Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Unseen

     This world is but a bridge, cross it, but build no home upon it. The world endures but for an hour. Spend it in devotion. The rest is unseen.

                      -- Akbar the Great

     I spent a good part of my life longing, even lusting, for fame. I would become  a Great Poet, lionized by millions! Even a great Spiritual Teacher! My self-worth was dependent on my becoming widely recognized and applauded, a Major Player in the only Game that really counted--this Earth Plane ego dance; this shimmy-shake of vainglory and public spectacle; this endless, shadowy hall of glittering funhouse mirrors.

      But simultaneously, a higher, wiser Spirit was pulling me in exactly the opposite direction--toward deeper interiority, painfully acquired humility, purging emptiness. I began to realize that what's truly important is invisible, a transcendent sphere of being not directly detectable by the senses, and therefore mostly ignored by our overwhelmingly materialistic civilization. I fell in love with silence, solitude, mystery, the Unknown. I learned that to be a real "Player in the Game" meant I had to wean myself from my addiction to the chimera of worldly success, the mirage of ephemeral fame.

            A STRANGE WIND

The face turned away from the feast --
       learn that, be
             that one.

A strange wind is blowing
              through the black rectangle
         of the open doorway,

beyond which, night
      smells of unappeasable distance,
             and the narrow steps

lead down to no street
                  you can remember...

The heart weaned away from the world --
       earn that, free
              that one.

Let desire expand
          until it transcends
               all objects.

Possessing nothing,
          possessed by nothing,

in the perfection
        of such emptiness
                         make your Home.


      My ultimate Home is in the no-time and no-place of an infinite and eternal consciousness where "I" cease to exist. My own consciousness is only fully awake there for the first time; and what it's awake to is a Oneness beyond all separation. That is Reality. Beside it the tawdry child's play of worldly fame and glory is exposed as ludicrous and absurd.

                     THE WAY IN

Whoever you are: some evening take a step
out of your house, which you know so well.
Enormous space is near, your house lies
where it begins, whoever you are.
Your eyes find it hard to tear themselves
from the sloping threshold, but with your eyes
slowly, slowly, lift one black tree
up, so it stands against the sky: skinny, alone.
With that you have made the world...

                               -- Rainer Maria Rilke

      My greatest challenge is to take that crucial step out of the familiar house of my ego, which I know so well. "Enormous space is near." That's where the deepest meaning of my life suddenly breaks open. Dumbstruck, I experience my soul illuminated at last against the scale of the stars...

   Out beyond ideas of
wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field.
I'll meet you there.

                 -- Rumi


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