David Whyte spoke of a poem written by a woman. She wrote, “I turned my face for a moment, and it became my life.” I mentioned this last Friday evening to a group I was speaking with, and several people began to quiver and sob with recognition and with sadness.
This is the sadness of a true life not lived, but forsaken, in a moment of inattention, of misplacing our car keys in a fit of forgetfulness.
Within each of us is a ray of light, streaming toward us from within our own depth of original being. Within each of us is a pristine wilderness illuminated by the light of our original Self. When this light finds and penetrates our heart, we stand in that perfect moment on the true path of our life. This true path is what we are each looking for in everything we do and everything we pursue.
Our true path is not something that can be known definitively. It is not a packet of goals; it is not a set of aspirations; it is not a commitment. It is an inevitability which leads to recognition of our self as a ray of that light which calls us.
In the same way that light is silent, so is the knowing of our path. It is silent, and it is this silence which makes our path unknowable. Still, it is real. It is tangible. It is apparent. It is felt within the heart.
This feeling within the heart is known by each of us. It is that feeling towards which we want to move and in which we want to live. We have each felt the stirring of our path. It is always stirring within us and yet we often turn our face away, and this turning becomes our life. Our grief, our sadness, our regret, our unfulfilled longing-these are the hallmarks of the turning-away life.
The turning-away life has no energy. Without energy we slowly die. Nothing we do will stop the slow dying. We can not find enough meaning or purpose or love in the turning-away life to stop the slow sliding into asphyxia.
Having felt our path, why do we turn away? Perhaps it is some fear, or doubt, or a succumbing to the conventions of reason and the expectations of others which have become our false north star. Perhaps it is because the path can not be known as we can know the book on the shelf, or the bowl of potato chips on the table. Our path leads us to a recognition of our original self. Our original self exists prior to what we have come to think and believe and hope is so about life.
Our hoping that life is what we have come to think and believe it is rests in our desire for control. Our desire for control is a plea for security and safety in a world that is impermanent, a world that is equal parts creation and destruction, equal parts birth and death, equal parts being and non-being.
Our path is less about “what to do” and “who to be with” then it is a giving of oneself to the movement of silence and light that is reaching up from the depths of original being to the feeling nerves of the heart. When the feeling nerves of the heart begin to warm with this light of our path, we must go, and we must go all the way. This path leads through everything that we have set in the way of this direct experience of our own passionate originality.
If we have become incrusted with ideas and identities, these will be exposed. If we have become tense and fearful, this will be seen. If we are entangled and dependent on things to give us a feeling of security and well-being, these will be revealed. Whatever we have created that prevents the recognition of our original Self will be touched and tested by the fire of this light of our true path. Our path will take everything from us, and then everything returns. This is why we must go all the way. We can’t keep turning away.
The heat of this fire is why we turn away. This fire is total; it leaves nothing; it wants everything. But this hot fire and its relentless burning ends in great peace, great strength, great clarity. And all of this will be without knowing it. We will be it, by going all the way on the path that opens for us when the feeling nerves of the heart are heard, and listened to, and moved with in cataclysms and disasters of passionate self-acceptance.
May everyone be at peace, in love, and know their most perfect Self.
Robert Rabbin was an author, speaker, and advisor–who spent over 40 years using self-inquiry as a means to explore the true nature of self, mind, reality, and consciousness.