From Within and From Without – Part One

I paid a visit to a nearby plant shop. My adolescent pommecythere (June plum or golden apple) plant was unmistakably sick, very sick, seemingly fighting a losing battle with a disease that my ignorant mind failed to fathom. After consultation, I purchased the recommended pesticide. The instruction was to mix it with water, spray the solution in the soil and on the leaves.  What was the rationale? The plant medicine would attack the disease from within through the soil, and from without through the leaves. 

Voila!  This instruction embodies the fundamental life-giving and healing principle of human living – “from within and without.”

When bacteria or a virus attacks, antibiotics and vaccines are applied from within and without.

When social conflict, tension, or anarchy flares up, authentic leaders face it from within – the root cause, and from without – the immediate and visible chaos.

When a child erupts with volcanic deviant behaviour, psychologists address the behaviour from within – the child’s mental and emotional state,  and from without – the child’s social environment.

When a student displays learning challenges, educators approach the matter from within – perhaps a learning disability, and from without – a child’s learning environment.

When I have challenges to pray, my spiritual director explores the outer world of living or working – from within, and my inner emotional world – from without.

As with a house on fire, fire fighters tackle the blaze from within and from without.

Our spiritual, social, physical, and intellectual houses are daily threatened with fire, and many times they catch fire. We frantically hose them down with watery solutions. 

Very few persons risk entering the building to address the source of the fire. Hence, most of our awake hours are spent “outing fires” – from without.

How exhausting!

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