Narrow Gate

The Narrow Gate

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Finding the path

The inner realisation, the discovery that there is more than one life world, one reality or field of existence from which one can live is not necessarily an easy experience.  There is the world that we know, with its many counterparts, both visible and invisible, in which we were born and continue to live and there is simultaneously another world, a completely different realm unrelated to the world we experience, which generally we know nothing about. Or do we? From my understanding and experience we are presented with the possibility of moving out of our familiar world into another. It might sound like a simple transition, but is it really so?

Let’s look to our children for an example. Young children seem to have an innate ability to move from one world to another. They live in many worlds and are constantly chattering on about them, whether to an audience or to themselves, it doesn’t seem to matter. It’s considered quite acceptable and even cute. TV, video games and movies encourage it. There’s a delightful sense of freedom and fluidity in being able to think and feel the way a child can, that most of us “oldies “ seem to have lost. We are stuck in only one world.

So how do we, having grown out of childhood, find another reality? Another world, one not of this world, which we hear that, after all, is “closer than hands and feet”? How do we connect with it, and even more importantly, how do we stay connected?

There’s a path leading to that other world, a well-trodden path with a narrow gate. We know about that, there are many references to it in the Bible and elsewhere. As we age it gets harder to pass through such a gate with all our materialistic, mental and emotional ties and bindings. Only when we start to become dissatisfied with life, with all our attachments, do we sense that other reality, we have an inkling that there could be something else besides the world known to us. And when we recognise the dissatisfaction within ourselves, in our inner being, we find ourselves on a path, on the beginning of a path leading to that narrow gate. And more and more that new reality beckons to us, leads us on. Our recognition comes from within, our guiding inner star, and more and more we trust that guidance. We discover that we have to leave a lot behind as we proceed on this path, and of course if the gate we are moving towards is narrow, that makes perfect sense.

We start to come to know two realities - one that begins to diminish as we proceed on the path, another, fleeting at first, that gradually grows stronger, starts to live within and around us. It’s not easy to always stay on our path, to keep our direction, but if we remember our starting point, that inner recognition, and have faith in that inner guidance, our path will be apparent. The initial confusion and frustration diminishes, tranquillity and peace abound. And suddenly there it is ahead of us, the narrow gate!

Seeing the Gate

Hmm. Nice gate. A trifle narrow I think. It brings to mind the departure gate at an airport. For a lot of my adult life I’ve flown, from here to there, and everywhere else. Always the same procedure - check in one’s baggage, proceed to departure lounge, board the plane (this being of course pre-Covid!) It was a relatively easy procedure until they brought in maximum luggage limits, as I had always managed to sneak in the extra few kilos of absolutely vital belongings that I just “had” to take with me. Now suddenly that was limited to a set weight and I had to obey the rules. Once baggage has been checked in, all our “necessary” attachments left behind, we are allowed to approach the departure lounge, verify our identity, and pass through the gate onto the plane. Is that maybe the same way it works for the narrow gate we were originally considering? After all we are not flying from one country to another, but from one reality to another. Just as we gladly leave behind our baggage to be able to board the plane, so we need to willingly leave behind our baggage, our attachments to the world, in order to enter a new reality. We can’t pass through the gate holding onto them, no matter how hard we try. And try we do.

Remember - it’s not always easy. Only when free from all our bindings, consciously so, will we allow space, inwardly and outwardly for a new reality to present itself. Then, and only then, we are able to pass through that narrow gate. And it is indeed a nice gate!

Passing through the gate

So - having worked ever so hard to minimise our attachments to earthly things, whether mental, emotional, physical (and yes, even spiritual) we then expect, of course, to be able to just pass through the gate. Not so. We find it doesn’t work that way. Not only is it not easy, but it’s not possible. While we still have a part of us “wanting” to pass through the gate, even an infinitesimally small part, a part wanting to find a way to open it, we will fail. All “wants” have to go, to be let go of. Every time we want, desire or try, we will be refused admittance. Just like at the airport, if we turn up at the boarding gate with something amiss we won’t be able to board that plane. And we might have noticed already that the gate we are trying to open has no latch anyway, no lock, no bolt, no handle. We also may have discovered as we continued on our path - steadfastly, perseveringly -  that at odd moments, mostly totally unexpectedly, the gate opens of itself, it sends out a ray of light, of peace and tranquillity which touches us, arouses and awakens us. Briefly. And then it is gone, as suddenly as it appeared.

That touch from another realm, that other reality, stirs us inwardly. It’s so totally different from anything, any experience within this earthly realm that we can’t forget it. So beautiful, so totally unworldly that we begin to long for it. An inner spark of recognition. Something within us knows, even for ever so briefly, that we have found our true home. That the world we have learnt to live in, to regard as home, is in reality a delusion. Our recognition of that leads to an increasing inner longing and we find the gate opening more and more, for longer periods of time, never when we might expect it. Expecting has to go also! It’s not about expecting, about wanting. It’s related to our yearning, to longing for a reality that gradually becomes more and more real, more tangible, far preferable. Also to our willingness to open ourselves to it, to surrender to it. And then one day, much to our surprise and joy, the gate does open, allows us to enter, wherever we are, whatever we may be doing. Physically we move nowhere. But we have moved, in another sense, to a reality that is so amazing, so beyond description. Beyond words. We can only experience it.

We enter through the gate. And smile, the gate closing gently behind us.

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