Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments,
Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover
to remove.Shakespeare, Sonnet 116
There lies within a great objective Love, constant and true only to itself. The syllabi for this truth is held in one’s life experiences, each one connected to a divine well no matter how ordinary, dull, messy, ugly, or cruel. As we mature we know, more and more but never completely, that the journey to knowing this Love is “hard and steep” with many deaths and sorrows, never complete, unfinished til our last breath, the final act. It takes the bold strength of faith, born of seeing at least one of those moments honestly with the heart, to hold the uncertainty of incompleteness amidst many attractive and opposing impediments that promise sweet relief and feel oh so right for reasons yet unknown, revealed slowly over time through sorrow’s gate.
We come to know, more and more, how we ourselves admit myriad impediments, at a quickening pace, spiraling toward death, over and over and over again. Death interrupts, stopping and slowing the cacophony of impediments careening toward it as the moth to the flame, inviting us each time to bow to the emptiness of loss, however it is born.
Death comes in many forms throughout our short lives and from all directions, inviting us to bow to pure sorrow that arrives or is born, not made or conjured. We are invited to bow, not to the sorrow born out of an idea, manufactured or possessed, disguising fear, doubt and selfish impediments in holy dress. No, no, no. The sorrow I am speaking of arrives from Mystery alone, compassionately aware of fear, doubt and selfish impediments lying in the mix, Mystery weeping for us and with us, always, calling for our return home, awakening the map engraved in our hearts at birth.
Sorrow is a form of ultimate Love that slows the quickening pace breaking our backs, our hearts, our bodies, our spirit. Sorrow turns our paper thin and childish understanding into a diamond, toward a mature relationship with Love, a mature relationship toward Life where we become children rolling out of our center, free, joyful, and dancing. Sorrow is the west wind that carries us Home to Amor. Sorrow is the fire that burns away impediments, a hundred moth wings. Sorrow is the wing of God that shelters us from the unreal. Sorrow is Joy, unmasked.
This love “feeds on faith”, strong confidence that grows with each observed sorrow held in a contemplative container. Such containers hold the still point and the movement. Their design, their principles are always the same architecturally, simple and ordinary: be still and silent, without hope, without thought, without love. Daily sitting practice – bowing to stillness, silence, and the breath of life – is the repetitive movement that raises real consciousness. In the waiting, the impediments rise up. It is painful to witness. In the waiting, the impediments slow down, cool and evaporate. In the waiting Mystery enters revealing new understanding. In the waiting a mustard size seed of humility is planted in the heart by Her, releasing boulders from the heart….changing the world, one breath at a time, one moment at a time, into the hidden matrix of All.
I said to my soul, be still,T.S. Eliot. East Coker
and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing;
wait without love,
For love would be love of the
wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and
the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you
are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the
light, and the stillness the
Whisper of running streams,
and winter lightning.
The wild thyme unseen and the
The laughter in the garden,
Not lost, but requiring, pointing
to the agony
Of death and rebirth
The stillness….of reverence…opening the gates of Joy.
The stillness opening the gates for the children…
Walt sits, in the movie Gran Torino, knowing that when impediments flood, the stillness is All. Trained by battle. Trained by sorrow. He waited. Still. In silence. He heard, from the silence, the sacrifice to be made that returned life to the children, the next generation.