First of all happy to say we filled up the space last Sunday with our new and old Rumian friends at the Sixth Rumi Workshop in San Francisco.
One subject that came up is this notion of ‘Unconditional Love’. There are two things wrong with this phrase, first it’s redundant, second it is damaging. Do you ever say ‘untainted white’? Why not? Because of course white is untainted (redundant) and the fact that there is a mention of ‘taint’ itself disturbs the picture. What we call it is white. Period. and Love. Period.
Here is a telling tale. 3 year old playing in the backyard sees a small bird flapping one wing and swirling in dirt in desperation. What does the child do? Runs to mom for help and can’t rest until the bird is given shelter under a warm lamp with water and food to keep it going while it heals. And that moment when that child releases that bird into the open skies is the most cherished moment to be remembered for a lifetime. What motivated this child to do this? Love. Was there ever a promise of an ice cream or a toy or some other reward? That thought should catch you off guard because there was no place for that in our story. Of course not, the child did what it did because it was the only thing to do. Love. If a good deed is done for the sake of a return, it is not love, it is something else, more like an investment.
So what happened to us when we grew up that we measure all actions by its corresponding gain and if it is zero or less than the effort put in, we deem it stupid? Where did that child go? The child is there and always has been. Rumi says: ‘Seek not love, but the dams you built against it… and break them’. Those damned dams are what we learnt to build in all these years and it is time to identify them within and break them so love will flow relentlessly.
One of my friends asked at an earlier workshop, is there an exercise we can do to rattle those dams? I had never thought of an exercise. Seemed to me it is as strange as teaching a child how to feel when it sees a broken bird in a classroom with a blackboard and a test. Nonetheless I came up with something that may actually work.
1- Identify a person that has a need/wish/dream that you can provide.
2-Obtain the wish and put it in their path with the following conditions
a- The person should NEVER know you were involved
b- No one else should ever know you were involved
c-You shall be the only person to know for the rest of eternity
d-You suppress any thoughts of ‘What about….’?
If you do this and often this shall happen. You shall rise from your heart, like the sun rises from the east sooner than later. Not my words, Rumi’s
تو هنوز ناپدیدی ز جمال خود چه دیدی
سحری چو آفتابی ز درون خود برآیی
You are still invisible, what have you seen of your image?
In a distant dawn, as the sun, you shall rise, from the inside.