An incisive verse by Sufi poet Jalāl ad-Dīn Rūmī translates: “Wherever you stand, be the soul of that place.” This wisdom is not easy to embrace. It demands a lifetime of wakefulness practice. Like travelers on a crowded station platform or milling around a bustling terminal, we are pressed to be ever on the move, as though we were only passengers simply passing through. So, we pass our days looking for the next while we overlook the now. And so much wonder and woundedness pass us by or fail to penetrate. How much do we lose each time we try to grab at many things while failing to grasp what is essential?
If this were your last day, hour, minute, or breath, imagine how you might drink in the daylight, taste the twilight, touch the stars, smell the sunshine, delight at songbirds, listen to the look of your loved ones, bow before the sanctity of a stranger, be carried away with astonishment, and be beside yourself with awe at the wonder of it all. Perhaps we engage life in its fullness when we stop asking if we are “there” yet and live into the unfolding and radical realization that we are always already “here.” For it is only “here” that we can really be, wholly present and fully engaged; and no matter where you go, there you are.
What prevents you from being fully immersed in this moment, the holy ground of “now”?
Every grace-laden moment, is primed with possibilities for anyone who is wide open and ready to receive. The only limit to our Maker’s abundance is our limited capacity to receive. Consider a time when you lost yourself and fell into fullness— fully alive, fully connected. Passion, along with her seasoned sibling, compassion, astonishment that ripens into awe, and wonder that blossom into gratefulness are portals into Presence that penetrates illusory separateness and leave us beside ourselves with joy, with amazement, with grief. But there is a price to pay for expansive Presence, a cost for being fully awake and engaged. Letting go in lament, getting lost in inspiration, being piqued by possibility, pained by misery, or drowned in mystery, all demand a tariff. Presence exacts its coin— our dearly held desire for self-preoccupation, and the fantasy of control that presumes to preside over and above. Mystics, artists, and prophets exemplify this surrender into solidarity, letting the self be moved by suffering and inspired by imagining. True spiritual practice harbors this same intention— the hand-over of self that places us on a collision-course with grace and draws us into a deepened state of readiness. This holy intention leads to whole, undivided attention, where we come to know life in its raw fullness! Such “wide awake-fulness” finds myriad expression in three dimensions of holiness: Presence that is poetic, prophetic, and pastoral. In the paradox of Presence by getting lost we are found and findable, by letting go we are upheld and hold others, by losing our grip on the world we are freed to love with abandon.