It’s All Within?

Facebook is often a great source for blogging material. In this case I saw two quotes from very different sources (one a Christian brother, the other not) both praising the benefits of our internal strength. One was in praise of a homeopathic approach to health and the other was a quote from a Buddhist.

Starting with the Buddhist quote:

“There is nothing outside of yourself that can ever enable you to become better, stronger, richer, quicker, or smarter. Everything is within. Everything exists. Seek nothing outside of yourself.” –Musashi Miyamoto

Maybe I’m just not getting the point but my initial response would be to say, “The paycheck that I just deposited says otherwise. The crackers I just ate out the cupboard say otherwise. The joy I get from celebrating my 9 year anniversary with my wife says otherwise. The education that I got says otherwise.” All of these things come from outside of me. The best I can do is accept, learn, grow. None of this comes out of the void of my existence. Miyamoto was a swordsman. Did he not receive instruction? Did he not give it? The myth that everything we need for our own existence lies within ourselves is destroyed everyday experience. We are inherently dependent upon the world outside of ourselves and we’re wise to seek it.

Now for the homeopathic quote (which has mysteriously disappeared). It said something along the lines of “our power to heal comes from within” to which another friend correctly responded, “it may have been planted within but it comes from God.” Certainly our bodies are fearfully and wonderfully made by our Creator, but our Creator also made the whole of the universe. And he has blessed doctors and scientists and researches with the ability to find new ways to harness creation for our good. All these powers to heal come from the outside, not within. And, both our bodies and the medicine which works to heal our bodies come from our Creator.

We are irrevocably dependent creatures.

The same truth that applies to biological dependency also applies to spiritual dependency. The world tells us to find spiritual truth “within” our selves. But where will we turn when our selves, spiritually and bodily are wasting away? When we make ourselves our god, our god dies when we die, and we run the risk of offending the One True God, the only One who is not dependent. And yet, amazingly, while the self-existent God could have spent his time navel gazing on into eternal bliss He is nevertheless a radically outward-oriented God. His is not outward-oriented like we are, by necessity, but out of life-giving creative love.

Looking only within vastly overestimates whatever internal strength, intelligence, or goodness we might have. Instead, look up with dependency to the self-existent and eternal Creator.