Sorrow prepares you for joy. It violently sweeps everything out of your house, so that new joy can find space to enter. It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart, so that fresh, green leaves can grow in their place. It pulls up the rotten roots, so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow. Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take their place.
Whatever God gives you, be content. At the very moment you become content in affliction, the door of paradise will open.
I find that too, although I would use a bit more sober wording for myself. This morning, I noticed discomfort in me, in my belly and chest area, a sense of unease, fear. Gently and quietly, I opened to it, met it, welcomed it as a friend, a lover. And it shifted. It was no longer something that the labels discomfort, unease, fear fitted. It was no longer discomfort, unease, fear.
There are many facets or layers to this.
One is to meet it, be with it, welcome it as a friend, stay with it. I can ask myself can I be with this? Is it true it’s not already allowed, already welcomed? Is it true it needs to change?
Another is to notice it shifting, changing, and staying with it, with curiosity, interest.
Another is to listen to it, let it speak to me, perhaps wordlessly, be open to what it has to show me.
Another is to let it speak to me in images and words, let it reveal the fears behind it to me, identify these fears and take them to inquiry.
Another is to explore it all in the sense fields. Where and how does the discomfort, unease, fear show up in sensations? How does it show up in images? Where and how does the me or I relating to it show up in sensations? In images? What’s the “substance” of these sensations, these images? Is it true it’s solid? Is it true it’s lasting? Is it all ephemeral? Consciousness itself?
Another is to notice that in my mind, the unease, discomfort and fear is an image, the I or me is an image, and how this I or me relates to the unease is an image. If there is battle and struggle, that happens among images. If there is peace and welcoming, that happens within the world of images. And all of this happens within and as what is, what “I” am.
And a final facet of this is to notice any impulse to want my experience to change, go away, for it to shift into something “I” desire. Is it true, I need it to change? Is it true, it would be better if it changed? Is it true, another experience is better – for me, others, the world? Is it true, I know what’s best for me? How would it be if it never changed? Could I still find peace with it, welcome it, meet it as a friend, a lover?
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
…. this is the principle: To deem oneself exalted is to claim copartnership with God. As long as you have not died and become living through Him, you are a rebel seeking a realm for your copartnership.
– Rumi, Mathnawi IV 2763-67. [In Chittick’s The Sufi Path of Love, p. 183]
This pointer is the homework for our CSS group this week, and also the section of the reading that most speaks to what is going on for me these days.
I recognize this here and now. “All” is recognized as God, awakeness, form with no substance. And yet, there is also a sense of a separate I here as a doer and observer. Sometimes, it is taken as more real and substantial. And when attention is brought to it, it is recognized as the same as everything else: Content of awareness. Awakeness itself. Form with no substance.
Taking this separate I gestalt as real is to set it up as a copartner with God, and when it is taken as real it is identified with and taken as what I am, so “I” then appear as a copartner with God. Since it is a lie, it is a precarious situation, and it generates friction which invites attention and questions, which in turn may allow this to be recognized as it happens. (Friction between “my will” – stories of shoulds, and “God’s will” – stories of what is.)
When there is this copartnership, there may be a sense of being one with God, a separate I (as doer and/or observer) one with God. And when the separate I gestalts are recognized as they happen, there may be a shift into oneness, God as all including any gestalts temporarily appearing.