Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Tred On Me

There are two books I have that are almost like Daily Devotionals, where there is one daily reading offered each morning for you to think about throughout the day. Besides the "thought of the day" aspect, I admit that the challenge of not reading ahead has always intrigued me. Why, even after years of doing this, am I so compelled to try and binge read the whole book? But, as hard as it is some mornings, I always force myself to put the book down after that day's reading, knowing that even this little exercise in self-control benefits me in many other areas of my life.

One of the two books is one I just bought this year: Coleman Barks' A Year with Rumi: Daily Readings. If you don't have it, i highly recommend it. But, don't hold me responsible if you get addicted to his interpretations of Rumi's words! If you ever wondered about how to define "beauty," his translations come about as close as you can get. Or is it just Rumi's words.....?

Today's reading was so simple, yet so direct. In a way, it reminded me of what could be the most famous haiku of all times — Matsuo Basho's Old Pond:

An old pond
A frog jumps in

Simple. Direct. No analysis needed to understand; a visceral understanding instantly appears as you read the words. Barks provides the same with this poem of Rumi's:

As you start to walk out on the way,
the way appears.

As you cease to be,
true life begins.

As you grow smaller,
this world cannot contain you.

You will be shown a being
that has no you in it.

For a great many people called to a Path, there is no clear and obvious understanding of why they are being called, what they are being called to, and why to one particular path. But, as Rumi tells us, for those courageous enough to follow their call, once you take those first anxious steps, the Way begins to make its appearance. As the anxiety begins to settle, as an enveloping sense of comfort settles in, the "what's" and "why's" naturally start to become obvious. You no longer wonder if this is a path you should follow, you begin to wonder what took so long to find the trailhead.

But, you can walk the path for a hundred years and still never understand it if you don't come to see the truth of what Rumi is saying. It's only as "you" start to fade away that Life truly begins to blossom. That "you" is the small egoic self that has ruled your life since shortly after birth. There is a direct correlation in these two things: As "you" diminish in size, "Life" grows larger and larger. It's easy to say, but to understand it, you have to see it directly. I can tell you what a splash of water sounds like, but to truly understand all you need to do is watch the frog jump in.

Does this mean that i become a zombie, brain dead to the world, and unable to function in normal society? Absolutely not; just the opposite. As Rumi says, the smaller "you" become, the larger you become — reaching even to the point that the world can not contain your greatness. The non-egoic you still functions, still shares coffee and lunch with friends, still celebrates birthdays, still has kids and raises families, but the being that lives this life is immensely more loving, more caring, more compassionate, more giving, more understanding, and more alive than that old troublesome egoic "you" ever was.

One warning, though. There is no end to this path if you chose to accept the calling. It turns out to be not so much a path as a jump off a cliff...into complete freedom.

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