Live coiled in shells of loneliness, until love leaves its high holy temple
And comes to liberate us into life
- Maya Angelou
A few days ago, I was alone at home alone, and decided it was the perfect time for an evening date - with myself.
This exercise is not new to me. During my early teen years, I used to walk aimlessly miles and miles lost in fantasies and stories of Gurus, Krishna, Rama, and countless other mythological figures. Even at the peak of my business activities, I rarely worked on Saturdays and instead chose to walk miles and miles lost in another world. With age this exercise has become more difficult as my “mind sink” has accumulated more clutter and noise (that it calls knowledge and experience), making the process of getting lost in imaginative thoughts and fantasies more challenging.
I decided to sit in the backyard with a chilled bottle of Pellegrino (my doctors are drinking my share of wine). The late afternoon rain had helped settle the airborne dust. Consequently, multiple skyways for the light of the stars opened in the northern sky quenching the thirst of novice stargazers like me. The half-moon from the southern sky with a shower of silvery rays was whispering songs of silence to young baby’s feet like leaves of maple tree. The rays were eagerly landing on needles of arborvitae pines to continue the timeless conversation with the trees. I wished to cocoon myself in the realm of this prodigious beauty emanating from the elusive conversation between these forces of the nature. The very thought deepened the experience of solitude.
Upon reflecting on our life’s stories, we learn to honor our journey regardless of our pains, failures, and regrets. The past successes and failures become just a window dressing. We acknowledge that the path to enlightenment is strewn with scar tissues, and the most important thing is that we realize that life is not made for us but we are made for life.
While reflecting on these thoughts, I closed my eyes and saw myself as a young man infected by infantile omnipotence, his boat grappled with life’s waves with impatience and sense of impunity seeking instant gratification. Suddenly, that youth was much older and his boat drifted slowly towards an unknown distant shore. Earlier, his younger mind did not care for guiding light. Now, his mind was less malleable and open, therefore the true light could not penetrate. His mind spent more time judging and analyzing as opposed to true listening. It seemed that the more his mind knew, the less he knew about himself. He saw himself looking for the enlightening source of eternal love to come down from high temple and unshackle him from bonds of ignorance. Then he remembered Rumi’s words:
The minute I heard my first love story
I started looking for you, not knowing how blind that was
Lovers do not finally meet somewhere
They are in each other all along.
That thought made me open my eyes and I saw lady “Awe” had carpeted the whole area with bliss. The moon had moved slightly in the westerly direction. The embrace of its rays and the pines was deliriously romantic. The moon and pines were creating beautiful story by connecting with each other. I realized that all stories require connection. Our stories, mine as well as yours, relate to the eternal spirit by a cloth of love and beauty weaved by the great weaver in deep time. A sense of joy and happiness overtook my emotions and tears as warm as mother’s milk started coming down:
Since there is no such place to contain so much happiness,
You shrug, you raise your hands, and it flows out of you,
Into everything you touch. You are not responsible.
You take no credit, as the night sky takes no credit,
For the moon, but continues to hold it, share it,
And in that way, be known.
- Naomi Shihab Nye