RECORDING: Wonder - Feb 7, 2021
Our exploration of Beloved Community began with an inquiry into the “original you”. We found at least three ways to think about what that might mean: original as in our origin; original as in unique; and original as in purely itself, with nothing added or overlaid. A more fulsome realization of Beloved Community will be well served by these aspects of being:
Beloved Community is our origin. Each of us, and everything around us, is born out of, as Pir Elias calls it, “our good home”—the vast web of self-sustaining Life.
Beloved Community as a lived experience is utterly unique for each of us. Requiring that each of us see and sustain that vision of unity; which, in a way, can only be a reflection of our own wholeness.
Beloved Community is a reality unrestricted by what we think it is, believe it should be or try to make it into. It invites a surrender of expectation in favor of selfless devotion.
These observations will likely remain metaphysical speculation unless we address some of the practicalities of making it real. In this session on Wonder we begin to do that by suggesting that the true perception and cognition of Beloved Community is unlikely to arise through purely rational means. After all, our history of ignorance and cruelty offers abundant evidence to the contrary. It is through “wonder”—if by this we mean a childlike curiosity in which we relinquish knowing and open to the “poetics” playing just below the surface of experience—that the Beloved Community becomes unambiguously self-evident.
From Wonder to Wonder
Three Wonder-filled Poems
Ways of Wonder
Quiet and Calm, Peace Arises
I offer a quote from Rumi – from his Mathnawi. In this quote he offers the words as if spoken by the Beloved, the One Being,
Hindus praise me in the terms of India
And the Sindhis praise in terms from Sindh.
I am not made pure by their magnificats!
It is they who become pure and precious!
We do not look to language or to words
We look inside to find intent and rapture.
A burning heart is what I want! Consort with burning!
Kindle in thy heart the flame of love!"
I love books. I love words. I love how it’s possible for definition to interweave with invocation. Like in Jeanne’s poetry. Like in the Rumi quote I have just offered. Words speaking to us of how it might be when words come to the heart, from the heart. When words ride upon a carpet of stillness moved with the breath of love.
But words are not always like that, not in my thoughts. I sometimes have a restless mind that brings so many words at once – words upon words, thoughts upon thoughts – and when that happens, I feel too busy, and I fall out of wonder and my heart is lonely. And this is my practice when that happens and I invite you to close your eyes and join me in it. When I say I, imagine it is you, saying I. It begins with remembering these words:
Quiet. First, I listen. I listen for sounds coming into my ears. I hear a sound and I notice its outside of me. I notice the gap between it, the sound and me. It’s not in me. Its not me. I do that for the next sound I hear. It’s outside of me, there’s a distance. It’s not me.
I bring my listening closer, into me. I might hear my breath. Perhaps a movement of my arm, cloth on cloth or my hand, skin on skin. But the sound enters in and leave in silence. It Comes and goes. Its not me. I am in the quiet, I stay in the quiet until it’s not words in my head, it’s a felt sense. I know I am quiet. And only then do I move to the word Calm.
Calm. Here I am sitting. I scan my body, checking it is calm, looking for any sense of where it is not calm; if there is pain, or tension, or irritation pushing calm into a corner. If there is that feeling I take my awareness there, taking the quiet that I am, and I rest there for a while. Until I notice that, actually, now it is calm. It just needed me to be there, present, for a moment. I continue to check for not calm and when there is nothing to find I become aware that I am quiet and I am calm and peace arises.
Peace arises naturally as calm is given space to expand and peace radiates love, offering itself outwards. There’s really nothing to do, it happens by itself. And right now, it’s all I am. And every in breath kindles the flame, held deep within the heart’s hearth, burning brighter, burning brighter. And every outbreath offers Hu – the breath of the Divine Mystery. Hu.
And that is my practice that I turn to when my heart needs warming. You might like to change the words, to your words, because the secret is not the words, but where they come from and where they lead us.
Surrender the Knowing
POEMS BY HAFIZ
The Eyes of Wonder
click above to move through images
The Inner Pilgrimage
Wonder – both a verb and a noun and both deeply personal. The verb, to wonder, is when we wonder about something because we aren’t sure about it. The noun wonder is described as a state of admiration and amazement, caused by something beautiful, remarkable or unfamiliar.
As we explore wonder we discover that the seed moments of wonder are not in the thing of wonder itself, but in us, in the person experiencing wonder, in ourselves. All the time we are in a state of wonder, we are co-creating wonderment, we are a part of, not separate from, what is wondrous.
How then might we kindle and keep alive the flame of wonder, this is our invitation to you this month; here are some ideas (based on the 3 causes) but perhaps you have others:
Seeking beauty -
Where do you look?
What do you see or hear or do?
When you uncover beauty what happens in you?
Finding something remarkable – what do you find remarkable!
What do you feel?
What do you say?
What when there are no words?
Nourishing uncertainty (except when driving or operating heavy machinery 😊):
Change body/sense receptors (l/r hand; peripheral vision; stop naming; breath)
Changing habitual patterns for a certain period (timings, routes, habits)
Release at inception practice; read the art of awakening (Pir Elias - Open Path)
What kindles your wonder?
What makes the flame brighter?