Monday, December 20, 2010

Hunting Invisible Game

I didn't know that Rumi was a game hunter, did you? Interesting.

Little by little, wean yourself.

This is the gist of what I have to say.

From an embryo, whose nourishment comes in the blood,

move to an infant drinking milk,
to a child on solid food,
to a searcher after wisdom,
to a hunter of more invisible game.

Think how it is to have a conversation with an embryo.
You might say, "The world outside is vast and intricate.
There are wheat fields and mountain passes, and orchards in bloom.

At night there are millions of galaxies,and in sunlight
the beauty of friends dancing at a wedding."

You ask the embryo why he, or she, stays cooped up
in the dark with eyes closed.

Listen to the answer.

There is no "other world."
I only know what I've experienced.
You must be hallucinating.

Translated by Coleman Barks
In A Book of Luminous Things: An International Anthology of Poetry

There are, really, only two requirements for those who accept this journey to truth: One, you have to ask a question, and two, you have to listen to an answer. The question, though, isn't the same for everyone — not all have matured to the same level.

Many get so proficient at tracking and snaring "wisdom," that they never learn there is more nutritious game out there to be found. This "wisdom" that they find so easy to snare not only fills their bellies, but the bellies of everyone they share it with, and they become local heroes of sorts. For the weakest of the seekers, being a hero is too prestigious to pass up and they spend the rest of their lives hunting nothing more than that small game, wisdom. No, for these people the search is over; frozen forever.

But for the strongest, those with healthy eyes, a healthy intuition, and an unquenchable need to catch that most elusive of game, wisdom will never be enough. No amount of fame or prestige can keep them from continuing, from attempting to track a higher game. And for this hunt extraordinary skill is needed because the prey is invisible. Invisible not because it is "out there" but unseen, not because it is "in here" but unseeable — no, it is invisible because it doesn't exist. It IS, most definitely, but it doesn't exist.

We can conjure up images of entire fields of daisies, entire mountain ranges of blossoming cherry blossom trees; we can conjure up images of billions and billions of unimaginably beautiful galaxies, or of friendship and love so sublime that just the thought of it would take your breath away. But conjure as you will, it is still impossible to imagine the world where the ultimate prey wanders freely.

Just because you can't see it, though, just because others tell you that you're searching in vain, doesn't mean it isn't there. Wean yourself off anything you have ever heard, ever been told, ever believed. Wean yourself off everything and search. Persevere. Ask questions. Again. Again. Again and again. And listen, quietly, patiently, sincerely, openly.

When you learn to sit silently, you will hear it's footsteps and catch a glimpse.

When you learn to track silently, without moving a step, you will be able to grab hold.

When you learn to hold silently and with an open hand, it is yours to lead home.

This is the prey the wise seekers track. And even if they never eat again, their bellies never go empty.

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