Are you looking for me? I am in the next seat.
My shoulder is against yours.
You will not find me in stupas, not in Indian shrine
rooms, nor in synagogues, nor in cathedrals:
not in masses, nor kirtans,
not in legs winding around your own neck,
nor in eating nothing but vegetables.
When you really look for me,
you will see me instantly-
you will find me in the tiniest house of time.
Student, tell me, what is the Beloved?
It is the breath inside the breath.
this symbolic knowing of who we are as seen in deep reflection in inter-beingness…..to the wisdom of loving…..seizing that soft, deep loneliness like caged will can pry open the closed shell, the dark reign of powerlessness…..we are more courageous than we know…
The remarkable Sufi poet Rumi whispers to us, as if to Narcissus, of the presence of the Beloved ‘always there before us.’ He calls us to traverse whatever distances remain. To go through the fire of our deepest griefs and heal the wound of separation from our true nature. To explore with devotion the seemingly separate body, the often isolated mind, the spirit obscured with doubt. He implores us to enter the fires of our holding. To free ourselves for the Beloved. There is in Rumi’s tradition a saying, ‘This is not a world of my making or even of my choosing, but this is the world into which I am born to find the Beloved.’ Birth is our painful initiation into the often awkward realm of relationship and duality. Sliding sideways into whatever niche is available in the family matrix, we attempt to fit our whole ghost into an ever-shifting world of people and things, of liking and disliking, of gain and loss. Born into a realm where most have denied happiness, clinging to momentary enjoyment, we often wander haplessly between pleasure and pain, as times unable to distinguish the two. Relationship offers great enlightenment. There, in the midst of the passing show, exploring our pleasure and our pain, examining the light within the fire, we meet ourselves in a brand new way, and as we look up, there she is, the Beloved, munching on toast…….Stephen Levine
A fire on the left, a lovely stream on the right.
One group walks toward the fire, into the fire, another
toward the sunset flowing water.
No one knows which are blessed and which are not.
Whoever walks into the fire
appears suddenly in the stream.
A head goes under on the water’s surface,
that head pokes out of the fire.
Most people guard against going into the fire,
and so end up in it.
Those who love the water of pleasure
and make it their devotion
are cheated with this reversal.