by Charles LaFond
“Knock, And He’ll open the door
Vanish, And He’ll make you shine like the sun
Fall, And He’ll raise you to the heavens
Become nothing, And He’ll turn you into everything.”
When the scouts returned to Moses to prove that “the promised land” was fruitful, they returned with a pomegranate as proof; full, luscious, sensuous. I begin most days, here in Marrakech, walking and eating a pomegranate. I walk past a cart full of them on my way to my studies each morning and the nice old man selling them always gives me one with a huge, toothless smile. Sometimes I wonder if he is Jesus in disguise or an “angel unawares” as the Bible says exist here and there.
What is the promised land for you and for me – our fruitfulness? We no longer trudge with Moses; we walk with Jesus. So what is the promised land now?
When Rumi speaks of the God he loves so much, he might as well be writing about a lover, a brother or a bride. This is life lived spiritually. I no longer believe in a spiritual life, I believe in the life which is lived. There is no life lived outside the spiritual life, just as there is no fish swimming outside water. The fish may or may not be aware of the water, conscious of it, I mean. But in no way is the fish ever swimming out of water and in no way are we ever not in a life that is spiritual. The only question is whether or not we are aware of the spiritual happening around and within us.
Sometimes I play with my black lab “Kai.” I wrestle with him. I toss bones and balls to his delight until he tires of my antics. I hide squeaky toys behind my back and make him figure out from where the sound comes – moving it all the time. Sometimes I stare at him and he stares back at me. If I smile he thumps his tail in reflexive delight. Now that I am away from home I play with a monkey in similar ways, though he is much faster.
Rumi is constantly playful with God. They have a passionate relationship borne out of time spent together. He was a great mystic, though he never would have described himself that way (which is always how you can tell one!). And as a spiritual leader beloved by the people, the other spiritual leaders did not much like him. Indeed he was finally murdered. But that too is the usual end of prophets and those close to God- they inspire envy – and so must die.
In your “life which is lived” immersed in spirit, in what way is God mischievous with you? Playful, teasing, goading and even sensuous? What door has God opened for you? When you try to vanish, how does God playfully shine a light on you? When you have fallen, can you see having been strangely lifted? When you become nothing, in life and beyond it, can you imagine God making all things new?