I unravel toward emptiness, then it is filled again. I used to have the intention not to leave the light of darkness revealed there in the emptiness. No more of that, I don’t know better. A fresh mystery will unfold me into itself.. The petals wither and fall, leaving thorns and stem, then, emptiness, once again. There is sameness to the pattern, and yet a difference to the depth of that emptiness, the way the pretty petals unfurl. I catch occasional glimpses of the center, but this does not stop the ride. I wish it would, then I am brought to the place where I flinch at death still.
The apparent movement inward is felt by the degree and focus of longing for home, by the lessening of that death flinch. Funny how the acceptance of death brings more life to life. Death has been called the “Gift of the Gods” by the mighty who can’t die (a deep mystery I’ve heard about), and we are given the grace of regeneration by its hand in nature. Gratitude seems to reconcile life and death, like warm breath breathing through a frozen landscape, transforming, awakening the garden once again.
Gratitude is what is needed in my garden at the moment. Maintaining some semblance of composure through the rugged landscape, I have less will toward maintenance of any kind. It is difficult to stand on ground that keeps disappearing. So much transition with the occasional flashes of light in the darkness stimulates a longing ache for annihilation into the transcendence I’ve known in my life.
Through the grit of living a taste of where I am returning is given. And there is gratitude for this.The longing for home is now more direct, less disguised by intermediaries longing can take shape through. Rumi acknowledges the skillful play between the “animal’s hungry agility” and “the connoisseur’s intelligent choice” that can render a human gesture holy. Engagement is necessary. Foolishness is just a part of the whole thing. The growing distaste for hunger over existence is best refined into willingness to play the game with verve, alacrity, and impartiality.
Even just a glance reveals a lot to be grateful for – why do I feel weak to the task? To really experience the strength of gratitude needed, I must engage the heart, not just activate sensations through mental pictures. Broken open humility is fertile ground for gratitude. Humility allows the splendor to be seen even through my imperfection. Where I have acted from mistaken identity, that’s what hurts, that’s the seed for humility. I don’t grieve so much for what is left behind, rather, how convinced I was of its reality. And yet even this self recrimination is bogus, resting on a narrow view of reality that denies my full range of experience. I have to get simple and honor what brought me to this moment. I feed the fire ache of longing a well seasoned log. My misguided identification has brought me to this deeper mystery of being in the world but not of it.
How do we find the stamina to keep on keeping on? There is a state in which the phoenix stops the burning and rising from ash, and hangs out on Mt. Sinai instead. There is the animal’s hungry agility and the connoisseur’s intelligent choice. Being in the world but not of it – how is this dance done? What is the heart’s song in all this? There are subtle issues being implied that we will endeavor to address on the next Journey to the Heart show Thursday, April 18 at 6pm PST on GorebaggTV.