I’m sure that there are times when we are all caused to pause and review where we have come from, where we are and where we think we are going in our lives. I have recently been at such a juncture. The first half of 2012 had some friends and a close family member pass away, and I have felt grief and sadness around this. But I’m also aware of a deep sense of gratitude, not only for what those special people brought into my life but also for the awareness I have been gifted with over the years of a greater design within which this is all happening. I’m glad to be able to acknowledge a larger context for my life and all the experiences that life has brought to these capacities of heart, mind and body.
There is no greater gift than having an awareness of one’s true identity and purpose and knowing that it is a part of the greater unfolding cosmic design. Once we have been introduced to that reality, the knowledge doesn’t go away. Things may happen in our lives that can obscure and cover up the truth and dim our assurance so that, at a conscious level, we forget who we really are, but there is that deeper part of us that can never forget again.
The poet Hafiz has a way of describing what happens when we do forget, and extends a playful but powerful invitation to return again to true self-awareness in this poem:
I Know the Way You Can Get
I know the way you can get
When you have not had a drink of Love:
Your face hardens,
Your sweet muscles cramp.
Children become concerned
About a strange look that appears in your eyes
Which even begins to worry your own mirror
Squirrels and birds sense your sadness
And call an important conference in a tall tree.
They decide which secret code to chant
To help your mind and soul.
Even angels fear that brand of madness
That arrays itself against the world
And throws sharp stones and spears into
And into one’s self.
O I know the way you can get
If you have not been drinking Love:
You might rip apart
Every sentence your friends and teachers say,
Looking for hidden clauses.
You might weigh every word on a scale
Like a dead fish.
You might pull out a ruler to measure
From every angle in your darkness
The beautiful dimensions of a heart you once
I know the way you can get
If you have not had a drink from Love’s
That is why all the Great Ones speak of
The vital need
To keep remembering God,
So you will come to know and see Him
As being so Playful
Just Wanting to help.
That is why Hafiz says:
Bring your cup near me.
For I am a sweet old vagabond
With an infinite leaking barrel of Light and Laughter and Truth
That the Beloved has tied to my back.
Dear ones, indeed,
Please bring your heart near me,
For all I care about
Is quenching your thirst for freedom!
All a Sane man can ever care about
Is giving Love!
(from I Heard God Laughing—Renderings of Hafiz/ translated by Daniel Ladinsky)
What is it that determines the nature of what we create in our lives and that is reflected in the world around us? It’s our state of consciousness. If we allow that consciousness to be dominated by a limited, distorted human nature because we have forgotten the reality of who we are, then our worlds will reflect a limited, distorted state too. A totally different world emerges when we bring our full cosmic stature into expression.
Hafiz speaks of the need to “keep remembering God.” If we do really remember the truth of the presence of God, then we remember who we are and what it is that’s ours to bring through the expression of that presence. The one I Am doesn’t forget but the capacities of mind and heart sometimes need reminding who and what they were created to express. The times when we gather together to consider these things are good opportunities to remind ourselves and each other to partake of the “infinite leaking barrel of Light and Laughter and Truth” that Hafiz describes. It seems so much easier and much more inviting when put like that!
The invitation we bring to our worlds does carry some urgency in these days. It is also one that is welcoming and inviting, that is clearly based in love. Awakening to the truth of Being is exciting and enlivening and irresistible. It is the greatest gift that we could offer.