Monthly Archives: March 2010

I did not call it by that name

Passion is the elixir that makes (things) new:

how (can there be) weariness where passion has arisen?

Oh do not sigh heavily from weariness:

seek passion, seek passion, passion, passion!

–Rumi

“Praise is the relationship between the Praiser and the Praised. And there is nothing in the horizons and the selves without it. The totality of creation is its widespread revelation. Man gathers it together and it is his uncreated core, so that there is no praise other than Praise. His greatest potential is to be a Praiser in such a way that both he and the horizons are revealed as Praise: “Then say: ‘Praise be to God! He will show you His signs, and you will recognize them.'” *Qur’an 27:93 Through this recognition of Praise in the signs a man transforms his self toward the perfection of the Praiser, who is “a good example,” “a sublime nature,” “a shining light,” “a blessing to mankind.”

…Opposite the face is the Face. If the image wants the fullness of its origin, then it can be seen only through that Face. It confirms that I am Self. And there is nothing that could praise the self apart from that Self, which is the Praised. And as the image of the Praised, the self receives or reflects the properties of the Praised, thus becoming a witness of the Praiser as its model. And the Praiser is the most submissive, and as such is the most beautiful example in the manifestation of the Praised. This is loving in the self of the beloved the same as Praise in the self of the Praiser. They are the presence and manifestation of the Beloved and the Praised.”

–On Love: In the Muslim Tradition by Rusmir Mahmutcehajic

I haven’t written a blog in a while. Mostly because my latest writings have been very personal, and I have, for a while, resisted bringing into light what I have been searching in the dark. It’s as though I had to go deeper and deeper into a mess of voids until I could have some grounding from which to speak, or share, or even attempt to “say” something.

My philosophy professor gave me a book, of which I quoted above, called “On Love: In the Muslim Tradition” to read over break. And though my paper is to focus mostly on the Christian idea of love, or Charity without object, I am so pleased she pointed me to this book. Of course, I have always thought that all religions are simply different manifestations of the same will and human understanding to get closer to the One, so reading this book was not much different from my experience of reading other books on the idea of Love in the spiritual realm.

How are you finding this idea of Love? my professor asked in conference before I left.

I understand, intellectually, the concept of Love without object, but it’s hard to put into practice.

She said, That’s because you might be moving into it from a place of Emotion, or Feeling, and philosophically, this idea of Love, can it be from that kind of bedrock? Think about it.

I’ve been thinking about it. I’ve been reading so many books. Thomas Merton helps. C. S. Lewis helps. The Gospels help–Jesus has a lot to say! And, to my surprise, Ignatius Contemplation has helped.

I never imagined that this paper would lead me deeper and deeper into my spiritual relationship with God, and especially with the Gospels. Personally, I didn’t know I’d be learning so much about the nature of Love in the human realm, through Love in the spiritual realm. This seems obvious, but doors have been opening that I didn’t know existed.

What I like most about the On Love book, is that it is very much ABOUT human love…the lover and the beloved, the passion for another, etc. Yet, it seems, before those areas can be explored, a model through the Spiritual Realm of love is best to uncover.

I always thought, as a child even, that first we must love ourselves before we can properly love another. And I still think this is true, but can anyone honestly say that they can look at theirselves (without ego) and LOVE, perfectly, with all the mistakes and imperfections found therein? And, to go further, how then can we go on to “love our neighbor as ourselves?” if that self-love (without ego) is not a solid bedrock first? And from there, to be intimately involved with a beloved. How? Of course it’s possible, but how can it the healthiest it possibly can be?

First and foremost, how can we love a Higher Power in such a way? How to have faith in that Love the Universe has for us? Acceptance. How? Blind Faith. How?

It’s funny, how the Universe gives us signs, when we are open.

Ask. Accept the passion. Gain perspective on the Love that IS shown you. “Passion is the elixir that makes things new.”

I had no passion. I tried. I tried with everything in me. I was feeling stagnation around me in droves. I forgot how to Praise. Even in my willingness to Praise, I couldn’t lift my eyes. I couldn’t see myself as Myself. Couldn’t see the Self that opened the Universe to be my own self.

Something kept telling me simply to Ask for It.

I kept running into walls. First blaming myself for mistakes, then blindly running into more walls to the closed doors.

After so much running, I fell to my knees. “I know everything happens in Your perfect timing.”

Teach me why.

And in the voids I went searching in the darkness. And in the darkness I found I was exactly where I was supposed to be.

Otherwise how could I have grown out of that darkness into new Knowledge.

Praise closed doors!

Praise an unseen Beloved!

And, above all, I’ve come back to my Other. To my Self. The same Other that one sees in a Beloved. And in this way, the Beloved always Is, though faces may change, bodies. Always With You.

As I read: “This is loving in the self of the beloved the same as Praise in the self of the Praiser. They are the presence and manifestation of the Beloved and the Praised.”

