Light on the Path
We begin: "In the Name of the Holy One, Boundlessly Compassionate, Boundlessly Merciful... Beauty within Beauty within Beauty...
The Holy One speaks: "Come to me my Beloved, my Love, dearest one of my Heart. Come to me..."
We rest in these words, at-one with both the whirl of atoms and the spin of galaxies... everything has its being within this Call, "Come to me, my Beloved"...
This Sacred Mystery expands and deepens as the Call of the One, becomes the Call for the Many... The Holy One speaks: "Come to me my Beloved... and bring All the Others with you. Leave no one behind, for I would abandon no One --- and so you must bring everyone with you."
The whirl of atoms and the spin of galaxies become as a soup-ladle, lifted and poured out upon the Bread that is your Body, to likewise be lifted and given to the world, given to those who hunger for justice and who thirst for hope... everyone will find their safety, their health, and a joyous homecoming for their heart, lifted up by the wings of the Holy One, "Come to me, my Beloved... everyone is Wanted"...
Centered within this Holy Secret, relaxing into the pregnancy of breath, we breathe in "I love You" and we exhale "I thank You". We let that awareness deepen and expand to include our loved ones, our communities and regions, all living beings and all inanimate things, until our awareness has included this entire precious Planet. We let that awareness then receive the terrible weight of all suffering within our lives, within our loved ones, our communities, regions, all living beings and all inanimate things, until our awareness has included all suffering on this precious Planet. We breathe in "I love You" and we exhale "I bless You"... we breathe in "I love You" and we exhale "I will remember You"... we breathe in "I love You" and we exhale "I will give You reason to hope"...
Recite the Three Refuges: "I take refuge in the Holy One, I take refuge in Love, I take refuge in Service for Justice and Peace".
We take up the Mindfulness Trainings because in our moments of Awareness we know that we will forget... and in our frequent states of forgetfulness we need light on our path... we search out many sources and they are all true, deep, and good: Yeshua has stories and counsel, Rumi has poetry for the mid-night soul, Dorothy has a strong hand and a potato-peeler to share... Thich Nhat Hahn, our brother, suffered war and exile and the blessedness of return and teachings of peace --- from the once-napalmed forests, fields, and villages of Vietnam (napalmed by American planes and chemicals), came the liberating insight that we are all One, that with this precious Planet, we all exist in the steady state of "inter-being"...
Second Mindfulness Training:
Aware of the suffering caused by attachment to opinions and perceptions, we are determined to avoid being narrow minded as we learn to be open to others' insights and experiences.
We take a deep breath and pause... we remember that our chosen "sacred word" undergirding our marriage is gratitude. We nuzzle each other as we realize how our loneliness and separateness was transformed by our discovery of the other as our "self" -- in Love there is Only One and gratitude, gratitude, gratitude... our deeply personal realization suddenly expands into the sure knowing that this mindfulness training both compliments the First, and is also the seed-bed for the complete transformation that we seek... we want to focus our reflection upon two words: "other" and "unity"... so let's see where this goes...
But first another quick glance at headlines in the news: Bloomberg reports "Rich - Poor Divide widens in Developed World" (we digress into "He reports. And kicks out the Occupy Wall Street folks. Maybe because he likes the divide?) "School suspends some students linked to bullying suicide" and "Climate change will be good for Britain's growers". Aware of the suffering caused by attachment to opinions and perceptions...
There is a sufi story that goes something like this: a dervish left his favorite tavern in the dark of night for his walk home. Reaching into his pocket for his prayer beads, he fumbled them onto the ground. He spent some time on his hands and knees searching in the dark for them to no avail -- but looking up he saw a street light some distance away. He walked to the light, got down on his hands and knees again, and proceeded to search for his prayer beads. Meanwhile, a friend of his who likewise left the tavern for his walk home, approaches and asks if he can help. Both men are on their hands and knees searching for the prayer beads. Finally, the friend asks "Where did you drop the beads? They don't seem to be here." The dervish answers: "I dropped them way back down the road", to which his friend responds with, "You fool! If you dropped them back down the road, why are we on our hands and knees here?" The dervish answers: "Well, the light is much better over here..."
