Extinguish my eyes, I’ll go on seeing you.
Seal my ears, I’ll go on hearing you.
And without feet I can make my way to you,
without a mouth, I can swear your name.
Break off my arms, I’ll take hold of you
with my heart as with a hand.
Stop my heart, and my brain will start to beat.
And if you consume my brain with fire,
I’ll feel you burn in every drop of my blood. –Rilke, Book of Hours
I remember stories of the ancient mystics, the ones who sought a direct experience of the Divine by practicing, working, meditating, praying….endlessly, hour after hour, day after day, hanging upside down in a well reciting the dhikr for forty days, wandering in the wilderness with no direction, starving, thirsty, determined that nothing should keep them from the realization of that ideal that is said to be the same ideal in all hearts, whether or not that is known or unknown….
And then there’s me: in recent months, coming back from my Year In Hell, God pulled me into my own version of the above, and my practice has been done sitting in my old wicker rocking chair in front of a sunny window, or on my front porch… I have recited the dhikr with my i-Pod earphones in my ears, or in silence, or listening to the sounds of the birds, or the cars going by on the road… I have listened to the music that takes me where I want to go, I have read the words of those who have blazed a trail ahead of me, I have talked to friends occasionally–when I could talk at all–I have made Black Bean Brownies, I have written, and I have sat and sat and sat…
Whatever works. Thanks be to God in the form of my beloved Rilke, Apple Computer, Tallis, the Benedictine Monks, WordPress, good coffee, beautiful colors, the sound of birds, the Internet, the chirping of the cicadas, the sacred in all its forms: a special thanks for the music of Deuter, who with a chord or a sound clarified what lay just ahead when I wanted to get there quickly, and my old friend Suhrawardhi, who never doubted and always stayed. Thanks be to my dear and constant husband, who cleaned up the kitchen so I could go meditate, and never once grumbled at my preoccupation(s). Special thanks be to the ones who wounded me and tugged at my sleeve and told me lies (and listened to mine) for as many years as it took… how else would I have been able to see the truth when it hit me between the eyes if I hadn’t learned to recognize the lies?
Thanks be to the right time and the right place and the right not to refuse.
If one has lost something, it is because one has risen above it or fallen beneath it. — Inayat Khan
Thanks be to the masters, saint and prophets who form the spiritual hierarchy that is the embodiment of the Master, the Spirit of Guidance… they are the fulfillment of the purpose of God. Thanks most of all to my teachers, who gave themselves to the furtherance of that unfoldment and showed me the way… and never gave up.
And finally, thanks be to Jack Sparrow, who said it all: “Funny old life, isn’t it?”