*Brian Wilcox. 'A Path in the Wood'.
i have become a lover to my beloved
i am your cup to be filled
empty I wait
waiting, lingering, in this dark night
for you to appear
praying with the heart, not tongue
i cannot sleep
the windows of my being open
for my beloved's return
fill me, fill me with yourself
the heart cries, pining alone
fill me, fill me to the brim
fill me, overflowing, so others may drink
and be filled too
filled with you
for you are the love i adore
and the love is you i praise
and the loving is you i love
and only you satisfy the heart
awakened by the remembrance of
Love's union with Love
yes, i have again become the lover
yes, i am your lover
you are mine, i belong to you
you entered my room
filled me with the Wine of Love
made us one who were two
i your gladdened captive
home again in your arms
and you, my beloved,
flowing like blood through my veins
caressing me like the Sun does the tree
you, my vision
to see everywhere
to open my heart to your world
to love by love, by you
my beloved, you who have poured yourself into me
now pour yourself from me
and ever-fill my heart with your grace
*Brian Wilcox. 'To love by love, by you.'
That soul has now delivered itself into His hands and His great love has so subdued it that it neither knows nor desires anything save that God shall do with it what He wills.
*St. Teresa of Avila. Collected Works.
* * *
The Sage would caution those who would come to his talks that spiritual growth could easily become a selfish self-focus, a spiritualized navel-gazing. At times, he would speak of a flower serving the world by its beauty and scent, the flower by being a flower giving itself. He often said, "Be like the bud of a flower, invite the Sun to open your heart outward to the World."
One day, he told the following tale...
The abbot assigned a monk to take food remaining from meals to the poor, who would wait outside the refectory. The monk would go to feed the poor when he heard the call for him.
For many years the monk had longed for a vision of Christ. This day, while waiting to go to the refectory, he prayed silently in the chapel, as was his custom after mealtime. Suddenly, he saw a vision of Christ before him. When recovered from the shock, he was filled with joy and gazed in delight upon this epiphany. But he soon heard the call for him to go and feed the poor.
The monk did not know what to do. Here, he was gazing upon the Christ, who had come to him. There, the poor were waiting for food. Also, he knew his sacred duty was to feed the poor, a commitment he had made to the community.
The monk went to feed the poor. He gathered the food, fed them, and returned to the chapel.
Upon entering the chapel, he knelt, closed eyes, and prayed quietly. He was saddened that he had not enjoyed more time with the vision. Then, opening eyes, the vision was present. He was elated, saying, "You're still here!" "Yes," spoke the Christ, "but I would not be if you had not left to feed the poor."
* * *
In Christian spirituality, each Christian is Christ loving and serving others, while the one being loved and served is Christ. Christ serves Christ. In Buddhism, each Buddhist is the Buddha having compassion for the suffering one, even as the suffering one is the Buddha. The Buddha serves the Buddha. To serve and love anyone is to serve and love yourself.
We grow spiritually, to be more caring of others. As our heart opens more and more, like that flower bud opening, or the flower petals unfurling, we become more compassionate, generous, and kind.
This altruism is not something that arises from our self-efforts. A favorite scripture of mine from the Christian Bible reads, "By love, serve one another." "By" speaks of the means of serving others. Love loves, meaning love serves ~ that simple.
* * *
Serving others is not only about helping those in dire need or dependent on us in some way. We can serve by small acts of kindness daily. To be kind is to serve.
I enjoy going to the bank. A teller and I have grown in friendliness to each other. She served me as a teller when I arrived from Florida to Maine over 18 months ago. When I am in the bank, we talk about more than the business I came for. We have shared joy and sadness, hopes and hurts. We often joke and laugh together. When I enter the bank, she calls my name and expresses pleasure in seeing me. I smile too, for I am glad to see her. To me, she is a teller who has become a friend. I feel more than a customer. I sense she feels I treat her as more than a teller.
Yes, being kind is a way that by Love we serve others. Love reaches out through us and touches the heart of the other. Yes, serving is this simple. Serving others is as natural as breathing, eating, or laughing. Without serving, we close in on ourselves, we lose ourselves. We become empty to be filled, we keep becoming empty to keep being filled: this is the Way of the spirit-of-Things, the Beloved. In giving ourselves, we find ourselves. By loving, Love grows. In our life being puored out, our life increases.
So, being emptied and filled happens naturally and in harmony. We open ourselves to Love both to be emptied and be filled ~ this is one movement of Grace. Then, we do not go about with an agenda to serve or feeling some duty imposed on us to serve. Rather, we trust that the opportunities to serve will arise to us, in fact, they are all around us. We serve, and the want to to serve arises from the Grace resting in our heart, the heart-of-hearts.
(C)Brian Wilcox, 2020