9/29/2016 0 Comments
An Invitation to the Temple...
"...People are going back and forth across the doorsill where the two worlds touch,
The door is round and open - Don't go back to sleep!” ― Jalaluddin Rumi
I get these little nudges sometimes.
Things that feel like a little inkling from the Powers-that-Be. A little "What's Up" from the Beyond. Or sometimes what feels like a cosmic downpour directly into my psyche. A less-grounded soul (or just an earlier version of myself) might take it as a delicate mental issue to be probed further. Something to be medicated or mitigated.
These days, however, whenever I find myself receiving little inklings from a Source that feels connected to a higher Wisdom than my own - I take 'em as my Marching Orders. And then I start 'a walkin'....
At the beginning of the summer, I had one such an inner Diatribe going.
We were on about the tenth day of gallivanting up the Oregon coast in our little camper, enjoying our daily promenades out onto the sand and surf. Cozying up to lacksidaisical nights by the campfire. Eating too many s'mores. Cracking beers in the afternoon. Doing whatever our meandering appetites dictated.
On the eve of the Summer Solstice, we wandered out upon the Dunes. Right at the turning of the sky - as both the moon and sun were rising & falling in equal opposition and camaraderie. And the rolling vistas of white, hard-packed silt beneath our feet felt like an entry point onto another Dimension. At the top of one such peak, breathless and gazing down upon another - I felt an Inner Voice begin to speak.
And crikey, if just saying that doesn't make me wanna cringe.
But there it is::: This Voice, bigger, much clearer & Wiser than the one that often speaks inside my head - inviting me to "Come Into the Temple". I closed my eyes. Took in another gust of the wild, salted air::: and quietly, in my innermost place, I whispered "Yes."
As a child, and still to this day, I love me a Sunday morning.
There is an air and a hush to the entire arrangement that is unrivaled throughout the week.
My sister and I were sent dutifully each Monday, in our plaid and saddle-shoed best to a stalwart religious school, where daily chapel services and Bible memorization were right up there on the menu, served with a side of reading, writing & 'rithmetic. You'd think come Sunday I'd have had enough of this sort of thing.
But there was always something to that morning.
I'd pick out my own dress.
Put on the frilly, lace socks that matched just so.
And we'd venture down to the little, white schoolhouse.
Sit upon uncomfortable, metal, folding chairs.
We'd sing and thumb our way through the onion-skin hymnals - though we knew most of the words by heart.
We'd be carried off to the back room at one point, where we were treated to some watered-down, cartoon versions of the stories in the Great Big Book, with hand-cut images of our beloved carpenter and his bearded troupe of followers displayed on a little felt board, for us all to take in and admire.
If we were lucky, there were picnics at the end. With about nine different versions of potato salad and staggering assortment of deviled eggs.
Sometimes, they'd pour a few too many dixie cups of Welch's grape juice, or mini saltine crackers for the earlier Communion, and we would be granted access to the little silver tray at the back of the back of the sanctuary, nestled by the pulpit.
Three or four of us kids, greedily clamoring for yet another swig or handful of the blood and body of our Lord, before the luncheon tables were set.
When I reached the sudden age where I could begin to hear and take in for myself the actual words and meanings that were being put forth in that tiny schoolhouse there, it saddened me that I would have to leave that place.
I would reach a moment - or, rather, a series of them, where the words being spoken - the agreements and alliances I was being asked to forge in order to claim of my ticket of admission to this holy place - would cost me allegiance to my own, timid heart & mind. I knew then that I was being called out from that familiar, country temple. My own fledgling conscience asking me to leave behind the words and rites and rituals - stone steps to God - that I'd been granted - and seek out new pathways all my own.
This hunger does not leave you.
Once it has been gifted you.
This deep, abiding bloodlust for the Divine.
To feel as if the steps you are taking are somehow taking you down the Garden Path.
That it is all somehow leading you somewhere.
That there is a plan perhaps at work.
An unseen, guiding force.
A meaning behind it all.
An indwelling desire to live our Lives in a way that has meaning, honor, reeks to high Heaven of Beauty.
To tread a path with Heart.
Even if we are unsure of the way.
I remember the first time I stepped onto a yoga mat.
A potty-mouthed, nicotine-scented teenage thing with a bad attitude, scruffy hair and a propensity to get drunk and sleep with strangers…
The practice was a minor revelation, to say the least.
The notion that This Body - which I had diligently starved & stuffed & purged & punished since the time I was 8.
This Body - which had been manhandled & date-raped & thoroughly negotiated to the sidelines in my wayward quest for Transcendence.
This Body - which I had always grappled my way out of - when encountered with a certain sense of Reverence - of Curiosity - of Grace - could, in fact, prove my way In - to the mythic realm of the Sublime.
Could, in fact, guide me Home.
A new language opened up inside of me then.
I still love a good Sunday morning.
Though I have since learned new ways to pray.
Some days it will look like me poised just at the lip of the Ocean - dipping my feet into the foamy blessing at my feet - gazing out into the point where the Horizon intermingles with the land - ushering up a silent prayer of “Thanks” for all the Grace that abounds inside my world.
Some days it will look like me singing - swaying my body back & forth before an ancient piano - or huddled over, fumbling my way through the 8 or 9 chords I’ve managed to eke out on the ukulele - humming my way through a Tori Amos tune or the Beatles - or something borrowed from a dog-eared Hindu chant book. Mouth open- eyes closed - reaching deep into that cavernous place inside where God resides. Goddess. Kuan Yin & the Buddha too. And a rag-tag band of angels all clamoring along with me on a full-fledged chorus line of, “Oh Hell Yes.”
Some days it will look like me watering the garden.
Cutting the vegetables.
Folding the wash.
Drying the dishes.
Some days it will look like me weeping.. Running… unsure of where to turn next.
Other days it will look like me seated on the sofa, placidly stroking the head of blonde resting on my lap.
It will look like me tilting my head back in a silent wail of Joy - as a wave of pleasure pulsates through my Being.
It will look like me waking early - pouring the strong coffee or tea, lighting the candle, burning the sage, rolling out the mat, or seated on the cushion, or dipping into the pages of the tattered moleskin once more, scribbling with the trusty ballpoint - finding my way back.
It will look so ordinary - these prayers of mine.
You’ll hardly know I’m doing it.
All the while…
I’ll be silently calling out the names of god - both the ones I know - and the ones I’ve yet to encounter:::
Let me be guided.
Let me be of service.
Let my work prove useful, solid, beautiful - of Value.
Let me play the part I’ve been given to play - and let me do it Well.”
It's been years - a lifetime, even - since I’ve journeyed outside the small temple of my childhood.
And yet…. It has managed to spring up Everywhere.
The doorway round & open… Inviting me, and this fickle, seeker’s heart of mine - again & again to Enter. Visit. Rest. Reside.
And if I am listening… for what comes next - the answer always comes. A fervent, grateful, “Yes.”
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