The Reversal Is Real: Wait Without Hope

How has the “reversal” shown up in your life?

I said to my soul, be still, 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 dancing.
Whisper of running streams, and winter lightning.
The wild thyme unseen and the wild strawberry,
The laughter in the garden, echoed ecstasy
Not lost, but requiring, pointing to the agony
Of death and birth.

T. S. Eliot, East Coker

God’s presence is there in front of me, a fire on the left, a lovely stream on the right.  One group walks toward the fire, into the fire,  another toward the sweet flowing water.  No one knows which are blessed and which not.

Whoever walks into the fire appears suddenly in the stream. A head goes under on the water surface, that head pokes out of the fire.

Most people guard against going into the fire, and so end up in it. Those who love the water of pleasure and make it their devotion are cheated with this reversal.

The trickery goes further. 

The voice of the fire tells the truth saying, I am not fire. I am fountainhead. Come into me and don’t mind the sparks.

If you are a friend of God, fire is your water. You should wish to have a hundred thousand sets of mothwings, so you could burn them away, ONE SET A NIGHT.

The moth sees light and goes into fire.  You should see fire and go toward light.

Fire is what of God is world-consuming.  

Water, world-protecting.

Somehow, each gives the appearance of the other.  To these eyes you have now, what looks like water burns. What looks like fire is a great relief to be inside.  

You’ve seen a magician make a bowl of rice seem a dish full of tiny, live worms. Before an assembly with one breath he made the floor swarm with scorpions that weren’t there.

How much more amazing God’s tricks! 

Generation after generation lies down, defeated, they think, but they’re like a woman underneath a lover, circling.

One molecule-mote-second thinking of God’s reversal of comfort and pain is better than any attending ritual. 

That splinter of intelligence is substance.
The fire and water themselves: accidental, done with mirrors.  

The Question, by Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks with John Moyne in The Essential Rumi