One breath or a million without Your nearness, My Love, I remain dead.
* * *
As the river enters into the ocean, so my heart touches Thee.
* * *
I attended weekly an Episcopal worship meeting for a couple of months. Listening to the pastor's weekly messages, as one highly trained in public speaking and having taught speech in college to ministry students, I could only esteem his messages average as to secondary content. His delivery was, also, nothing remarkable. Yet, the primary content was superb, for it was love. I could see this man loving those present through the gift of words. I could sense, when he led worship and when I met him face-to-face, that this pastor was first not a man of the cloth, as male clergypersons are often called, but a man of Love. To me, that made all the difference, to know he offered his otherwise subpar talks filled with the excellence of Graciousness. In all that fills our lives, the secondary content, we miss what is most beautiful and most important, if love is not the primary content around which all else moves in lesser import. And love comes from Love. The devotional path provides a way for the heart to touch the Thee, in Kabir's words. And in touching the Thee, one is touched by the Thee ~ one Touching. Yet, any wisdom path can lead to the same Thee, only that the devotional personalizes the Truth the heart longs for and will not rest content until living with Grace in Intimacy, Heart-with-heart. This is the Sacred Marriage, our heart with the Heart. Can we truly be said to live, if we live not in union with this Lover, this Love?
* * *
You may be pious, indulging in your prayers but hurry, for home is far away. You may think you are spiritual indulging in ecstasy but a hundred caravans have passed you by and you are still fast asleep.
* * *
A spiritual seeker, wanting to gain insight into the mystical experience, visited the Sage, having heard of his reputation for holiness.
The seeker asked, “Sir, would you tell me of your visions?”
“I don't have visions."
Stunned, the seeker put forth, “Then please tell me of your trances.”
“I don't have any."
“So, tell me of the heavenly voices you hear.”
“I don't hear heavenly voices.”
“And what of your raptures?”
“I haven't had a single moment of rapture.”
The visitor, disappointed, said, "I came a long way thinking you had the gift of mystical experience, but now I see that you're not what I was told.”
“No, it seems I'm not what you were told.”
"Then before I leave, seeing I do sense something mysterious about you and you have a reputation for holiness, what can you share about yourself with me that makes you what you are?"
"I drink of the Wine that's before the vine."
The man was silent for a time, looking thoughtful, then questioned, "What's this wine you speak of? And where would I find it?"
"This Wine is Love, it's given to you when you enter the Heart-of-hearts."
"And what's this Heart-of-hearts?"
"Your heart will tell you."
"And what must I do when I get to the heart?"
"What you did to get to the heart: Surrender. Surrender is the only way into your heart, the Heart."
* * *
The Christian Scriptures has a saying, "Move close to the Divine, and the Divine will move close to you." This drawing near and drawing near is a single action. Within the Way is this flexibility of reciprocity, so relationship, while the reciprocity is timeless. The mutuality is a nonsequential movement. To say "I draw near" is to say "I am drawn near to." To say "I love" is to say "I am loved." The Way manifests invitation, welcome.
* * *
In Sufism, the Love of God is the Wine before the vine, the honey before the bee. In the Christian Scriptures is the teaching, "God is Love." To Sufis, God is the Heart-of-hearts. Our every expression of loving anyone or anything is Love being, Love creating newness, is God-among-us. Jesus, in being called Emmanuel, "God among us" or "with us," is a sign of the Way. We each can choose consciously to be signs of the Way too. To choose the Way is to choose Love, for one is chosen by Love to love.
* * *
So, while many persons seek a way of life or spirituality spectacular, the Sage askes us of the more subtle, quiet, and, in the usual sense of the word, unsensational way of Love, so of Presence. Yet, this Love is not literally-speaking un-sensational, for Life awakens more the senses, so this Love is wonderfully sensational. This is why when one feels this Love, the world around feels more alive, one's own body feels more vibrant. This is why lovers of Love are life-givers, not life-takers. Their very presence is an invitation to more deeply experience Life.
By returning to the Heart-of-hearts, in surrender to Life, so to Love, we are not less alive, we are more alive. We sense Life as something given to us through the experiences of our lives. Experience becomes sacramental. We find joy in the simplest of things and walk the Earth with peace. We relate in gentleness toward all beings.
* * *
Once, the Sage was asked, "I find it impossible to surrender to this you call Love. What am I to do to overcome this fear of surrender?"
Said the Sage, "Don't try to overcome. Surrender, surrender to the Love you're too afraid to surrender to?"
"How does that help?"
"Surrendering before you can surrender, Grace is given to surrender. So, surrendering to your inability to surrender, that is surrendering to this Grace. Grace makes it all possible, and Grace is Love."
"So, just surrender."
"Seems the only sensible thing to do; otherwise, you remain stuck in not-surrendering for you cannot surrender. Your life, then, is controlled by that 'not.' Drop the 'not.' 'Yes' to 'No' is 'Yes.' So, yes, why not?"
* * *
Video can be accessed on original site via upper left artist-title below...
(C)Brian Wilcox, 2020
Quotes: Kabir, from Rabindranath Tagore, Trans.. Songs of Kabir; Rumi, from Maryam Mafia, Azima Melita Kolin. Rumi's Little Book of Life.