"God picks up the reed-flute world and blows. Each note is a need coming through one of us, a passion, a longing pain. Remember the lips where the wind-breath originated, and let your note be clear. Don't try to end it. Be your note."
I have always loved Rumi because he uses metaphor in ways that speak directly to my heart. In this poem he invites us to open ourselves to being available to the impulses of energy that move through us that, too often, we either miss or are avoiding. Have you ever had a strong emotion or longing -- or even a twinge of pain -- arise in the field of your awareness, and then quickly brushed it off, continuing on with whatever you were doing rather than sitting with it and allowing it to speak to you? In our intensely fast-paced lives, it's probably safe to say we all have. However, consider the idea that the impulse of that strong emotion, longing, or pain could be the unexpressed desire of your soul essence (that place within us where Infinite presence has personalized itself) seeking our attention. Some of us make a practice of busying ourselves in the periphery of our daily lives, avoiding the message that is being conveyed at the center of our being, perhaps because if we do hear it we fear we then may have to do something about it. Our emotions are messengers we need to learn to listen to and honor.
It is crucial that we learn how to access and experience our emotions on a regular basis. In their great book, The Heart of the Soul, Gary Zukav and Linda Francis point out that your emotions are like:
A 24-hour-a-day news program designed especially for you. Its information is always correct, appropriate, and timely. Anger, rage, jealousy, despair, vengefulness, and every other painful emotion call your attention to where it is needed. If you do not respond, calls keep coming ... when you welcome your emotions as teachers, every emotion brings good news, even emotions that are painful. They tell you whether energy is leaving your energy system in fear and doubt or in love and trust. Knowing when energy leaves you in fear and doubt gives you the opportunity to change. That information is painful to receive, but without it you cannot change.
The long-term effect of continuing to avoid the calls to which Zukav and Francis are referring may result in some sort of physical condition that finally gets our attention the hard way. The good news is it doesn't have to be that way. Emotions are simply energy in motion -- it is a matter of being mindful enough, that when they do arise, we don't resist them but rather we welcome them as "reporters" that are informing us of energy manifesting in and through our bodies in a positive or a negative manner. Once aware and given the choice, which would you choose? With a slight shift in perspective we might see that the messages being sent to us through our emotions (be them pleasant or painful) and longings are simply divine nudges from infinite presence inviting us to open to a larger idea of life -- one that is more fully expressed as wholeness in positive, creative ways.
Rumi cautions us to not try to "end the note" being sent, but rather be open and allow it to become part of us to the extent that we hear its message. Sometimes it's difficult to sit with "what is" in the moment and listen to what the sacred self has to say because we surround ourselves with so many distractions. Maybe the strong emotions, longings, and even the pain, arise in those moments when we need to be reminded of the one truth that we tend to most often forget; perhaps it is the beloved wanting to tell us we are never alone, irrespective of where we are or what the circumstances may be.
The practice is to imagine yourself as an instrument through which the one blows a single, continuous, beautiful note called life. The wisdom of Rumi rings so profoundly simple: Listen to and honor your emotional longings, including those waves of both pleasure and pain. Letting your note be clear is to always remember the sacred lips from which the tune is being played loves the instrument as much as the tune Itself.
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