November 29, 2005

Larry’s Lament

Recently Twyla echoed Larry's lament, "Where is this generation's Rumi?"

Where within us is this moment's Rumi? Where is the creative wellspring that Rumi dipped into? Where is that spirit bubbling up now? Surely it is not confined to some man or woman born a safe one or two thousand years ago? Those men and women are gone. They are of the past and longer exist. You are alive and carry the living fire. Look within to find the source of ecstasy that moved Rumi. It is here whole and complete, with nothing missing, patiently waiting for you to step out of your own way. Let go into it, allow it to emerge, and in the sacred act of psychological self-immolation burn for the Lover. Let go of preoccupation with the past. Move from searching for Rumi to burning yourself in the fire that consumes him. Many of our questions assume an external focus, an outward looking, salvific orientation. Where is this generation's Rumi if not in your searingly open heart, in the naked awareness that is taking in these letters on the screen before you now?

What if you stumbled upon this generation's Rumi? Would you recognize him? Or Jesus, would you recognize him? Would you recognize the man whose life Erik Reese described as "a combination of walking, eating with followers and social outcasts, preaching, fishing a little, telling stories that no one seemed to understand, and offering largely unsolicited diatribes against the powers that be. That is to say, the life of Jesus -- if unconventional -- was nevertheless ordinary enough. Thousands of homeless men and women do pretty much the same thing every day in this country." Would you recognize Kabir? Or do you prefer he and his poetry safely quarantined in a book?

When Being meets Itself in your naked heart you begin singing love songs to anyone who will listen, or to the wind, the sky and the stars. Then the search for Rumi will be over and you will be the One enthralling us with love's authentic fire. You realize with an intuitive certainty that this fire burns deeply, obscurely within you now. Otherwise how could you recognize the vibration of a Rumi or a Kabir, a Lao Tzu, Mirabai, Heraclitus, Basho, Blake, Yeats or Rilke, a Krishnamurti, Osho, Jesus, or Siddhartha, or a Meredith or Tommy for that matter? If we did not have that divinity, whole and complete within us, we would not recognize... there would be no resonance. Instead Rumi's creative expressions deeply resonate within us, like chords of deep music that move us to a place beyond our willful control. That resonance, those strings singing, reverberating in our Being, is the very wellspring he drank from. Drunk on this nectar, always and everywhere present, he showered love like an overfull rain cloud falling on a desert; he burned like Jesus, giving himself up as fuel for the holy fire, for illumination and warmth, and when the fuel was exhausted, he burned the ash and threw the dust into the open sky.

Would we want to commune with a living, flesh and blood Rumi? A Rumi freed from his hardback cage at Amazon.com or his low security incarceration on our coffee table? Perhaps, coming across a latter-day Rumi we might experience uneasiness, a fear or insecurity in the face of the man's too-full intimacy. We may feel uncomfortable, perhaps out-of-control; his vibrant presence challenging our beliefs and unquestioned assumptions. Just his presence may upset the applecart of our spiritual complacency. The genuine energy of transformation would certainly invite us to come out of the familiar, stuffy confines of our psychological cocoons, into a world of color and movement, of fresh air and light, of vitality and spontaneity, the world of a butterfly on the wing.

How would the modern mind receive a Jesus, Rumi, Buddha, Mirabai today -- a living invitation to contemporary, subversive communion? How might we receive an invitation to drown in the stream of divine intimacy, in a love flood swallowing the foundations of our self-identification, in a sacred tide beyond our will and control, undermining the exclusive dominion of ego fixation? Contemporary mind tends to respond with avoidance or aggression to that which shakes the foundation of identity, psychological survival and social-security. That's the tendency isn't it: fear or contempt of the unknown, repression of that which lies in shadow?

Where is this generation's Rumi? The modern-day Rumi may be well aware of the consequence of rising to the questions of his whereabouts, but he rises nonetheless. Overburdended with love, what can he do? He needs to share, and giving his most precious treasure he is grateful to us for receiving, for listening to his song, for allowing him to unburden his overflowing heart. While we may lack the vision to see his spirit, our Rumi's overcome enmity and contempt and sing for us on a daily basis. They die to themselves and rise again as the burning flame beside us everyday, loving and encouraging and nurturing us with the warmth of the Phoenix' fire.

Clearing your eyes of the trance of self with its want and fear, you will see Rumi - in the eyes of a child or a checker at the supermarket, in the animals and the trees, in music, poetry and dance, in the sun, the stars and the rain. But more important, you will see Rumi and the rest of your spiritual ancestors inside you. The whole courageous lineage is there burning. Seeing this flame you will begin burning from within and your light and warmth will carry to others. You may be dismissed as just an ordinary Tommy, or a common Meredith, but something will resonate in your friends and lovers, something deep, obscure, discomforting and enthralling, disillusioning and exhilarating. Questions may arise, "Where is this generation's Rumi? Where is the authentic song of Freedom? Where is God genuinely manifesting in modern life?” To your delight you realize the words are emerging from the lips of God, pretending to be Larry.

