By Chris Baker
These notes were written by me last year when in northern Vietnam, visiting the hilltribe people near Sapa…
Looking out over the rice paddies of Thanh Phu village, I feel a touch of envy for the easy acceptance these people show for what is. Life here is uncluttered, without the need for new plasma TV’s and 16 valve urban 4WD’s. The Tay people I’m staying with and the h’Mong group just a few villages away at Lau Chai are so joyful with everyday life, it’s a pleasure to spend the day with them. We have much to learn about what it is about life that brings joy and contentment.
Even so, the desire for improvement is creeping in, and seems to be growing in the younger people. As they become acquainted with western life, there is a pull that is stealing the contentment away from them. The wish for education is a desire that seems to be “good”, but I suspect they are exchanging wisdom for education. The earthy kind of wisdom of people in touch with themselves is being pushed aside for that western ideal of knowing endless information about stuff.
Is it part of the human condition that we fall into an endless seeking of making things better? And in doing so we get caught up in what is external to us, and get further from that innermost stillness which holds a deep wisdom. What comes with that innermost connection is a joyfulness that we can still see amongst the mountain people in northern Vietnam, and what seems like an elusive dream for most westerners.
It’s getting in touch with that inner stillness that brings me to Vietnam, and particularly to Hoi An where I’m attending some presentations by Serge Benhayon on the topic of actually putting into daily practice that connection with the innermost. Serge is Australian, and it’s kind of surprising to find that the person who has been able to help me actually feel that inner connection is not living in some Tibetan monastery, but is an everyday kind of guy who likes surfing and lives in Northern NSW.
And he’s hosting a retreat in Hoi An, where I’ll be for the next few days and where I’ve come for some more hints that may help me in my daily practice of connecting with my innermost. The ancient name for innermost is esoteric, and you can think of this as an esoteric school of ageless wisdom – because what he presents is not new, but something we all have within us. But the externally directed lives that we lead take us away from that connection, so it’s more a matter of remembering what we already know, or connecting to what is already within, than learning something new.
That connection is something that the mountain people haven’t entirely lost, and what most westerners have shut down, or covered over with daily busy-ness.
Over the years I’ve been to various so-called personal development courses, and been to retreats by spiritual teachers of different colours. But the telling thing for me is that it has only been the presentations of Serge Benhayon that have helped me to actually feel that inner connection in a way that is solid.
There have been glimpses of this in my life from time to time, but mostly I haven’t known what I was feeling and have let go of it, and gone back to thinking rather than feeling. When I have noticed that connection in the past I have tried to figure it out, using my engineer’s training, and in doing so have got lost in thought and analysis.
The truth I was missing is just about acceptance of what is, by feeling, not by analysis.
For me the journey to myself was a stop-start and erratic path of seeking which did not bring me closer to contentment. At times I achieved a passing acquaintance with joy and stillness and it came more or less accidentally, and it proved to be fleeting. With Serge Benhayon’s guidance I have come to a deep understanding, a visceral knowing, of that stillness that is within us all. And a knowing of how to get back to it often.
My inner connection with myself is now much stronger, and although I am sometimes still distracted by the busy-ness of life, I now notice much more quickly when I stray. My reconnection now comes more easily and is more consistent.
Thank you Serge for reminding me of the ageless wisdom that is within us all.