by Khalil Gibran
At the city gate and by your fireside I have seen you prostrate yourself and worship your own freedom,
Even as slaves humble themselves before a tyrant and praise him though he slays them.
Ay, in the grove of the temple and in the shadow of the citadel I have seen the freest among you wear their freedom as a yoke and a handcuff.
And my heart bled within me; for you can only be free when even the desire of seeking freedom becomes a harness to you, and when you cease to speak of freedom as a goal and a fulfilment.
You shall be free indeed when your days are not without a care nor your nights without a want and a grief,
But rather when these things girdle your life and yet you rise above them naked and unbound.
And how shall you rise beyond your days and nights unless you break the chains which you at the dawn of your understanding have fastened around your noon hour?
In truth that which you call freedom is the strongest of these chains, though its links glitter in the sun and dazzle your eyes.
And what is it but fragments of your own self you would discard that you may become free?
If it is an unjust law you would abolish, that law was written with your own hand upon your own forehead.
You cannot erase it by burning your law books nor by washing the foreheads of your judges, though you pour the sea upon them.
And if it is a despot you would dethrone, see first that his throne erected within you is destroyed.
For how can a tyrant rule the free and the proud, but for a tyranny in their own freedom and a shame in their own pride?
And if it is a care you would cast off, that care has been chosen by you rather than imposed upon you.
And if it is a fear you would dispel, the seat of that fear is in your heart and not in the hand of the feared.
Verily all things move within your being in constant half embrace, the desired and the dreaded, the repugnant and the cherished, the pursued and that which you would escape.
These things move within you as lights and shadows in pairs that cling.
And when the shadow fades and is no more, the light that lingers becomes a shadow to another light.
And thus your freedom when it loses its fetters becomes itself the fetter of a greater freedom.
Reflecting on the path of love. This path is not what most people think. On the path of love, you notice your longings, tensions and frustrations are simply your ego choosing something other than love. This is not an easy path to take. Though it is simple, it can feel like dying. When I feel such a tremendous desire arising within me that it feels painful, rather than run and hide, I ride this pain as if it was a wave of energy and I am the surfer. I immerse my mind into it, and experience it as fully as possible. I release it into my higher place of love. What is left is peace. Infinite, deep, and expansive peace.
This is a Shel Silverstein Poem.
Once again, I am a student of love. I am learning about the source of love and the acts of love. Being connected to the love within does not guarantee that it will automatically be manifested in my life and relationships or my life and myself.
I have spent many months going within, conserving my energy to heal my body then healing my heart, and now seeing that withdrawing from life may have been the right thing to do for a time, but it’s no longer the right thing to do.
For now, the thing I am learning to do is to work from my connection with my self. I clearly do want people in my life to love and to love me and I’m learning how to have these connections be the highest expression of Self. My interactions with others are a reflection of my interactions with myself.
still practicing, still learning
From The Logic of Love, by Swami Chetanananda
“In an atmosphere free of desire, free of motive, and free of purpose, we are established in love. Established in that experience of love, the most difficult giving we ever have to do turns into an incredible joy and a great expansion. We find that the hardest things we ever have to give up become things which only increase us. This is the logic of paradox and the nature of love. It is what happens when we learn to open our hearts.”
I find that the hardest thing for me to give up is my point of view of how things should be and how it’s all supposed to work out. I find also that everytime I allow myself to surrender this “should be”, that a greater awareness and opportunity opens up.
I didn’t know before how to go about marriage for example or how to be a parent after the kids are grown. Marriage in my old way of thinking doesn’t work for most people and I’ve seen that marriages either slowly kill off hopes and dreams, end abruptly or in rare and beautiful cases get recreated, freed up and both spouses become or are Self expressed while remaining married. Then you see the real magical spark of love that inspires others.
I am excited about that possibility and just as excited about how that impacts everyone In my life, including my grown children.
You see, there is no either/or in a created life, there is just freedom, joy, beauty and love.
And I do not know yet what that will look like. If i knew, I might worry because giving up what “should be” has been a painful growing process so far. So I am trying to get used to this “one day at a time” thing.
My friend Mita sent me a message yesterday that she had received a fruit blessing for me from the Hindu temple. She said let me know when you can come get it. She is a very dear friend and we call each other sisters. When I went to her home and she handed me the fruit, she told me the story of how she got it.
A priest had just finished with a group of devotees and waved Mita over to him. He handed her two pieces of fruit. She knew at that moment that one was for me. I gratefully accepted the fruit blessing from her and drove home. It wasn’t until later that I realized that I had not asked her which Hindu god the priest represented.
She sent me the name and a link to where I could read about this deity. I knew that there was a message in this blessing for me somewhere, so I eagerly looked it up. Here is what I gleaned from it:
Dattatreya – he is trinity, combined form of lord Brhama (creator), Vishnu (sustainer) and Shiva (destroyer)
more from Wikipedia:
“Those who had recognized her to be the energy of Dattatreya, obtained the true vision of the Lord and could transcend all sorrows. In other words, because of her their sorrows (Agha or sin and sorrow) disappeared. This was another reason why Dattatreya named her as Anagha (one who removes sorrows).
Etymologically, the word Agha means that which comes to the experience of the doer (kartaaram anghaati iti agham. Aghi gatow). He who thinks that he is the doer, will experience pain and pleasure. According to vedantic view, even the worldly pleasure, is in fact pain. Thus, one who thinks oneself to be the doer is always suffering. That energy which removes the feeling of doership is Anagha.”
Once again, I am told by a beautiful coincidence that I am not the doer, that suffering is caused by believing that. Once again it is time to surrender to the higher power/god/goddess.
Today if you experience pain or pleasure, remember who to thank for it – you are not the doer.
Spiritual teachings tell us that we are really whole, complete and perfect right now. It is our mind and perceptions that see things as otherwise within ourselves and others.
I am learning to find this within myself. I have been given the greatest challenge of my life – to learn to love myself and love others without conditions. I have learned that those whom I love the most are those whom I have been the most judgmental towards. That with great love comes the possibility of great fear. And that by grasping and trying to hold on to something precious, I will lose it.
My soul is now striving to speak to me and rise above all of that petty grasping and holding. I am trying to heal my broken heart and focus on nurturing my wounded psyche. How can this happen if I hold on to the past? It is not possible. I do not know what letting go will lead me into. I do not know what the future holds for me. At first, this was scarey, but now, I am beginning to glimpse a possibility of allowing those I love most dearly to be free. I am beginning to see that when I am tending to my own practice, feeding my self love, expressing my truest self and nature, there is peace within that place – within my own being.