6 comments:

isaiah said...

"To your delight you realize the words are emerging from the lips of God, pretending to be Larry."

Sweet!

Akilesh, did Rumi know he was Rumi? Did he not think he was God pretending to be Rumi?

We must all must give up pretending- it is killing us, this waiting until we are sure! Rumi dances now before our eyes and in our mouths and we say, "perhaps."

Larry said...

A great sermon, passionately delivered, but it doesn't really address the intention of my 'lament'. Surely if God could speak through Balaam's ass, he speaks through all of us, and thank God for that.

But we live in a godless society for the most part. We are going rapidly to hell corporately, and as loudly as you or I may speak, it doesn't seem to altar our course.

We are 'workers in the vineyard', but there are not enough of us. "Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest."

The only thing that will save our country (and world) will be a spiritual revolution. Can you start one? Please do.

Akilesh said...

“Surely if God could speak through Balaam's ass, he speaks through all of us, and thank God for that.”

Larry, here is a poem for you:

St. Francis and the Sow

The bud
stands for all things,
even for those things that don't flower,
for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;
though sometimes it is necessary
to reteach a thing its loveliness
to put a hand on its brow
of the flower
and retell it in words and in touch
it is lovely
until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing;
as Saint Francis
put his hand on the creased forehead
of the sow, and told her in words and in touch
blessings of earth on the sow, and the sow
began remembering all down her thick length,
from the earthen snout all the way
through the fodder and slops to the spiritual curl of the tail,
from the hard spininess spiked out from the spine
down through the great broken heart
to the sheer blue milken dreaminess spurting and shuddering
from the fourteen teats into the fourteen mouths sucking and blowing beneath
them;
the long, perfect loveliness of sow.

~ Galway Kinnell

A spiritual revolution is possible, but it requires your willingness. Are you willing to reteach a thing its loveliness, to put a hand on its brow... and retell it in words and in touch it is lovely, until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing? Are you willing? The question is not rhetorical. Even in a godless society, are you willing? Even if it is only to a sow or a donkey, like St. Francis? The Italian society of his day was no less corrupt or godless or contemptuous of revolutionaries than ours. Are you willing to love unconditionally? Like St. Francis, are you willing to lower your self to the sow and whisper in her ear, telling her in words and in touch, the blessings of earth? For this is where true revolution begins: in the lowering of our selves to the blessings of earth. How otherwise would you be able to feel the great broken heart of sadness in the sow? How would you realize that brokenhearted sadness in your own chest? How otherwise would the hardened heart be crushed blessedly into awakening? Where else do we go to find the wellspring of compassion, if not into the dark earth of our own broken hearts?

isaiah said...

Larry, I hold firm to the belief that the highest act we can perform, the most loving thing we can do which will make the most difference in the world is to awaken to the truth of who we really are.

I have found that our laments are out master teachers- here is the lesson we are living.

Namaste

Twyla said...

Overwhelming. I've come back and read half a dozen times and still it overwhelms me. Your words, so rich, so passionate. So much truth. But, but...so hard to accept, really. In my ineptness, my frailty, my fearfulness. To come to a place like that which you speak of is my very strong desire.

I love the poem about St. Francis and the sow. I wept when first I read it several months ago. To be frank, Larry has been this St. Francis to my sow. Perhaps he might not be able to affirm this, but I can.

Thank you for much to consider.

ashley said...

Greetings,

"Many of our questions assume an external focus, an outward looking, salvific orientation"

I find great value in being aware of this rampant trend in society; the prevalence of people searching for external answers and needing external guidance and control. I think that it is important that we work with this energetic pull, using the momentum that is already present when inviting people into intimacy with their own true nature.

There are so many people that are hungry and are searching for answers... searching for the way. And they/we celebrate when resonance is felt... when a light shines and when harmony reverberates through our being. I agree with others that the spiritual revolution that Larry is asking for is all about embracing within, embracing our selves, and encouraging and supporting others in embracing within themselves "That resonance, those strings singing, reverberating in our Being".

Aki also said: "Perhaps, coming across a latter-day Rumi we might experience uneasiness, a fear or insecurity in the face of the man's too-full intimacy. We may feel uncomfortable, perhaps out-of-control; his vibrant presence challenging our beliefs and unquestioned assumptions. Just his presence may upset the applecart of our spiritual complacency."

A smile of recognition at these words... and an invitation illicited. What a great opportunity to look inside and become more intimate with our own experience when another human being pushes our buttons, illicits fear or insecurity, stretches our comfort zone, challenges our beliefs, or highlights our assumptions, upsetting the applecart of spiritual complacency.

Imagine if rather than running away, we embraced the immediacy of our own experience... luscious lucid dreaming!!!

with love,