Saturday, May 30, 2009

Sipping the rainwater

Just because you can’t drink all that falls
doesn’t mean you give up taking sips
of rainwater. If the nut
of the mystery can’t be held,
at least let me touch the shell.

-- Rumi

Today is a rare misty day in San Diego. This almost-rain makes me nostalgic for the forests of the Pacific Northwest. I want to put on some gortex and go sit under a big fir and look at the ocean. Thinking about rain led me to this Rumi poem. This life is such a mystery, but one we should dive into with our entire beings, even though we cannot see or comprehend all that there is. We don't have much choice, really. We are part of it all. We can close our eyes and our ears and our minds to the unknown, or we can open our hearts and try to hold a sense of it: Life! Without fear, try to taste what you can.

Rumi also wrote:
Do you pay regular visits to yourself?
Don't argue or answer rationally.
Let us die,
and dying, reply.
The mystery is within us as well as outside. I'm not even sure there is an inside and an outside. Yoga and meditation take me to that place where the two meet. So do the tops of mountains, and the forest, and the ocean. So does wild weather: the wind and the rain. Poetry. Music. That moment on a run where thoughts end and you become part of the trail, part of the world.

I think that Rumi means that in the moment of death, if we have regularly lived life from the heart, we will accept this too. The final mystery. The last merge. And that our readiness to connect cannot be argued rationally but can only be known in that moment. I have no idea what it means to die, but maybe I am starting to understand what it means to live. To feel the nutshell, rough under my hand. To turn my face to the sky and taste the rain.

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