Becoming a Mighty Kindness

Zero-Circle – Rumi, 1207-73

Be helpless and dumbfounded,
unable to say yes or no.
Then a stretcher will come
from grace to gather us up.
We are too dull-eyed to see the beauty.
If we say Yes, We Can we’ll be lying.
If we say No, We Don’t See It,
that No will behead us
and shut tight our window into spirit.
So let us not be sure of anything,
besides ourselves, and only that, so
miraculous beings come running to help.
Crazed, lying in a zero-circle, mute,
we will be saying finally,
with tremendous eloquence, Lead Us.
When we’ve totally surrendered to that beauty,
we’ll become a mighty kindness.

My friend read this out loud to me this week and I was deeply moved. Poetry has a way of suspending time and can become a portal to ourselves. I’m unable to decipher the meaning of this ancient mystic.   And yet, as I listen, my heart sinks back into Itself, there’s a sense of the  sacred.  Not sure how this touching happens.  

I see you.  To have someone see us, really see us and to feel seen, reconnects us with the knowledge that we are One with. Awareness sees Awareness. Love knows Love. There’s a sort of remembrance that happens when we encounter another person who recognizes the truth of our being, especially when we may feel asleep to our true nature. Love will not be denied. I’m learning that whether it’s through ecstasy or agony or much more often the ordinary, life is rich with possibilities. The closer I stay to being true to who I am, the more luscious life is. A friend recently said to me, “I want you to be deliriously happy, and to radiate your enlightened love into the world.” I am loved.

The Sufi poet and mystic Rumi inspires us in Zero-Circle to “be helpless and dumbfounded”. Whereas, these traits in our contemporary society are sometimes shunned or considered a weakness, our poet invites us here. Come in, relax into places of unknowing and mystery. As we lean-in to this emptiness and the realization that we are not the do-ers, only then can we sink into the heart. We are Light and Shadow. Here in the wounds, we’re poised to let the Light in, through the cracks of not-knowing, humility, desire and longing. “Then a stretcher will come from grace to gather us up.”

“So let us not be sure of anything, besides ourselves, and only that, so miraculous beings come running to help.” I love this line! They’re already here. Fellow light travelers. My Lovers. Teachers. Consciousness. Dreams. Ourselves. Trees. Oceans. Love Itself…in myriads of color and forms. Oh, the freedom of living this life from the seat of Love. Before this week, I had never heard of Zero-Circle or my last blog The Layers. Another example of the synchronicity of the Universe. “I have walked through many lives, some of them my own, and I am not as I was, though some principle of being abides, from which I struggle not to stray…” I’m going to try and memorize both of these poems…good for the heart and soul…and morning commute!

What is a zero-circle…could it relate to that intuition there’s no longer an ending? Well, no worries…it’s all unfolding…

(The following is adapted from a fellow blogger.)
Have you encountered someone whose entire being seems to radiate a sort of profound kindness, that envelopes you and makes you feel wholly seen, deeply held and completely loved? When I am around them, I feel clever. Interesting. Attractive. Maybe even a little bit shy. They warm me. The truth of who I am is felt deeply and in their eyes I can do no wrong and that everything good in the world is possible.

I believe that person- who exudes love like a rare, intoxicating and exotic perfume – is what Rumi might deem a Mighty Kindness.

True Confession: I want to be like that. I want to be a Mighty Kindness. I want to see the world as full of possibility and hope and be a beacon of love that guides people home. Back to themselves. Back to the love that is born in the very marrow of their being. Back to truth.

Namaste

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The Layers

Thank you to Frank Hall for his deeply moving reciting of this poem at UU Westport church homecoming service this morning.  So emotional…touching the hopeful and sad places within. I’m grateful for the inspiration and sense of belonging I feel in this community. 

The LayersBY STANLEY KUNITZ

I have walked through many lives, 

some of them my own,

and I am not who I was,

though some principle of being

abides, from which I struggle

not to stray.

When I look behind,

as I am compelled to look

before I can gather strength

to proceed on my journey,

I see the milestones dwindling

toward the horizon

and the slow fires trailing

from the abandoned camp-sites,

over which scavenger angels

wheel on heavy wings.

Oh, I have made myself a tribe

out of my true affections,

and my tribe is scattered!

How shall the heart be reconciled

to its feast of losses?

In a rising wind

the manic dust of my friends,

those who fell along the way,

bitterly stings my face.

Yet I turn, I turn,

exulting somewhat,

with my will intact to go

wherever I need to go,

and every stone on the road

precious to me.

In my darkest night,

when the moon was covered

and I roamed through wreckage,

a nimbus-clouded voice

directed me:

“Live in the layers,

not on the litter.”

Though I lack the art

to decipher it,

no doubt the next chapter

in my book of transformations

is already written.

I am not done with my changes.

Love will not be denied

When all is said and done, Love is all there is. Everything else comes and goes – feelings, thoughts, perceptions, including voices that seem closer than close. People, not only acquaintances, neighbors, and strangers, but dear ones who nurture us, teach and inspire our courage – all come and go.   There is a finiteness to our identity as human beings.  Contemplating the mystery and synchronicity of how paths cross and how we find one another helps me know that our being and becoming, are the movement of grace.  But true freedom is knowing we carry a Consciousness that recognizes the impermanence of all things. Consciousness carries us, through death and back to life again.  I am that which remains unchanged, ever-lasting. That which is essential to who I am is Love.  My friend JK says “Love will not be denied.”

Last night I was hot and restless and awake in the wee hours. I was also unsettled with recurring thoughts, questions, a sense of detachment, feeling alone, worried about being judged by someone who is often unsympathetic.  Turned to check my email and came across a new daily meditation from Richard Rohr, an essay on “Faith as Participation”. He is a Catholic priest and teacher with great understanding of non-duality and Christ Consciousness.

