Well my letters to you keep getting out and, BOOM, out of the ether came an email from a stranger who had some interesting observations, asked some probing questions which opened the doors to musing and contemplation but, most importantly, is a restless soul who, like me, has still not found what they’re looking for. Remember our very first letter?
There are two rules on the Spiritual path:
Begin and ContinueSufi Saying
Now, we’ve exchanged two or three emails and I made mention that I nearly used U2’s I still haven’t found what I’m looking for as the quote that sits in the header of the blog. As you can see, I finally settled on Thich Nhat Hahn. No regrets. You might want to pause and go listen to U2 for a few moments? Like, set the mood for what’s to come.
Right, mood set? Let’s progress..
As things are apt to do my mention of U2, fellow restless souls themselves, prompted this person to go listen to Iris by the Goo Goo Dolls and then, when writing to me, make reference to the line “And I don’t want the world to see me”.
Need another music break?
Now, I will give you what would normally be termed “The small print” so you know a little about the song. The song was inspired by the film The City of Angels and is about an angel prepared to give up his (it’s a male angel) immortality to work through the love he’s experiencing. As the songwriter has commented, “what an amazing thing it must be like to love someone so much that you give up everything for them”. And I know where your thoughts are going…
“Isn’t that so Jesus?” I’m hearing you say. But, hey, give me some time to finish because, well how are you going to work that line from the song into your thoughts, “I just don’t want the world to know who I am”?
But there’s another line in the song that does work for you and it’s in the chorus. “I just want you to know who I am”, and holding the two lines together makes sense and suggests something intimate and personal. Something precious but something that would not be appreciated or even understood by many. A baring of souls and the essence of relationship.
To echo the thoughts of my correspondent: “What if this was God’s perspective?” If God were speaking directly to you or me? If God actually dealt at the micro level and wasn’t about mass exposure? I mean, and correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t there an occasion when Jesus counsels his disciple against giving precious things, sacred things to those who would treat them badly. Pearls before swine is the language. God things just shouldn’t be given away randomly. I mean, isn’t the motif of the mountain a regular occurrence in the Bible and other religious texts? The seeker climbs to a place of solitude to be with God.
You can hear the footsteps of God when silence reigns in the mind.Sai Baba
Now as you know I’ve climbed a mountain or two and I know it takes effort and a certain dedication. It doesn’t come easy so lets add determination to the rucksack. People look up at the ascent and…”No, not for me”. People give up having set out half hearted.
Am I positing a limited experience of God? No and Yes.
Firstly God is love par excellance, the starting point for love, the essence. As such Her presence will never be excluded from anyone. There is an openness and availability to everyone, in a general way. Think of a caring parent who, having provided for the children stands off and watches them play. You can’t force relationships.
And Yes, whilst all experience God in a general way, whether they know it or not, a few experience Her in a very specific intimate way because God makes God’s self available but in a way and a place that requires the seeker to demonstrate commitment. Using mountain language, God invites the seeker to ascend the heights. Someone once said that God keeps God’s most precious things for those who dare.
Now to pick up one more thought from my point of inspiration. My hoped to be friend closes the email by suggesting that the relationship is established by ‘sitting’ more than ‘seeking’ them comments that they possess poor ability to just sit. But is that not the mountain? Not all mountains are an ascent. Didn’t God say in many places that He would be found in stillness, in inactivity when all effort has been abandoned. I have previously written that “(i)t’s in inaction we’ll find what we are looking for …(f)inding God is so counterintuitive”.
Silence is the language of God, all else is poor translation.Rumi
Let me conclude. I believe God can be known in a very general way and hides from no one. But there is a knowing of God, again available to all but sought by very few. That God hides much because it’s precious and many would treat it with reckless indifference and in doing so lose the possibility of intimacy. I’m thinking the song writer got it right.
And I don’t want the world to see me
I just want you to know who I am.
God takes intimacy seriously like a lover waiting in the shadows to meet. So take time out, do nothing and find eternity. Simple. Or not?
Yours, going for a lay down and a little revelation,