An ant hurries along a threshing floor
with its wheat grain, moving between huge stacks
of wheat, not knowing the abundance
all around. It thinks one grain
is all there is to love.
So we choose a tiny seed to be devoted to.
This body, one path, or one teacher.
Look wider and farther.
The essence of every human being can see,
and what that essence-eye takes in,
the being becomes. Saturn. Solomon!
The ocean pours through a jar,
and you might say it swims inside
the fish! This mystery gives peace to
your longing and makes the road home home.
I read this poem this morning because every time I wake up and realize I’ve been moving in the world unconsciously, I begin to feel like I’m going home again, home being the place where regardless of what I’m doing, I’m humbled by the realization that I am on my path. As painful as it is sometimes, that humility also breaks me open, changes my vision, slows me down, gives me my life back. Distraction, unconsciousness, fast reactionary emotion and discontent, are death in living. They are devotion, as in the poem of the ant to the one grain, the person to one goal, even to one goal of something honorable. How we forget the beauty of all the mystery around us when we’re so focused on making some one thing work! How intense it is when we open again to the ocean flowing through us, and how I shake my head at myself thinking, how could I give up all this beauty, and for what? How many days did I ride my bicycle through the streets of people, trees, and sky without breathing them in? I never want to forget, and yet I know, again, sometime, I will. Because I think, until we really learn to hold that high vibration, to let go anything in our lives that distracts us from it, until we learn that that awakeness and in love-ness with the world is what we’re here for, we’ll find other purposes that seem sweet to serve but eventually lead us to discontent and dead-ends.
So what does this mean, because I can see someone reading this and thinking that I’m saying we all need to just ride around on our bikes looking at the clouds in a blessed-out state. What I’m saying is that when you are serving your purpose, when you have found the things that make you come alive, when you are pursuing them, no matter how successful you actually are, or how much work you have in front of you, you will ride around looking at the clouds in a blissed out state, in spite of “failures.” The feeling whole, the presence in this moment, the great flowing joy at simple thing are the indicators that you’ve tapped into the mystery, that you are living authentically.
So Rumi says, “It doesn’t matter that you’ve broken your vow, a thousand times. Still come, and yet again, come.” A thousand times I’ve fallen asleep, and still, yet again, I fall into this sorrowful, confused, blessed-out broken open state, making a fool of myself in love with my mistakes and in love with messy life. It doesn’t matter that I’ve broken my vow, it doesn’t matter that I’m not perfect, and that I never will be, still come again. In your humble, terrible, beautiful tattered and gilt robes of humanity, come again home.