Holy Shit! I'm going to die! Like a tree, I'm going to fall! This is an absolute certainty! Ah, but so are you! Hah! Not one of us is going to get out of our life alive!
With awareness of that certainty, isn't the most important question then, how am we going to live? The best-selling poet in the United States, for years now, is a MUSLIM: or rather, a dead Muslim (he too fell like a tree). Rumi was a scholar and teacher, known by one and all in his adopted city of Konya, as a brilliant religious leader... that is, until he came under the influence of a wandering Sufi Dervish, a man by the name of "Shams of Tabriz"... Rumi gave up his good name to follow one whom he believed could reveal to him the Face of God...
After the death of Shams, Rumi completely surrendered his mind, heart, and soul to the longing that filled his heart: a longing for the bliss of Oneness with the Divine Beloved: but here's the thing, Rumi came to see the Beloved in every person he met, in the creatures, and all about in nature: in short, he came to understand that true and lasting wisdom was precisely within every existent being and thing: and he sang, and whirled in ecstasy, and taught any who would listen, and cherished his friends, and made love to his wife: and the poetry that flowed from his mouth is still manifesting Light upon this precious blue Planet...
Why is this important? How does this relate to my (our) certainty of death? The point of acknowledging our mortality is really about committing to living now! Confronted with the certitude of death, we have the gift and grace of deciding how we are going to live in the moments or days remaining to us. Especially right now: there are those who give their days over to inflicting suffering and terror upon others: there are those who attempt to gin up fear to their political advantage: there are those who profit from the guns, bullets, and explosives used by terrorists: and there are nation-states who think it in their interest to cultivate hate, distrust, and violence... And there are those who choose to forget the Sacred Teachings of their Prophets and who succumb to fear and hate and offer only an eye for an eye as the most sacred of all religious teachings and doings...
We have before us an absolute reality: death and life. And we have the power of our choice: which do we choose? Every breath of ours is as sacred as it's going to get: with this breath, do we choose compassion or hate? Do we choose mercy or fear? Do we choose justice or exploitation? Do we choose equality and hope or inequality and separation? Do we choose the voices of privilege and profit and power, or do we choose instead to seek out and listen to the voices of kindness and cooperation and our essential human dignity? In the certainty of death, it is precisely in how we choose to think, speak, and act that is the meaning of our life... If we, like Rumi, choose to attune ourselves to Oneness and sing and dance and write poetry and make love and create just communities: then all will be well, and all manner of things very well indeed...
Holy holy holy! We are alive with the rip-roaring opportunity to expand our love into endless circles of bliss and justice: holy shit! I'm going to live! Like a bird, I'm going to soar!
Robert Daniel Smith was privileged to serve the homeless and marginalized for 30 years in Salinas, California. Together with his wife, Michelle, they founded an intentional community called the 'Companions of the Way', also in Salinas. Robert and Michelle are community organizers, Catholic Worker renegades, sacred activists, writers, poets, artists, Divine Mother devotees, and practitioners of Kriya Yoga as taught by Rev. Ellen Grace O'Brian of the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment. Michelle is also a Montessori public school teacher. Robert is also an ordained Interfaith Minister.