In the early morning hour,
just before dawn, lover and beloved wake
and take a drink of water.
She asks, “Do you love me or yourself more?
Really, tell the absolute truth.”
He says, “There is nothing left of me.
I’m like a ruby held up to the sunrise.
Is it still a stone, or a world
made of redness? It has no resistance
This is how Hallaj said, I am God,
and told the truth!
The ruby and the sunrise are one.
Be courageous and discipline yourself.
Completely become hearing and ear,
and wear this sun-ruby as an earring.
Work. Keep digging your well.
Don’t think about getting off from work.
Water is there somewhere.
Submit to a daily practice.
Your loyalty to that
is a ring on the door.
Keep knocking, and the joy inside
will eventually open a window
and look out to see who’s there.
The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions says that holy fools subvert prevailing orthodoxy and orthopraxis in order to point to the truth which lies beyond immediate conformity. Or as a monk said in his Sermon rethinking “metanoia” is the beginning of our journey with “authentic” faith in Jesus Christ, not as a U-Turn but as “think further.” In English the closest synonym is repentance, but it is not quite the same. The word repentance implies a “turning away from sin” or in German a form of turning around. This is an incorrect interpretation of biblical doctrine. One must first widen one’s thinking (metanoia) and be critical of orthodoxy.
Let the fool lead the way. The wise and the sacred fool provides truth, balance, play, recreation, destruction, creation, change. Would Buddha live today his followers would be reprogrammed, Jesus would be in jail for subversion and the DEA wold breathe down the neck of the Sufi poets. I would even think the new pope comes across as a sacred fool in the media. They did not think, change comes from obeying rules. The sacred fool is the destroyer of our well-ordered world run by foolish fools. The wise fool is the creator of the new through play. It is by change that we are made new. We are all Phoenixes, capable of rising out of the ashes, if only the holy fool will bring us change.
The fool gets to tell the truth, the hard truths that might cause trouble if anyone else tells them. The fool can get (for while) away with telling the hardest truths just because he is a fool. He speaks in parables and paradoxes, we struggle to understand. He can speak harsh truths and we must listen because he is entertaining in his difference. We must listen because he is a misfit and cannot be held fully responsible. The fool plays and everybody believes that play is not serious so he can accomplish the difficult, controversial issues in play. In the middle ages there was an implicit understanding of this with the belief that joking could help shield one from misfortune and indeed we can understand the truth of this.
Jesus was a sacred fool. At the command of God he came to change the world. He sought to destroy the old structures and bring God’s kingdom, a change of great magnitude. His methods were subversive to the society where he lived. He was viewed as a dangerous fool but like all sacred fools, brought a message of change and hope crashing down empires. When Jesus was betrayed and arrested he said:
“Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the elders, who had come for him, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come with swords and clubs? Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour—when darkness reigns.” —Luke 22-53
Crazy visionaries as Jesus, the Sufi Poet Rumi, Buddha, Lao-Tse and Mahatma Gandhi travelled on a comedic course to enlightenment, representing the collective “Self” — that is the divine.
God has no religion. —Gandhi
Tao called Tao is not Tao. —Lao-Tse
My soul is from elsewhere, I’m sure of that, and I intend to end up there. —Rumi
The minute I heard my first love story, I started looking for you, not knowing how blind that was. Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere. They’re in each other all along.
It is a joy to be hidden but a disaster not to be found.
Every mammal feels instinctively that it needs and deserves full parental attentiveness. When a parent is only halfway attentive, the child notices and feels uneasy. The mother leopard does not have her mind on her own grooming while she is feeding her young. Nor does she demand that her young groom her and wait for their dinner. Her single-minded attention gives them healthy priorities later in life. Children’s psychic life becomes confused if they have to take care of a parent or make sense of one, because that is the reverse of what children instinctively expect.
Attention to you means engaged focus on you. It means sensitivity to your needs and feelings. Did your parents pay at least as much attention to you as they did to the TV? Did your father notice and attend to your feelings and fears with the same care he showed his car? Did he ever concentrate on you for as long as he did on a ball game?
Watching your every move, even if it comes from a desire to protect you, is not attention but intrusion or surveillance. In truly loving attention, you are noticed not scrutinized. Overprotectiveness is a rejection of your power (and thus of you). Authentic attention comes to you any time, not just when you present a problem. Such statements as “Children should be seen and not heard” are odious to a parent committed to paying attention to his child. “My father turned to me as if he had been waiting all his life to hear my question,” says a character in one of J. D. Salinger’s novels. Was I listened to like that? Did I matter that way?
If we missed out on attention when we were children, we might have learned to attend to ourselves, to become more and more creative, to look for attention from adults other than our parents. In this way, a deficiency became something beneficial, the pothole that became the portal. Likewise, our ability to reach out as adults may be directly proportional to our recognition that what we needed in our childhood was not there to be had. Seeing that deficiency in the past will help us see it in a present relationship and not keep looking for something we need in a container that is empty.
