Wednesday, 24 July 2013

The drop and the ocean

 "Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground."

I don't like what snails invariably want do to my garden, but I am quite fascinated by and respectful of them. I've learned that they re-trace their steps across, through, up and under obstacles and natural or manmade boundaries to return to their most fruitful habitat. You could relocate them in a wilderness five minutes walk from your backyard, but if they feel they're meant to be contentedly chomping their way through your lettuces, they'll do their darnedest to return. If this takes them several days over rocky ground or a busy road, so be it: for such tiny, fragile little messers, they are fearlessly determined, with a do-or-die attitude.
Although the snail is probably the slowest creature on earth, the species has survived for millions of years. Unable to hear at all, they rely on touch and an exceptionally sense of smell to follow their own path back to snail-happiness.
I suppose they're actually little mollusc travellers, their caravans on their backs. The same self-secreted track they follow "home" also enables them to repair wounds and regenerate cells. Elements of snail-trail have been used in some "wonder" anti-wrinkle creams; I shall be keeping to my Nivea, thank you.
I do believe that we humans carry "home" on the inside: and that God, Spirit and the universe if you will are within us all. If we open ourselves to our capabilities and have faith in ourselves and the love of a higher power, we can find our way over any rocky ground to realise our home. It may be the very house we were born in or hundreds of thousands of steps away from family and what should seem familiar to us. Each path will be different in the detail if not obviously in direction.
Faced with calamity in my working life again, my immediate reaction has been dismay and a weary "Why?" Yet truthfully, I haven't been content with what I've been doing and know I'm capable of doing more. Better the devil, drudgery or simply apathy you know? A comfort zone is often little more than a closed but otherwise unprotected box. And those nearest to us frequently have surprisingly strong, closed opinions when we change direction in life: it threatens the sense of familiarity and mutual status quo.
In particular, when we take a damaged soul under our wing, they can seem suddenly ruthless in their desperation to prevent us from altering our path; not yet willing to contemplate their own. For all their frailties and fractures, they can almost become bullying, although they have first-hand knowledge of the inexorable damage done by constant denial of purpose and the crushing of someone's spirit. Just like stepping on a hapless snail, however accidentally; with his disproportion tenacity and remarkable sense of direction destroyed by a single misplaced heavy step, he will die where you tread.
I've been reading a lot of Rumi, the 12th century Persian poet and mystic. I've found it comforting to absorb his themes of salvation through both romantic love and the love of God. Passion and divinity are intertwining vines in Rumi; his soul is both his conscience and his compass throughout life.
Today, Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī would be seen to be a Sunni Muslim, yet his writings are embraced as ecumenical in nature. He felt religion was a very personal experience and that the urge to reconnect with Spirit should be the pinnacle of life towards which everything moves. Ever conscious of it's divine origin, Rumi was passionate about preserving the dignity of life and honouring the truth of our paths and others: "The nation of Love has a different religion of all religions - for lovers, God alone is their religion."  His writing transcends ethnic and national borders: within the past five years, he's been described as the most popular poet in the United States.
Taking favourite lines from all over Rumi's teachings and poems, from different periods of his life, I've brought them together in my own personal affirmation; I find it as beautiful as any poem and as uplifting as prayer. Career paths and other trusted structures and channels through life may suddenly twist and turn menacingly or simply appear to fall away. Breathe deeply: your home is within you and the SATNAV in your ear may not be tinnitus or the onset of a psychotic disorder; it might just be your guardian angel.
"You are the drop, and the ocean.
You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop.
 Are you jealous of the ocean’s generosity?
Why would you refuse to give this joy to anyone?
Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.
The wound is the place where the Light enters you.
Suffering is a gift. In it is hidden mercy.
Sorrow prepares you for joy.
The moon stays bright when it doesn't avoid the night.
Where there is ruin, there is hope for a treasure. 
Maybe you are searching among the branches, for what only appears in the roots.
I searched for God and found only myself. I searched for myself and found only God.   Only from the heart can you touch the sky.
If you want to be more alive, love is the truest health.
Remember, the way you make love is the way God will be with you.
Dance in the middle of the fighting. Dance in your blood.
Reason is powerless in the expression of love.
Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames.
Judge the moth by the beauty of the candle.
Christian, Jew, Muslim, shaman, Zoroastrian, stone, ground, mountain, river; each has a secret way of being with the mystery, unique and not to be judged.
The fault is in the one who blames. Spirit sees nothing to criticize.
Spend less time with nightingales and peacocks.
One is all talk, the other only colour.
Look carefully around you and recognize
the luminosity of souls.
Sit beside those who draw you to that. 
You were born with wings, why prefer to crawl through life?
Birds make great sky-circles of their freedom.
How do they learn it?
They fall, and falling, they're given wings.
Try something different. Surrender.
Give up to grace.
Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment.
The ocean takes care of each wave 'til it gets to shore. You need more help than you know.
Wherever you are, and whatever you do, be in love.
Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.
Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion.
Be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder. Help someone's soul heal. Walk out of your house like a shepherd.
Don't be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.
Silence is the language of God, all else is poor translation.
No one can take your place in existence,
or in absence.  
Never will a lover's body be found buried in the earth.
To love is to be God.
Ask all from yourself.
The garden of the world has no limits, except in your mind.
Do not be lonely for you carry the whole universe within you.
But Love is the whole thing. We are only pieces.
Lovers don't finally meet somewhere. They're in each other all along.
Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.
My soul is from elsewhere, I'm sure of that, and I intend to end up there.
I didn't come here of my own accord, and I can't leave that way.
Whoever brought me here will have to take me home.
And still, after all this time, the Sun has never said to the Earth,
"You owe me."
Look what happens with love like that.
It lights up the sky.”

 "Home"  Gabrielle Aplin

 "Where there is ruin, there is hope for a treasure.”

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