There’s No Escape

A friend and I were talking about our limitations the other day, our differing resistances to God. While we both want to surrender to the spiritual stream like a leaf floating on the surface of the water, content to go where the current takes it, we see ourselves as fighting upstream or trying to stay rooted in the mud.

I think we missed the point, though. We’re not the leaf—we’re part of the flow. All of us are the current and the water molecules. We were seeking to surrender to something external when all that’s needed is to recognize our true nature. As Richard Rohr says, you are what you seek.

This is somehow, incomprehensibly true even when we are in full resistance mode. And I do mean incomprehensibly. How can we be the flow that is God on the days when we’re mean or self-centered or just plain crabby?

I don’t know, but it must be true: in God we live and move and have our being. That statement contains no qualifiers. Not “sometimes,” not “when we’re fully present,” not “when I’ve been so good I’m sure my third eye is going to open any minute.”

To claim that we’re not that flow is like saying, today, I choose not to be a carbon-based life form. Not gonna happen. Today, I choose to be separate from God. Sorry, not up to you.

Does this mean it doesn’t matter when we’re impatient or unkind? I ask questions like this a lot, but they’re kind of stupid. The people on the receiving end of our misery-making—including ourselves—can answer that question. Of course it matters. It’s just that there’s room in God for all of it, and when we see that none of our faults can change that, we’re more likely to say, with the Sufi poet Hafiz,

I do not want to touch any object in this world
Without my eyes testifying to the truth
That everything is
My Beloved.

Or perhaps when we get even more daring:

All I know is Love,
And I find my heart Infinite
And Everywhere!


Poems “Today” and an excerpt in the introduction from The Gift by Hafiz, translated by Daniel Ladinsky.

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