The words of Thomas Wolfe, “You Can’t go Home Again,” takes on a truth that is informed by one’s own life experience as one ages. Parents have, if the generational passages follow their usual course, predeceased one. Likely one’s childhood home is now years gone, if not in fact, certainly in access. Lovers and loved ones of younger days are out of reach, through death, distance, estrangement, or a simple lack of contact over many years. With all of this, as one ages one realizes that the idea of some permanent home is an illusion. Even if I am younger I can already see the truth of this.

This is true as long as home is something outside of ourselves. As long as home is a place or a relationship I have known. But if I look within, perhaps a different kind of place can be found. When I am quiet, with my thoughts less intrusive, the upwelling of emotions lessened, the body at ease, I see that something begins to appear that is familiar. This sense of familiarity deepens as I become more and more inwardly quiet. Over time this familiarity enlarges. I recognize that this inner place is home. And it is unchanged from the first time I encountered it, no matter how many years have passed. In this place change does not occur. Nothing decays, nothing grows old. This inner place is my original home. It is the place, whenever I wish to come and enter, that will always be there for my return.

“When will I be home? I don’t know.
In the mountains, in the rainy night,
The Autumn lake is flooded.
Someday we will be back together again.
We will sit in the candlelight by the West window. 
And I will tell you how I remembered you
Tonight on the stormy mountain.”        

– Li Shangyin

Forward to a Friend

4 Comments

  1. We may all have a deep need for a sense of home. I return in dreams to my childhood homes, but something has changed for the worse — a new owner or a housing development on our beautiful ranch in the Rockies of eastern Idaho. With age perhaps it becomes more possible to occupy one’s “own space,” while in the midst of life. And as you hint, the inner search is waiting actively for the materiality of one’s authentic inner home to be incarnated by a higher force.

  2. Thank you very much, Fredrica. Your thought about perhaps being better able to occupy your “own space” while in the midst of life as one becomes older is an interesting one that certainly makes sense to me. And the last sentence of your comment goes so deep. For me it spoke to the essence of what we work towards, expressed in a handful of words. Very helpful, indeed.

  3. When facing all the change that surrounds me, it
    is a comforting reminder that I carry my home witin
    myself: the idea of expanding my home creates a quiet space.

  4. Thank you, Karen, your comment is much appreciated. I have this inner home which I rarely come into but which over time I could learn to fully inhabit. Those others around me who are also trying are the greatest reminder of the necessity.