Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Stillness of The Garden

I really am a creature of habit, there's no denying it. Why is it that whenever i'm feeling lost i immediately run for cover in Anthony de Mello, Rumi, and Daido Loori? You'd think that i would have branched out over the years, but for some reason i don't; i always seem to run to the same trees to look for a hiding place and answers.

I've probably watched this Rumi clip on YouTube more times this week than i can count.

The last line of the video always reminds me of the "Prayer" chapter of Kahlil Gibran's book, The Prophet, particularly the lines: "I can not teach you how to pray in words. God listens not to your words save when He himself utters them through your lips." When there is You and God, nothing can be heard, nothing can be listened to. It is only when we realize that it is God, saying the prayer himself. through that bag of skin we call ourselves, that anything can really be said, that anything can really be heard.

But these lines from the same chapter are just as good: "[I]f you should enter the temple for no other purpose than asking you shall not receive. And if you should enter into it to humble yourself you shall not be lifted. Or even if you should enter into it to beg for the good of others you shall not be heard. It is enough that you enter the temple invisible."

"I am bewildered by the magnificence of your beauty and wish to see you with a hundred eyes." It's when you get to this state that you understand how to "enter the temple invisible." It's what i think Daido would mean about being intimate with your practice, being intimate with the prayer, being intimate with the temple. When you are invisible, when there is no separation between you and that magnificence, when there is no You there, when there is just the prayer, just the temple, just the visit, there is intimacy. And, that's when you can say "Today i've seen the charm, the beauty, the unfathomable grace of the face that i was looking for."

I've probably also read this Anthony de Mello excerpt just as many times.

The Slave Girl

A Moslem King fell passionately in love with a slave girl and had her transferred from the slave quarters to the palace. He planned to marry her and make her his favourite wife but, mysteriously, the girl fell seriously ill on the very day she entered the palace.

She grew steadily worse. Every known remedy was given her, to no avail; She hovered between life and death.

In despair the King made on offer of half his kingdom to anyone who would cure her. But who would attempt to cure an illness that had baffled the best physicians of the realm?

Finally a hakim appeared who asked to be allowed to see the girl alone. After he had spoken with her for an hour he appeared before the throne of the King who anxiously awaited his verdict.

"Your Majesty," said the hakim. "I do indeed have an infallible cure for the girl. And so sure am I of its effectiveness that were it not to work, I should willingly offer myself to be beheaded. The medicine I propose, however, will prove to be an extremely painful one—not for the girl, but for you."

"Mention the medicine," shouted the King. "And it shall be given her, no matter the cost."

The hakim looked at the King with compassion and said, "The girl is in love with one of your servants. Give her permission to marry him and she will be instantly cured."

Poor King! He wanted the girl too much to let her go. He loved her too much to let her die.

Ahhh.... should remind us of our love affair with our egos? Our egos are in love with our servants: our eye perceptions, our ear perceptions, our nose, tongue, body, and mind perceptions. Our egos are in love with all that serves our daily dualistic lives. We love them too much to let them go; we love them too much to let them die. So we waffle. We learn, we practice, we search, we beseech, we do anything except the only thing that can save us: letting it go. Giving ourselves freedom. Giving it the freedom to breath new life into us.

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