Seeker: I've wasted so much time. I'm old now, my life nearing an end. I sometimes come to sit with you and listen to your teachings. I feel inspired, but go home feeling it's too late for me.
Sage: I'll tell you a story.
A fisherman goes out early in the morning to fish. It is still dark. His foot hits upon what seems like a sack. He picks it up. He opens it, and he feels what is inside. "Pebbles, interesting," he says. He takes the pebbles in his hand, one by one, fiddling with each, then throwing it out onto the waters. He listens to hear the plop, to see how far he threw it. When daylight dawns, he peeps into the sack. He finds three precious stones. While he is sad momentarily at having thrown away so many prized stones, he becomes cheered by the thought, "I've thrown most of them away. But I have three left."
* * *
Is it ever too late to turn toward the Light? Have we ever wasted too much time? The Light has gone nowhere. All the turning takes is one moment, one "Yes." What we call lost time is not all lost. That prepares us for yielding to Life.
We say "Yes" when we have been ripened to say "Yes." Otherwise, the "Yes" will not be a lasting "Yes." When speaking this ripened "Yes," the "Yes" already lives in us. This "Yes" arises from the Heart.
Waking up to the Spirit-of-Lives knows no age, no past, and no what we have done or not done. This waking up is the inspiration arising from Eternity.
* * *
Surrender to Grace comes into time, for the yielding already started outside time. No "Yes" to Life begins in time or personal consciousness. To say, "I feel a need for help," this is a token you are already posturing in the Shrine of the Heart.
Rumi, the Sufi, tells of this longing. For him, as with other Sufis, we were one in God before we were born. We long to return Home, just as the reed-flute longs to return to the reed-bed. Our pining is prayer.
Hearken to this Reed forlorn,
Breathing, even since 'twas torn
From its rushy bed, a strain
Of impassioned love and pain.
* * *
One comes to see the "Yes" to Grace is a "Yes" Life enables one to say. Saying "Yes" helps materilize that "Yes" in the body, to make it felt-real in the self.
John Bellers, an English Quaker (b. 1604), speaks of this enabled resignation:
Do thou enable us, O Lord, to prostrate ourselves in deep humility before Thee, with our wills subjected and resigned unto Thy holy will in all things.
* * *
A "Yes" to our Beloved is to affirm the harmony of All, that we each are part of All. This Life-Presence flows through all things, giving life to all things. We can live in a felt-separation from Home, yet we cannot be separate from Home. That of God cannot become that not of God. So, our longing for Home is God longing for God. And we can always, anywhere, turn toward the Light. Turning to the Light is welcoming the Light.
Ⓒ Brian Wilcox, 2020
*The selection from Rumi's "Song of the Reed," is from Reynold A. Nicholson, Trans. Rûmî: Poet and Mystic (1207-1273): Selections from His Writings.