SELF-COMPASSION AND THE ART OF INNER HARVESTING
Old age can be a wonderful time to develop the art of inner harvesting. What does inner harvesting mean? Inner harvesting means that you actually begin to sift the fruits of your experience. You begin to group, select and integrate them. One of the places where inner harvesting is most vital is the abandoned areas within your life. Areas of inner neglect and abandonment cry out to you. They are urgent for harvest. Then they can come in out of the false exile of neglect and enter into the temple of belonging, the soul. This is particularly necessary in relation to the things that you have found difficult in your life, things to which you had great resistance. Above all, your inner wounds cry out for healing. There are two way of doing this. You can do it in an analysis-driven way, where you go back to the wound and open it up again. You take off the protective healing skin which has grown around it. You make it sore and you make it weep again. A lot of thearapy reserves the process of healing. Maybe there is a less intrusive art of attention that you can bring to your wounds. For the soul has its own natural rhythm of healing. Consequently, many of your wounds are very well-healed and should not be opened up again. If you want to you could select a list of your wounds and spend the next thirty years opening them up, until eventually you become like Job with your body a mass of sores. If you engage in this practise of woundology, you will turn your soul into a mass of weeping sores. Each of us has a wonderful but precarious freedom in relation to our inner life. We need, therefore, to treat ourselves with great tenderness.
Part of the wisdom of spiritual soulful self-presence is to be able to let certain aspects of your life alone. This is the art of spiritual non-interference. Yet other aspects of your life call urgently for your attention; they call to you as their shelterer, to come and harvest them. You can discern where these wounds are in the temple of memory, then visit them in a gentle and mindful way. The one kind of creative presence you could bring to these areas is compassion. Some people can be very compassionate to others, but exceptionally harsh with themselves. One of the qualities that you can develop, particularly in your older years, is a sense of great compassion for your self. When you visit the wounds within the temple of memory, the places where you made bad mistakes and now feel such regret, you should not blame your self. Sometimes you have grown unexpectedly through these mistakes. Frequently, in a journey of the soul, the most precious moments are the mistakes. They have brought you to a place which you would otherwise have always avoided. You should bring a compassionate mindfulness to your mistakes and wounds. Endeavour to inhabit again the rhythm you were in at that time. If you visit this configuration of your soul with forgiveness in your heart, it will fall into place itself. When you forgive your self, the inner wounds begin to heal. You come in out of the exile of hurt into the joy of inner belonging. This art of integration is very precious. You have to trust your deeper, inner voice to know which places you need to visit. This is not to be viewed in a quantitative way, but rather in a gentle, spiritual way. If you bring that kind light to your soul and to its wounded places, you effect incredible inner healing.