Attunement is mirrored attentiveness from one person to another. Attentiveness means noticing and hearing words, feelings, and experience. In a moment of authentic attention, we feel that we are deeply and truly understood in what we say or do and in who we are,with nothing left out. Likewise, we can attune to others’ feelings, needs, bodily reactions, comfort levels with closeness, and degrees of willingness — for example, whether someone is acting out of coercion and compliance rather than true concurrence. We cannot attune if we assume certain feelings are right and others wrong. To attune to someone, we need neutrality toward all feelings, moods, and inner states and the fearless openness of mindfulness. Only with such pure attention can we see beyond his bravado to his terror, beyond his stolidity to his turmoil. This is how attention becomes compassion.
What has failed to find attunement stays folded up within us or becomes a source of shame. Faulty attunement in early life may lead to fear of standing up for ourselves later or keep us from trusting that others will come through for us. Faulty attunement can make us scared and lonely, too. We fear exposing some regions of our psychic topography because of our inbred despair of ever finding the requisite human mirroring.
Attuned attention creates an ever-widening zone of trust and safety. We feel encouraged to look for — rather than wait for — our submerged longings to emerge and our stunted hopes to assume their full dimensions. We believe they will be attended to at last. This is love in the form of mindful attention, and we feel safe in it. Implicit in such attentiveness to our truth is truth from the one providing it. We trust him to say what is true to him; that is where our sense of safety comes from.
The first A is the core of mindfulness. Attention means bringing something or someone into focus so it is no longer blurred by the projections of your own ego; thus it requires genuine interest and curiosity about the mysterious and surprising truth that is you. A parent or partner who has gotten to know you in a superficial way may only be meeting up with her beliefs about you. Those beliefs, or biases, can endure for years, preventing the person from taking in the kind of information that would reveal the real you. The real you is an abundant potential, not a list of traits, and intimacy can only happen when you are always expanding in others’ hearts, not pigeonholed in their minds. Our identity is like a kaleidoscope. With each turn we reset it not to a former or final state but to a new one that reflects the here-and-now positions of the pieces we have to work with. The design is always new because the shifts are continual. That is what makes kaleidoscopes, and us, so appealing and beautiful. Parents and partners who give us attention love to see the evolving mandala of us.
The desire for attention is not a desire for an audience but for a listener.Attention means focusing on you with respect, not with contempt or ridicule. When you are given attention, your intuitions are treated as if they matter. You are taken seriously. You are given credit when it is due. Your feelings have such high value to those who love you that they are on the lookout for them. They even look for the feelings you are afraid to know and gently inquire whether you want to show them.
When others give you attention, they also confront you directly when they are displeased, harboring no secret anger or grudges. But they always do this with respect and a sincere desire to keep the lines of communication open. Attention, like the other four A’s, is given in a trusting atmosphere of holding.
When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;
How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;
And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.
I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I want to be, I am not what I hope to be in another world; but still I am not what I once used to be, and by the grace of God I am what I am.
To Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love
All pray in their distress;
And to these virtues of delight
Return their thankfulness.
For Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love
Is God, our father dear,
And Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love
Is Man, his child and care.
For Mercy has a human heart,
Pity a human face,
And Love, the human form divine,
And Peace, the human dress.
Then every man, of every clime,
That prays in his distress,
Prays to the human form divine,
Love, Mercy, Pity, Peace.
And all must love the human form,
In heathen, Turk, or Jew;
Where Mercy, Love, and Pity dwell
There God is dwelling too.
Good walkers leave no track.
Good talkers don’t stammer.
Good counters don’t use their fingers.
The best door’s unlocked and unopened.
The best knot’s not in a rope and can’t be untied.
So wise souls are good at caring for people,
never turning their back on anyone.
They’re good at looking after things,
never turning their back on anything.
There’s a light hidden here.
Good people teach people who aren’t good yet;
the less good are the makings of the good.
Anyone who doesn’t respect a teacher
or cherish a student
may be clever, but has gone astray.
There’s a deep mystery here.
I went out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread;
And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little silver trout.
When I had laid it on the floor
I went to blow the fire a-flame,
But something rustled on the floor,
And someone called me by my name:
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossom in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightening air.
Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done,
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.
You have a right to perform your prescribed duties, but you are not entitled to the fruits of your actions. Never consider yourself to be the cause of the results of your activities, nor be attached to inaction.
In generosity and helping others, be like a river
In compassion and grace, be like the sun
In concealing other’s faults, be like the night
In anger and fury, be as if you have died
In modesty and humility, be like the earth
In tolerance, be like the sea
And either appear as you are, or be as you appear