Simple Pleasures – Outback Australia

Little Oakey – Home

My grandfather, Michael John Pope, was a pioneer farmer in outback New South Wales, Australia. He built his small, four-room home, Little Oakey, from the creek-stones of the area. Behind the house was a wattle and daub (clay) kitchen and cellar. In that little home, with his wife Mary Jane, he raised five children in, what would be considered by today’s standards, primitive isolation. One of his daughters, my aunt, describes Little Oakey,

Our home was situated on Little Oakey Creek; a very pretty spot surrounded by lovely oak trees and mountains. There were paddocks, a creek running by the orchard, haystacks, a vegetable garden, wells dug in both gardens, wildflowers growing all around the flats, and a spring where we all swam. I always loved our home and dreamed about it many times and had happy times when going to school. Ann Pope

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Existential Crisis

The fruits of serious spiritual devotion have an unmistakable flavour, sometimes, even more so in retrospect. It had been a challenging few years. I was twenty-six and had been progressing through an existential crisis, an involuntary falling apart of life’s meaning. I felt a deep human aloneness and with all my praying I failed to feel the love of God in any way which could help my state of being. Other than the care and protection of my two little children and my spiritual studies, I had no interest in anything. Everything seemed trite to me; meaningless and often painfully intolerable. I had lost faith in everything human to give solace to my soul. It was not intentional. It is just what happened over the space of a few years. I was at the bottom of the valley – all things lost but nothing yet gained.

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Life is Immortal

We are here to evolve. All life forms serve one ultimate purpose – to align themselves with the good, the beautiful, and the infinite. As human souls, this takes a tremendous amount of growth; much more than one short time on Earth can give. We gradually become more aligned to the higher life-force over a long period of soul evolution. What may seem a tragedy by the standard of one short lifetime is merely a page in an ongoing story which has a higher purpose and plot far beyond the momentary appearance. We can trust the Divine nature of the story with all its twists and turns. Acceptance makes a lighter load of things that will only make sense in the end. Our view is relatively short-term. Our limited sense of life is not the confines of a limitless Intelligence. We must remember the true essence of life – indestructible, immaterial, completely safe, and utterly untouchable. We are spiritual, not physical beings. That does not change with either birth or death. It remains constant. Our true essence is intangible, bodiless, and ethereal.

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Spiritual Withdrawal

Rite of Passage

Some type of separation or seclusion is, for some of us, a necessary rite of passage. When we see through the self-confirmatory nature of human interaction, we can decide to refrain from participating in it for some time. One must learn to tolerate and live with silence before one is ready to talk the talk of the angels. For a few people, the silence remains in the form of seclusion. For all, it remains internally and is regarded as precious. It, sometimes, requires the silence of withdrawal to spiritually work through some inner milestones. What other people think about this is only of concern because of our love for others and our compassion for their inability to understand what we may be doing. However, the focus is not on what others think of us but on how we can fulfil our spiritual potential and help the world. There can be a transitory conflict between spiritual evolution and the pull towards that which is conventional, acceptable, and normal human behaviour. The world, as ignorant as it is, accepts very little deviation from its ridiculous and unfounded ideas of normalcy.

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