‘Meditation is old and honorable, so why should I not sit, every morning of my life, on the hillside, looking into the shining world? Because, properly attended to, delight, as well as havoc, is suggestion. Can one be passionate about the just, the ideal, the sublime, and the holy, and yet commit to no labor in its cause?’ -Mary Oliver
I love these words by Mary Oliver and I believe them whole heartedly! At its core, walking a spiritual path requires discipline, it requires commitment and labor, it requires showing up when things are good and showing up when things are not so good. It requires sitting on the cushion when we feel alert and balanced and full of vigor and also when we feel tired and sleepy and not so full of vigor! Above all, it requires letting go of purpose and agenda…and trusting that wherever we are is exactly where we need to be.
‘Be courageous and discipline yourself…Work. Keep digging your well. Don’t think about getting off from work. Water is there somewhere.’, says Rumi. All these wise words point to showing up and doing the work.
And yet, how do we respond when we forget to show up? That too is part of the practice! Do we berate ourselves and pile on the self judgement or do we soften in tenderness for the challenging life circumstances that have prevented us from coming to our mat, or cushion? Above all, do we give ourselves permission to begin over?
Beginning over and over is the practice. And we do it not because its what we should do, but because we have a choice and it’s what we choose to do. And every time we choose to begin over, we open the door to spontaneous joy, the joy that arises from making time to listen to our soul, our spirit, the inner most voice inside that speaks only when we become silent… And that spontaneous joy that ‘comes and sits softly on my shoulder’ (in the words of Thoreau) gives me the courage to stay on the path.
So, here is to discipline and joy and supporting each other on the path…
With metta, S
Ps: please enjoy my latest collage for which I used Brush Dance’s Rumi calendar from 2007 as backdrop…