His Holiness The Dalai Lama tells a story on himself. A number of years ago he was slated to give a talk in Tokyo. He sat on the platform awaiting his turn. The host gave a beautiful and extravagant speech about the gorgeous arrangement of flowers on the table that were to be given to the guest of honor. When the speech concluded, The Dalai Lama, assuming that he was the guest of honor, got out of his chair and walked across the platform in the direction of the flowers—when he heard the speaker say the flowers were intended for somebody else he returned to his chair, embarrassed and blushing.

Few would deny that His Holiness the Dalai Lama  is someone who’s pretty good at being a spiritual being on a human journey. Many people believe he is a fully enlightened being, a Buddha. But when asked who he really is, he always answers the same way, “I am just a simple monk.”   And he says this so authentically and with such sincerity that there’s little doubt he really means it.

We are spiritual beings on a human journey and to understand this means that we don’t know always know when to get up, when to sit down, how to get to where we want to go or what we will find along the way.

Many people believe an enlightened spiritual being can walk on water, has a bag supernatural tricks, doesn’t have difficulties or pain and especially doesn’t have worries. A truly enlightened spiritual being always knows how to do the right thing at the right time in the right way.

It’s true that the human journey takes us from place to place and person to person and sometimes we go with the flow, sometimes we resist.

Life causes us to change our location—we move from here to there but the deeper question is what happens in us when circumstances change.

There is the story of the Zen Master who stood before his students. As he was about to deliver his sermon he opened his mouth—but before a word came out, a bird just outside the window began to sing.

The Zen master stood silently until the bird stopped singing.  “Ah,” the Zen Master said, “the sermon has just been delivered.”

The song of transformation begins as the heart opens.

The spiritual frontier awaits us in the inner space of the heart.

Wherever my heart closes is my spiritual frontier. Wherever your heart closes is your spiritual frontier. We happen upon our spiritual frontier at the darndest times and with the most surprising people. We never know when the heart will close. But we all know what it feels like when the heart closes—walls itself off—armors itself against an experience or some other person. Keeping our distance, we push back inside—but when we do this we back away from the borders of our own spiritual frontier.

Nobody ever really changes unless there is a change of heart. Brother David Stendl-Rast writes, “When we reach our innermost heart, we reach a realm where we are not only intimately at home with ourselves, but intimately united with others, all others. The heart is never a lonely place. It is the realm where solitude and togetherness coincide. Our own experience proves this, does it not?  Can one ever say, “Now I am truly together with myself, yet I remain alienated from others?”  Or could one say, “I am truly together with others, or even just with one other person I love, yet I remain alienated from myself?”  Unthinkable!  The moment we are one with ourselves, we are one with all others.  We have overcome alienation.

The spiritual frontier is within us. When we choose to enter this spiritual frontier we become more than we are by waking up to who we are already.