On my walk today I listened to the podcast about Rumi, the Iranian Suni poet who writes of love, relationship, the world and God. Many times during my walk I was moved – sometimes to laughter, sometimes an “ah ha”, sometimes near tears and with sadness. I found his poetry and his story to be so moving, and wondered how someone who was that gifted and who gave so to much to others, lived. What sense of self does one have, being so filled and present to God? Is it having God as self – to be united and so combined that one doesn’t know anything else except self as God and God as self? Listening, I felt deep emotion, moved to tears. The emotion welled up inside me. As I listened to the podcast, Krista Tippett, the scholar she was interviewing and to the poetry of Rumi, I found myself thinking about how I long to write, and wondered if there might be a poet inside of me? I wondered how I could begin to write, and if others would ever want to read what I wrote. And then I felt inspired. The idea came to write a Lenten Reflection Journal. Having just begun the season of Lent (I am Episcopalian), I longed for a practice that would bring me closer to God. Clearly, I felt the call to sit down and document my experiences over Lent – just one girl’s Lenten journey. It wouldn’t be liturgical or the type of writing that just led one to scripture or classically formulated prayers as I often find in the Episcopal church. My writing would incorporate all different aspects of spirituality offered through many traditions, from many thought leaders and the impact and impressions they made upon me. And so I have begun. As I continued to walk and listen, I had the moment (THE moment) when I realized that my spirituality scares me to death. I am so afraid of being as spiritual as I know myself to truly be. Does that make sense? What I mean is that when I experience other traditions, and listen to or read of others’ spiritual journeys; I find alignment, and understanding, and I am intrigued. I say, “Yes, that speaks to me.” “Yes, I would like to feel that free.” – And sometimes, I say, "No, I disagree". And at once it is invigorating and frightening. That is what happened when I listened to the story of Rumi, and the Whirling Dirvishes – the Suni dancers who whirl around in circles, singing, or chanting, to be closer to God. Intentional dancing in a circle that allows one to be centered while still moving. This is the challenge I face in my everyday life. Moving in many directions at once, fast and furious, I often lose sense of my center. I lose my grounding. It is the why of what I am and do, and when the distractions in my life are such that I cannot find my center, I am lost. As I listened to the discussion, I imagined myself dancing freely in a circle – head focused up to the heavens, with my heart and eyes upon God and without a care in the world, except showing the joy for living the life God has given me. It made me smile. I’m sure in my walking (with my headset on) that I began to move a little to the left and right, kind of a walking dance. Of course, I never cut loose and went in circles lest I be seen by someone on the street and be committed! – Seriously though, I asked myself, what would it take for me to let go and be free enough to dance passionately with focus upon God? How trapped in my body and life am I, that I cannot do this? I love the beauty and symbolism in the Dirvish dance. Recalling that one hand is pointed up toward the heavens, and the other down, symbolizing a joining of heaven and earth – and of being at the center of it, I am moved. Rumi often speaks of a wholeness of being – of being one with spirit, and yet apart from spirit. Love is his mantra – and although it sounded like his poems were written to a “lover” – the understanding is that this is our entry point into the poem, and once in, we can find our way to a love that surpasses all understanding – the love of God. Who is, by the way, the ultimate lover.
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