March 11, 2009

Rumi Lifts Another Mirror

Your grief for what you’ve lost lifts a mirror
up to where you’re bravely working.
Expecting the worst, you look, and instead
here’s the joyful face you’ve been wanting to see.
Your hand opens and closes and opens and closes.
If it were always a fist or always stretched open,
you’d be paralyzed.
Your deepest presence is in every small contracting
and expanding,
the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated
as bird wings.


Rumi begin with the grief for what was lost - a phrase that surely gets my attention. But Rumi says that this grief lifts a mirror. I recognize this is an amazing truth, a beautiful and enlarging insight. This mirror shows us where we are working, bravely working. Things look their worst in grief. And yet, there in the dark bitterness is the kindness of a friend, a lily in bloom, the soft satin of the blanket's edge. These signs work on me, and in my imaginings I connect with the essence of God; it is a fleeting feeling of being held, a feeling of hopefulness and of greatness enveloping me. I feel my sad, dragging, crying, loathsome self begin to soften, to look, to open to this light, and to the warmth of connection. I stretch my hand/heart open, just a little at first, then close again. Then, feeling a soft breeze upon my face, move to open again. I expand, and then contract, and somewhere within this slight movement is where I settle, balanced in a faint flutter.

March 7, 2009

Sweet Darkness

When your eyes are tired
the world is tired also.

When your vision has gone
no part of the world can find you.

Time to go into the dark
where the night has eyes
to recognize its own.

There you can be sure
you are not beyond love.

The dark will be your womb

The night will give you a horizon
further than you can see.

You must learn one thing,
The world was made to be free in.

Give up all the other worlds
except the one to which you belong.

Sometimes it takes darkness and
the sweet confinement of your
aloneness to learn

anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive

is too small for you.

by David Whyte
From "The House of Belonging"