longer empty. It’s a bewildering kaleidoscope of possibility: an avalanche of information, opinions and imagery--about teachers and teachings, practices and beliefs. The ancient mixes with the modern, the sacred with the profane, the glib with the inspired. Truly it is a strange glut and a marketplace, and yet… in the midst of all this… …the same unnamed goal shines in the pilgrim’s heart, suggesting a sphere of influence in which the ancient truth of religions and philosophies, the precious symbols of myth and fairytale, can bear living fruit and become felt realities.

***

What is the Fellowship of Friends, which has sponsored this website? Most identifiably, we are a long-standing gathering of men and women who have responded to just such a pilgrim’s call. Though we live in many countries, we are gathered together in a practical work that is individual, psychological, and ultimately, spiritual in nature. We do this under the guidance of a teacher, who daily demonstrates the presence of higher worlds to us, and who creates conditions in which we can climb that same ladder within ourselves. Much can be said about the outer form of this school, which is characterized by instruction and encouragement, inner struggle and outer cooperation, good company, beauty and intentionality.

What is harder to describe is the inner side, where the invisible transformation that we experience takes place, where we feel new realities born of our relationship to the conscious influence being transmitted here. This is not a matter of some idealized bliss, nor is it a matter of being an enthusiast, a believer, or a follower. It is a matter of taking the moment-to-moment steps that are needed to do what is hardest and most dear to one: to forge one’s soul and be one’s Self. In the Fellowship we acknowledge ourselves as students, and live in grateful relationship to both the knowledge we receive and to our teacher, whose influence can be felt palpably, practically, and emotionally, and can also be verified on a spiritual plane that is projected through time and space. Our teacher has also, for near four decades now, showered us with conscious love . Can anyone truly explain all of this? No, not really. It is, in the end, inexplicable. And yet:

“Depend on it. The spiritual is the real.
It belongs to one more than the hand and foot.”
Alfred Lord Tennyson

***

And so dear visitor:

On your own trek through the desert, many oases beckon. This website is but one of them. You can, with a click of the mouse, dart from this flower like a hummingbird, with one beakful of sweetness. Or you can explore further and make personal contact through the means that are provided. In any event, as you sit now before your electronic screen, please tend one question within you, like a small flame: “Might this be my rose in the desert?”