He says to “live the faith of Christ…means we are all participating – with varying degrees of resistance and consent- in the faith journey that Jesus has already walked.” He goes on to say, “but once we know Jesus is the corporate stand in for everybody, we know we have already been taken on the ride through death and back to life. All we can do now is make what is objectively true fully conscious for us.”

Faith isn’t external to who I am. With faith,  I can withstand intense feelings and emotions. I can hold uncertainty and unanswered questions close without harm. This is an experience of being “hollowed”, yet never alone. Fully saying yes to all of experience is living the Oneness of Christ Consciousness. Freedom is living the truth of who I am. Freedom is our birthright. Love will not be denied.

There’s a crossing over happening. A self-remembrance, experienced in my mind and body. Sometimes I can’t find the words to express what this is like.  So I borrow from others that speak of it poignantly, poetically or practically.  Poems lead me Home.  Teachers help me to know myself, to know the truth. I am blessed and have deep gratitude for those who light the path; who gently turn me back towards myself. As I deepen and embody the truth of who I am, there is a serenity that flows through me. Love will not be denied.

It’s becoming easier to surrender anxiety and confusion and concerns that take me away from right now. There’s plenty of space within for the questions, the not-knowing.  Patience. 

Rohr writes: “God refuses to be known intellectually. God can only be loved and known in the act of love; God can only be experienced in communion. This is why Jesus “commands” us to move toward love and fully abide there. Love is like a living organism, an active force-field upon which we can rely, from which we can draw, and which we can allow to pass through us.”

“Do not search for the answer.
It will find you in the perfect moment,
when your defences are down.
It knows where you live.

Befriend the question itself.
Fall into the wonderful not-knowing…

Know that your true Home
is where you are.” -Jeff Foster

Love shall not be denied. Rest here.

Today

“…celebrate your survival,
open your senses
to the mysterious communion of life
right where you are…” -Jack Kornfield

Today, live from your truth.
Recognize the abundance
coming into your home this week.
The sacred journey has no destination.
Simply say yes to now.

The divine spark welcomes
Longing and Love.
Who do you say that I am?
Let your heart rest in the
mysterious communion of life.

Abide knowingly as this.

-mjs

A passage

Mother Wisdom Speaks – a poem by Christine Lore Weber

Some of you I will hollow out.

I will make you a cave.

I will carve you so deep the stars will shine in your darkness.

You will be a bowl.

You will be the cup in the rock collecting rain.

I will hollow you with knives.

I will not do this to make you clean.

I will not do this to make you pure

You are clean already.

You are pure already.

I will do this because the world needs the hollowness of you.

I will do this for the space that you will be.

I will do this because you must be large.

A passage.

People will find their way through you.

A bowl.

People will eat from you.

And their hunger will not weaken them to death.

A cup to catch the sacred rain.

My daughter, do not cry.

Do not be afraid.

Nothing you need will be lost.

I am shaping you.

I am making you ready.

Light will flow in your hollowing.

You will be filled with light.

Your bones will shine.

The round open center of you will be radiant.

I will call you brilliant one.

I will call you daughter who is wide.

I will call you transformed.
 
On the occasion of my birthday and  in honor of the people in my life who have mothered me, thank you for being a light and illuminating the way.  

Crossing over, suspended in the timeless, placeless space. Journey of my soul?   This emptiness, nurtures humility and wisdom, the soft spot of bodhicitta. Here I am home. Never alone. 

Little duck

The Little Duck    by Donald Babcock, 1947

Now we’re ready to look at something pretty special.
It is a duck,
riding the ocean a hundred feet beyond the surf.
No it isn’t a gull.
A gull always has a raucous touch about him.
This is some sort of duck,
and he cuddles in the swells.

He isn’t cold,
and he is thinking things over.
There is a big heaving in the Atlantic,
and he is a part of it.

He looks a bit like a mandarin,
or the Lord Buddha meditating under the Bo tree.

But he has hardly enough above the eyes
to be a philosopher.
He has poise, however,
which is what philosophers must have.

He can rest while the Atlantic heaves,
because he rests in the Atlantic.

Probably he doesn’t know how large the ocean is.
And neither do you.
But he realizes it.

And what does he do, I ask you?
He sits down in it!
He reposes in the immediate as if it were infinity
– which it is.
He has made himself a part of the boundless
by easing himself into just where it touches him.

I like the duck.
He doesn’t know much,
but he’s got religion.

A friend recently sent me this poem that he read during a community poetry forum in Norwalk, CT.  It moves me.

I’ve been wondering more lately about the place where we feel our humanity and divinity; a core place inside, where these touch.   It seems that the more deeply I engage in life,  leaning-in to the “gloriousness and wretchedness” (Pema Chodron), I meet that which is boundless.

Easter nears.  I wonder if we are each destined to live the resurrection – in our own skin, in our own bodies.  My journey is an Easter story and yours too.  I am a miracle or is the miracle in me?  Oneness isn’t about moments of bliss or feeling good all the time.  These experiences come and go.  What does one call That which never changes and is ever present?   Living fully awake leads me here.   This space kindles a gentle, open-hearted quality in relationships and how I perceive day to day.   In the stillness, there are so many questions, but these are all ok too.   No need to rush to having answers.  My heart knows that only Grace can account for all of this.

As for the little duck, this poem is an Easter meditation of the Messiah rising in each of our lives.  Contemplating this makes me smile.  We are each effortlessly and intimately positioned to rejoin the “boundless”, exactly where we are.