There are so many amazing things a person could choose to learn about in this world, enough to fill whole lifetimes– like the way photons make decisions when faced with the conundrum of a diffraction grating, or the way high-speed traders manipulate the flow of money on time scales that make the pace of human thought seem like canyon-making, or how the fashion industry unraveled the mystery of the neons. There was a time when these things or those very much like them seemed important, when I was filled by the desire to understand. To make sense of it all.
That lasted for a few decades, off and mostly on. Now I am simply filled by Desire, and I have eyes for only one Moment. Making sense is an ancillary concern. When it crops up, making sense means translating every scrap of thought to its proper orientation to Love. To do this, I take a breath, look inward, and wait for a feeling. I’ve done this enough to wait without interrupting, that’s the key. It’s a lot like fishing. You can’t will the fish to bite.
One day you look up and realize your life took a seeming wrong turn. The lawn is a weed-infested travesty of modern horticulture. Your job is milling your goodness into bits. Your adolescent friends are emoticon remnants of the gang that used to sneak out at midnight, intoxicated by a wordless energy everyone used to exhale into the starry sky as plumes of warm steam. Your whole reality is out of tune. Take a breath… Wait for it… Six giggling beings from ten thousand years ago crowd into your mind like they just stepped off the light beam, eager to see what the buzz is about. You expand into eight dimensions.
A month or so ago I was jump-starting my diurnal activities with a pastel purple mug of home-brewed coffee in one hand, and The Essential Rumi in the other, when I chanced upon the line, “Until you’ve kept your eyes and your wanting still for fifty years, you don’t begin to cross over from confusion.” I made immediately to start the oven timer, but it doesn’t have that kind of depth. The passage left me with that aching recognition you get when Forever bursts forth from the Now like a puma scratching its way out from behind the wallpaper in the den, an instant when making sense dissolves into a placid warmth that wraps itself around every aspect of your life. Even though it hasn’t even been one minute, never mind fifty years, I’d been reminded. The promise of those words had been fulfilled.
Though I’ve given up on making sense, I’ve not given up on the love of connections. A few weeks later I was reading from the Dialogues of A Course of Love, and walked smack dab into a discourse by Jesus on this very subject. He said, “You can only fast from want by realizing what it is you desire.” There it was again, fasting from want… Moving into clarity… He and Rumi must be friends, I thought. I bet they go fishing together.
Later Jesus said, “The condition of want, like all conditions of learning, ended with the end of learning… When you have felt the reality of union, you have felt the place in which no want exists.” To put this in context, after a lovely build-up in the Course of Love and then a bit of eye-opening discussion in the Treatises, in the Dialogues we are standing on the beach, mending our nets and bad-mouthing the fickle ocean waters, when Christ walks up, looks us straight in the eye and pops the question: “Are you ready?”
If you’re asking yourself ready for what? I think this passage about sums it up, wherein Jesus says, “I do not have to spell out this choice for you, for you know exactly what it means. It means you will be as I am. It means you will live from love rather than fear. It means that you will demonstrate what living from love is. It means that you will resurrect to eternal life here and now. It means no turning back, no return to fear or anger, no return to separation, no return to judgment. It means no longer trying to leave these things behind because they will be gone. It will mean no longer striving. It will mean no specialness. It will mean the individual is gone, and the Self of union all that continues to exist. It will mean peace, certainty, safety and joy with no price.”
All my life has been a prelude to the final resolution of this question, as has yours. All lives are a prelude until the choice to return is made. What I love about the Dialogues is that Jesus isn’t giving us instruction on how to prepare properly for this choice, on how to become perfect enough to be ready, or how to purify ourselves sufficiently to approach the gates. He is simply asking if we will accept the Truth of who we are, right now, and walk away from a life predicated upon learning. This is fasting from want forever, by accepting fulfillment.
As I wobble around this Moment, feeling those residual fears and what-if’s and self-judgments make their plays, I am beginning to sense the power of not understanding this at all. Fasting from want requires that I simply let go of understanding what the present moment contains that I may recognize the response of Love to Love, that I may stumble into the fulfillment of Desire. Fasting from want means that I give up all reference points about how or what I am doing, that I not turn back, and that I say Yes on that beach without knowing where I will be two days later. This doesn’t necessarily mean getting in the car and driving without looking back. This is about jumping off the conceptual cliff, and free-falling into the heart of our own being.
If you are considering acceptance of your inheritance and your rightful place in Timelessness, and feel that desire building to move in NOW, but find you are like me… uncertain of your merits or qualifications at times, questioning the reliability of your willingness, afraid of what will be asked of you, stymied by your emotional response to traffic or blatant human rudeness, sometimes unsure of how to respond in conversation, unable to hold the picture of yourself as you truly are in all moments you encounter, or pained by your inability cure the world of its horrible pains and evils, then I’m going to go out on a limb and say you are ready. We are ready. It is so hard to accept, I think, that this is precisely what being ready looks like… I know it doesn’t make sense, but we gave up on that gambit forty nine years, three-hundred and sixty-four days, twenty-three hours and fifty-nine minutes ago.
There are so many amazing things a person could choose to learn about in this world, but only one real choice: to choose what lies beyond learning… To redeem your heart-ticket for what comes next…