Another story: A volunteer showed up in the Soup Kitchen available to cook for a couple of days. He proceeds to cook a huge, righteous, pot of pasta for our two hundred or so guests. With his special garlic french bread and salad, we had a veritable feast! And then he does actually show up the next day to cook once more! We eagerly anticipate the day's meal. Ah, minestrone soup... a slew of fresh vegetables are chopped, beans are cooked on the side, small shell pasta is added at just the right time... the slow, deep, bubbling of cooking soup releases its sacred aroma into the waiting air... heads pop into the kitchen, and voices ask, "Hey, what's for lunch today? I've got a bag of cans for recycling, if I don't get back in time, would you save me some?" Then, about fifteen minutes till serving time, he pulls from the walk-in six gallons of mayonnaise, which he pours into the soup pot with as much pomp and circumstance as he dares under the shocked eyes of the assembled volunteers. Six gallons of mayo! "What the heck?" is everyone's startled question. He turns to face his accusers: "You've ruined the soup! Now what are we going to do?" He smirks and simply states: "Yesterday's gunk can become today's Unity." Unbeknownst to everyone, he had saved the liquid drained from yesterday's pasta. He'd saved the liquid in empty gallon mayo jars that he'd scrounged from our storeroom. The liquid had thickened over-night in the refrigerator and taken on the appearance and consistency of mayonnaise. "Waste not, want not". He was right. We were left speechless. And the soup was perfect, indeed!
Opinions-Perceptions-Attachments take the glorious colors of our lives and this world and shade them all gray. We will never find that which we are looking for if we are only willing to look "in the light" of our own opinions, perceptions, and attachments! We will never know all the possibilities the "soup of our lives" could become if we are unwilling to drop our opinions, perceptions, and attachments! The true colors of our lives and this world will bowl us over with their stunning beauty the minute we "recover our right mind"!
Away with words!
No... away with thoughts!
Let them all drop, like
The clothes you would shed
For one night with your dream.
Be like the moon, full
With only her lover's light. Trip!
And fall into a happy accident.
Empty your mind into adoration.
Sweat your bliss -- massage it
Through every pore, deep
Into your heart and soul...
"La Illaha, Il Allahu",
For this is the truth:
One is All there Is!
Opinions-Perceptions-Attachments: They'll only get us all more headlines like the ones highlighted above. Nothing will change, because our minds will remain the same! "If God lived on earth people would break his windows" (Sinead O'Connor). Of course that is true, but why? Well, just like Yeshua, if the Holy One were to come today striding through our lives, nation and world, She would shred all of our opinions, perceptions, and attachments because all they do is divide and separate us from love, gratitude, and One -- and we would be filled with such self-righteous resentment that we'd start looking for a way to get rid of Her... So long as 400 people have more wealth than the bottom three billion people, so long as even one drone missle is flying, so long as borders mean something other than pretty trees and rivers, we are supporting and perpetuating suffering.
So long as the vast majority of the 65,000 thoughts we have on any given day are negative and destructive, so long as we live in narrow-minded justifications, so long as we pay only lip-service to the demands of the times in which we live and refuse to surrender to One Love, we are supporting and perpetuating suffering... but there is a Way... paradise is possible: "Suppose it never, ever comes true, and there is no paradise... well, I'll still go on preaching. And yet how simple a matter it is: in one day, in one hour it could all be brought about at once! The chief thing is to love others as oneself, that's the main thing, and that's it -- absolutely nothing more is necessary: you would immediately discover how to bring it about" (Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Dream of a Ridiculous Man).
An Alternative Second Mindfulness Training:
Aware of the possibilities within gratitude and passion, I am determined to be expansive and delightful as I serve others and share in the mutual liberation of our dreams and visions for everyone on this precious blue Planet.
If the very fate of humanity and of this Planet depended upon your thoughts, words, actions, and example, how would you act, what would you do? What if you were to live everyday with as much passionate desire for social justice as a drowning man fights for air?
"We have reached a crossroads in human evolution where the only road which leads forward is towards a common passion. We must believe without reservation in the possibility and the necessary consequences of universal love." -- Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
"Truth is the orgasm of what is right." -- Alice Walker
"There is no such thing as military power; there is only military terrorism. There is no such thing as economic power; there is only economic exploitation." -- John Trudell
"If you are for real,
Risk everything for love.
If not -- get out of here!" -- Rumi
With love and December blessings,
Michelle and Robert
"In the Name of the Holy One, Boundlessly Compassionate, Boundlessly Merciful... Beauty within Beauty within Beauty..."
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.