In a position of utter desolation, when [wo]man cannot express her/himself in positive action, when one’s only achievement may consist in enduring one’s sufferings in the right way – an honorable way – in such a position [wo]man can, through loving contemplation of the image s/he carries of the beloved, achieve fulfillment. – Viktor E. Frankl (edited for gender inclusiveness)
Most of us are sitting around at home, trying to figure out how not to kill our partners (and, I’m sure, alternately enjoying them), and I am no different. In fact, I am going through a major adjustment, because my husband lost his job prior to our own state “lockdown,” and while it’s certainly an adjustment having him home all the time, I am so thankful, ugly as the situation was. My husband was working as a hospice chaplain and traveling across ten counties, going into homes and nursing homes where people are ill, and he would have had to continue doing that, but now he doesn’t have to. At his age, we are considering moving toward early retirement, and we think we can pull it off, although that may be wishful thinking. But I digress.
How may I serve? Awhile back, I wrote a little piece on the topic of exactly that, for an Indian e-zine, focusing on the difference between action and contemplation. It must be around here somewhere, if I find it, I’ll post it on the “Papers” page. I well remember sitting in front of my dearest father, friend and life’s teacher, Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan, and hearing him speak of, for instance, rishis in the Himalayas, who spend their lives in solitude and meditation, and who have a huge impact on the affairs of the world, serving as few of us are able to serve in our active lives. I have found myself in a position to emulate them to some degree, although even when one is ill and living a fairly solitary life, there is always something to draw one into one’s very own self-constructed rat race…and so it goes.
Still. How I think I can serve is in focusing on my daily meditations, being quiet and praying. I find that there are many who attend my meditations, and I am well aware of them arriving right on time every day (even when I am not), although I mostly can’t see them. This is spoken of by the contemplatives of all mystical traditions: we don’t know how many souls we are upholding by the power of our meditation, and we need to remember that. Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan says that the reason for trying to meditate at the same time every day is because then the souls who want to be there will know to be there at that time. I wish I could reference these thoughts, but they are, by now, such a part of me that they are mine, treasures given me long ago.
So at this time, this is how I serve. I don’t get to see a published survey showing whether it works or not, but I can only assume that, given the condition of my own soul, which is linked inextricably with all souls, that it is a good thing to do.
Join me. I love you.