When I sat outside to find my way back to the Praise, me the Praiser, or trying to be, I found not only my Self, but the Other, and Beloved. And this Love does not move, or shake from that foundation. It is itself my body and the tree next to me, the bluebird and photons within the sunlight.

Speak to It. Ask for It.

Part two came when I fell over myself to Myself. So long to ask for presence and light, but ignoring the imagination inside me. And inside me, knots or kind beings bringing me messages about Love.

Undo this one, it said. I stood near a door and took off my shoes. I stood near the next leap and untied my belt. I stood by a mind-river and shook my hair in the sun. Undo this one, it said. Have my body again. Let it over-under weeping. So I stood. And I did. Next to the love is the being. Or being loved. And mind-rivers, while tumultuous, teach patient, dear. Teach supple with your waist. Wait. Let it. Undo it. This. And inside me, knots or a kind.

Or kindness. I heard myself fall over Myself. Knots, be loved by me. Undo this one. A One, which is you.

Part three is about You.

I know the above is current-laden. As if I talked to you on the phone, or sent You to my bed.

In my mirror, I tacked a love-letter from It.

“Was I five or six years old? Certainly not seven. It was morning in early summer. A silver haze shimmered and trembled over lime trees. The air was laden with their fragrance. The temperature was like a caress. I remember–I need not recall–that I climbed up a tree stump and felt suddenly immersed in Itness. I did not call it by that name. I had no need for words. It and I were one.” –Bernard Berenson.

“I did not call it by that name.”

A leaf, yes. Strange to some, but it hugged both my legs. Love and Praise. You as well. You as well. And you. For I found each tumbling happens like that. First, we move away from. Get a dark, grow a dark. Find others in dark. Letters about dark. Then comes a singing because Nothing holds its hands to your body like that. Think about it. Or It. And I am off to You. Getting there. A leaf, yes. Lover, yes. You.

I don’t know where to end this, other than to say that where I began was the starting of the Asking and now I have Received.

I’d say I love. I’d say I jumped or a bell caught me in its knot and understood what exactly I wanted like a blue over a horizon wants each grass tip to undress itself.

Bare like a beloved. Or your face into the Face.

Watching Signs of the Praiser make love to itself or Passion into itself so striking-in-a-field, that much like light-knots, I am Yours. New.

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Praise the moment

I know Nothing has hold of me,

and in its dark,

every love under a milkweed

or standing on a high plain,

it doesn’t matter, Nothing wants

only the joy of having

the world in my palm–

your undercurrent –fish

with my body, swimming to moment-less

spark of second-babies.

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Thanks, Meister

I’ve been reading a lot of Meister Eckhart lately. It started as I scanned the shelves for Christian Mystics in the library, looking for books on “agape” for my Philosophy class. The idea of Love without object versus Eros. And though this will matter when I need to finally write a 20 page paper for Philosophy, it doesn’t matter at THIS MOMENT. Regardless, I found my way to Eckhart’s sermons. He kept skirting me, though. I remember a couple months back I ran into him at Barnes and Noble. And again, at the community library over the summer.

Yes, yes. I know I should give you a look, I thought, but I am busy with Thomas Merton, or particle physics, or Number Theory.

Alright, he said, not to worry. My hands are not tied and I will be back at the right time.

“Monitor yourself,” I thought, after watching the snow pull back from the curb this morning. So much shifting around me and I don’t notice. How the insides are like this, too! My mood a subtle fade or sudden whip.

“But in the darkness, no one asked where I was going, or what I planned on doing.”

Eckhart speaks of our soul or before-we-were-we as a ground of creation.

I imagine a small shoot about to be a flower, stuck in the damp. Dark, not yet known. No one yet sees her, or asks. And she has nothing but nothing. That’s how I feel about the touch stone inside me. And my moods, perhaps, are drifts above the stone. So I’m trying to monitor them. They are not me.

Driving home from a friend’s birthday party, I noticed a shift in mood. Oh dark, when you come, I rarely notice your quiet gift.

What can shake one, not OUT of sadness or low mood, but IN with it, better for it, laughing in it, understood by and for it?

“If the only prayer you said in your entire life was ‘Thank you,’ that would suffice” –Eckhart.

I looked around to the sides of the road, the tractor trailer speeding beside me, the pine trees–maybe a small skunk scuttled by, I don’t know–and I said “Ok. Thank you.”

When praise happens, so does strength.

When death becomes more “real,” that’s when life adds herself upon you a weight. The moments weigh a bit more. The Thank You’s mean, really, Thank you.

Still, Eckhart, I admit I’m learning.

It’s ok, he said.

I’ve come Now, and have been, and will be. As you are, will, to me.

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As if I held You

As if I held You,

as if I knocked,

as if light had hands,

doors had tongues.

And this moment–

joy in the desert.

And my skin–

Your sadness, sung.

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