An orchid in its second bloom opening out in the humility of the kitchen window, alone, yet not, in the dark before dawn. The way the light struck it, I had to take a closer look. It was then I saw its “suchness” gloriously open for all and one to see. Remaining skillfully attentive to the sun through the darkness, it was well poised. That orchid, by staying true even through the spotty window, had been given new life to bloom out of its dormancy. I was humbled by the lesson it was preaching. Live. Be. Stay pointed to the sun, even in shadow.
The bravest work is done in humility and solitude. Yet not alone, with awareness of what Rumi calls the Friend. Evolutionary work is thankless except for the reward it imparts upon its doing. The momentous movement of a well placed yes or no stopping the flow of habit and jolting one awake is not done to the sound of applause. And one will not be asked to take a bow for the repeated doings in the name of the Work. One will merely be asked to do more. It is only in relationship to the Friend that one might taste a wisp of the delight that occurs when wings begin to sprout from the ground of our living. Something watches, when the sparks fly, when parts of the mirror reflect each other, there is untold delight. Sometimes that something gets translated into a human exchange, but do not look for this kind of Friend in a human, unless that human is able to cut off chunks of soul to make a blanket out of and keep you warm, as Hafiz would put it.
That kind of human is very rare indeed. Mostly we find ourselves on lone watch over the subtle progress, brilliant detail, and disarming simplicity woven through the evolutionary stories we live. Just in the evolutionary process alone there seems to be a trace of this cutting off chunks of soul to wrap around another for protection business. I have cut off chunks of my personality for the sake of hospitality. By design and intent there has developed a readiness to surrender an identity structure for the sake of giving space for others, for the essential to live. This sounds more dramatic than it plays out. There is self compromise, but in the sense of giving up the agenda and preference of personality for the sake of practice, to provide hospitality to what is essential in me. To provide hospitality to what is essential in the company I imagine outside of me. There are a number of inner postures and practices I’ve been guided to maintain for the taming of the shrew. Seems the shrew has been tamed and there are now more pressing matters to address.
A well polished mirror offers the ultimate hospitality, allowing what is to be reflected as it is. I’ve been at the polishing business for some time now, and there are good signs of brightness, of “as it is” reflection going on. But good habits and intentions can become unconscious over time. In my hospitality and compassion am I being true to what is essential in me? What is being reflected in the mirror, or is that my own unpolished distortion?
I am reminded of an experience with my good friend. We were at a meal and the cook said that I looked as though I needed tea. Immediately there was an acceptance on my part that I must look tired, and I commented as such. My friend remarked on my subjectivity to influence. I looked at him and said, “Yes, but we must listen to feedback, right?” He said something to the effect of “Yes, but you must cherchez la femme – look for the woman. You must look to see the source of that feedback – perhaps the cook just needed to make some tea and that is the cook’s compulsion speaking.”
One’s Work must be protected sometimes from the perceptual limitations of those that can squeeze spirit right out of existence. Emptying out will create greater space for influence. Some influence is simply bad for the growth of spirit, particularly at certain stages of process. When one is repeatedly seen as hamburger meat and treated in like manner, no amount of hospitality or self reflection about one’s hospitality is going to change that. Acting from the place of humility and surrender here is just plain old stupid.
Unless we have been given strong experience with the fact of our perceptual limitations, we are clueless and our personality traits will tend to dictate how much content or contempt our ignorance will breed. When we know deeply with our self remembering the fact of our perceptual limitations humility is natural and there is the possibility for a universal compassion. There will be no movement out of a box until a different quality of experience has given enough perceptual range to see beyond it.
Energy is needed to Work, lots of it, and we risk having it consumed in wrong practice of hospitality. Sometimes it is more hospitable to close a door than keep it open. Sometimes in the closing of a door, one can better face the central sun. What are the rules of hospitality? What is the mirror reflecting? Who or what are we inviting in? How do we access the heart’s intelligence on these matters? How do the subtle laws of true hospitality translate in this world? This only scratches the surface of what is bubbling up for the next Journey to the Heart show on GorebaggTV a week from now, Thursday, April 11 at 6pm PST. I will likely write another blog post prior, so stay tuned.