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.
"Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I will meet you there." -- Rumi
There is a Sufi story that goes something like this: a dervish left his favorite café 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 but 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 was walking 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 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... a head pops into the Kitchen and we are asked, "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, our cook pulls from the walk-in six gallons of mayonnaise, which he empties 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." We were speechless: and the soup was perfect, indeed!
Opinions-Perceptions-Attachments take the 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 mystic-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 "change our mind"...
"If God lived on earth people would break his windows" (Sinead O'Connor). Why is this true? Well, just like Yeshua the Poet, if the Holy One were today to come 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 our essential condition of "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 85 of the world's richest have as much wealth as the "bottom" 3.5 billion people, so long as even one drone missile is wrecking its havoc, so long as borders mean something other than hedges, pretty trees, and rivers we are supporting and perpetuating suffering: all rooted in opinions, perceptions, and attachments...
So long as the vast majority of the 65,000 or so 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." -- Dostoevsky, The Dream of a Ridiculous Man
"Aware of the possibilities within gratitude and passion..." The transformation that we seek begins here: "I am determined to be expansive and delightful..." 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, equality, and liberation as a drowning man fights for air?
"If you are for real, risk everything for love. If not -- get out of here!" -- Rumi
This rose is for you: for your delight: for your inspiration: because your life is of infinite value (I know this!): so live great: give it away in Love, for Love, to become Love!
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.