I had a dream a few weeks ago. Sometimes I have dreams that are so striking that I’m startled awake. There are certain dreams that are very commonplace and ordinary. There are other dreams that grip you startle you, shake you awake. This was that kind of dream.
It was the dream that there was a society, a secret society and membership in that society was based on one very simple criterion no other factors were important. There was just one criterion. It was made up of individuals who were vividly alive to, and awake to, the intense mystery and responsibility of having somehow inexplicably landed out here out of nothingness on this crest of the wave this frontier of reality’s own self-disclosure to be here now awake, alert, feeling, seeing witnessing.
We don’t deserve it. We didn’t earn it. We have landed. We have been created, formed and here we are, spirits, bodies, senses, intuition, revelation, all bound up together, reality witnessing itself. Yet mostly we’re asleep. We don’t join the society because we are asleep. But the dream tells me that the doors of that society are open.
I’d like to share an experience that I had at the very end of my father’s life. I was with him when he was in the last stages of life. I was at his bedside. We were watching over him, day after day. One could feel everyday, his spirit expanding more. He was going to places beyond before even his heartbeat had stopped.
And I used to read to him, from this book, in fact this very copy of this book, which is the book of my grandfather, Gayan Vadan Nirtan. It contains my grandfather’s poetry and prayers and aphorisms, and I used to read to my father when he was nearing the end. Sometimes I wasn’t sure if he heard the words. There was no response and yet I felt, I trusted somehow that the words were going in and he was hearing them somehow.
But once I read a poem, a raga, and I could see his countenance open up, and he let out a deep sigh. He’d really heard it. And this is a poem that spoke so perfectly to that moment and spoke so perfectly to the transition of one who has climbed mountains, swum in the sea, loved and lived the full experience of a human life and is now moving on to another plane of being
What remains of these experiences?
What was the purport of what has been tasted here?
These are the words in the poem:
Beloved, thou makest me fuller everyday.
Thou diggest into my heart deeper than the depths of the earth.
Thou raisest my soul
higher than the highest heaven,
making me more empty everyday,
and yet fuller.
Thou makest me wider than the ends of the world. Thou stretchest my two arms
across the land and the sea,
giving into my enfoldment, the east and the west.
Thou changest my flesh into fertile soil.
Thou turnest my blood into streams of water.
Thou kneadest my clay, I know, to make a new universe.
To make a new universe…
Is this not really the answer to our question: Why did I come, what did I come to experience? and what did I come to contribute? Those are not two different questions. What I came to experience is what I came to contribute. To make a new universe. And it is not I that make the new universe; it is that in being stretched, in being kneaded, in the water of my blood pouring into the streams, into the ocean. In my flesh folding into the landscape, this physical universe itself is distilled in my heart as a perfume.The petals of the rose crumble into dust. The perfume lives on. And as we leave this plane of manifestation the quintessence of our central experience is distilled, uploaded, carried over, and a new earth is creating itself, through the womb of the human heart.
We did not make this universe. We were brought forth. We were configured, out of the dust of stars, out of the whole saga of the evolution of the planet. We emerge into awareness with our birth, but with our birth a second stage begins, and now the earth does not evolve to produce us, but we evolve to produce the new earth.
Mowlana Rûmî speaks about this. This is the messiah. The prophets have always answered the crisis of the age, but we live in the post-prophetic age. The great religious dispensations have revealed themselves. Something of the prophetic mission has been sealed. And when we look for the prophetic function, we look for the messiah. Great wars are currently under preparation for the sake of this messiah. It is believed, zealously, that the coming of this one, would have to be brought about by strife, conflict. The one who will save us, will only save us if we make things so bad that there’s no other way.
This is the insane logic of messianism that is tearing the world apart. But the messiah is real. The messiah will save. How will this messiah come? Rûmî gives the answer. As a muslim, for Rûmî, the figure of Christ represents that messianic being. Just as Christians look to Christ, at the end times, muslims too, anticipate Christ’s arrival .
So, Rûmî reminds us of how Christ came into the world. He reminds us of Mary. He reminds us of the annunciation, the incarnation of pure spirit in the womb of Mary. And that annunciation is the symbol of a process that is occurring in the heart of each one of us.
Mowlana Rûmî says, the Great Soul, Ghan Ikoul, the Soul of all souls, came into contact with the little soul, the little self, the personal self. The Self of the totality rubbed up against, came into friction with the little self, and something occurred that could not have otherwise occurred. The divine self, the great immensity of the totality, in itself was insufficient. The little ego, the little self, in itself, was certainly insufficient, but in the conjunction of these realities a birth occurred into the womb which is the heart. A seed, a pearl entered. And from that pearl, a fetus, an embryo is growing. That embryo is the messiah, and Mowlana Rûmî says that when this messiah is born into the world, the world will unite with this messiah, and through that marriage, a new world will be born.
A new world will be birthed out of the tension, out of the friction that we experience in our heart between that which is beyond us, that which is infinite and eternal, the totality, reality itself and this little transitory, ephemeral entity, that is our personal self. In the encounter between these opposites, something new, true creativity, a true frontier of discovery, of disclosure, of evolution becomes possible. In the dialogue, in the interchange, in the rubbing, the friction, the little self and the big whole. And that which comes out of us transforms the world.
Now Mowlana Rûmî also says, he tells the story of Mary who symbolizes this process, her womb is the heart that contains the messiah. that she on conceiving the messianic child went to visit her cousin Elizabeth and her cousin, seeing her, immediately knew that she was with child and she congratulated her, and she said I knew because I too am pregnant, and she was pregnant with Saint John the Baptist.
And she said I knew because my child bowed down, prostrated, in the womb when I saw you because it, my son, saw your son and Mary said, I know because when I saw you, my child bowed down in the womb before your child.
Isn’t that what we’re doing here? Isn’t that why we have come together, to feel the bowing down that happens in the heart of each of us when we witness the divine child, that is emerging within the heart of the other? This is the messiah whose advent we can look toward joyfully. Dedicate our life to opening the way.