Diving Deep — the path is “underwater” — beneath the surface, in a place few can survive. Half measures simply will not do
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Many moons ago, I wrote a series of articles featuring some of Rumi’s poems. I think it’s time for a revisit.
Jelaluddin Rumi lived during the 13th century. He was a theologian with his own divinity school. At age 37, through a relationship with a dervish monk, Shams, Rumi began to transform his being, and in the process, to write some of the most beautiful mystical poetry ever written. For the next several weeks, we’ll reflect on some of his poems.
I’m using a translation from the book The Illuminated Rumi.
Late, by myself, in the boat of myself, no light and no land anywhere, cloud cover thick.
I try to stay just above the surface, yet I’m already under and living within the ocean.
Some days, we’re simply lost under a cloud of illusion.
One deadly illusion is that we erroneously believe that can think our way into an enlightened state, or think our way out of the reality we confront.
Trying to “stay just above the surface” — to be less than 100% “immersed” — is to deny the reality of the depths of what we seek.
So, how was that for an obscure opening?
Why do we believe what we believe? As I wrote in my book, Living Life in Growing Orbits, our beliefs have been embedded in us by our culture and our tribes. This includes our beliefs about illness, and healing, and wholeness, and definitely includes our beliefs about what we are capable of.
Most people choose to spend their lives in ignorance. Diving Deep scares them… they refuse to explore the beliefs they hold — despite the problems their hidden beliefs have led to. We thus are prone to be confused; we know something is “wrong,” but we resist looking at our belief systems for the cause.
© The Toronto Star, edits mine
It’s right in the middle of the Olympics right now. The Canadian Olympics Women’s Curling Team was eliminated from medals last night. This is the first time since the 90’s the women won’t take home a medal.
Rachel Homan, the Skip, has been well off her game, as in, curling terribly. In all of her interviews, she refuses to talk about her curling. She says, “The other teams are really tough.” As Darbella put it: “The other teams didn’t win; Canada lost.”
In the last end, Canada missed 4 SHOTS!! including 2 thrown by Homan. I would love her to say, “Boy, was I ever off my game. I apologise.” (It would be so Canadian to do so — she’d get country-wide props.) Indeed, as the Toronto Star put it: “Here [the Olympics], after curling 77 per cent for the tournament (she normally curls 85% — a dominant percentage) Homan seemed stunned to the point of residing in a state of denial.”
Great line, that. How many, we wonder, are also “residing in a state of denial” regarding their lives?
We were once at a party, and the conversation turned to Bodywork, psychotherapy and “getting it.” There were three women having the conversation, in the main, while I and a few others listened. They were comparing notes. In general, they all agreed that the turning point in their Bodywork and their internal search, for each of them, in their own way, came when they stopped trying to “understand.”
It’s very western of us to look for explanations for everything.
Our little heads want to think and think, and come up with the meaning of, say, our feelings. (I’m amazed at how many people want to think a feeling.) We desperately want to understand why “I am unhappy while everyone else is happy, successful, whatever.”
We want to pretend that the only real or important game is the one played in our head — and that the rules for this game are clear, so we must be stupid for not getting it.
But what if all of this is simply an illusion? What if this version of “reality” — isn’t?
As Rumi points out, just under the surface of the illusory game of “figuring it all out” is the real game. It’s like Rumi is suggesting that he had been deluding himself forever, thinking he was in a slow and heavily laden boat, making time, keeping afloat. And then, he wakes up to discover that he’s always been in another realm altogether. This level seems “just below the surface.”
By diving deep, he discovers that he is living in the ocean of underlying purpose.
Normally, there is a nattering chatter in one’s head — the “trying to understand” and therefore “control” voice. (Or, as Dar describes it, “I don’t care what I do as long as I do it right.” As if there is a “right” way, as opposed to a Darbella way.)
The three women spoke of the need to simply let the chatter fade to background. To, in other words, get out of the way. As that happens, another understanding takes its place, a visceral understanding. The world becomes imbued with color, and meaning.
This approach applies to any aspect of life — to relationships, jobs, whatever. It’s another, deeper way of seeing.
In this process — the hard work of “deepening” — our resistance to change and to shifts in direction seem to disappear. It seems magical, until you realize that, always, the way we see the world isn’t real.
It’s just this moment’s story.
The more restricted self-story you tell yourself, the more you limit yourself — the more stalling around you do with regards to beginning to operate from another perspective — the more miserable you become.
On the other hand, the more you open yourself to the possibility of doing things differently — the more open you are to experimentation and pushing the limits — the more you notice that you are submerged in a field of possibility so vast as to be unlimited.
The fear is that you will get lost, that you will lose control, that things will cease being predictable. The joke is that nothing is predictable, there is no control possible and there is no “there” to get lost in.
Dar and I have been working on this for 36 years. Our learning so far is this: no matter how far we go, we’ve only scratched the surface of the possible. With each breath, with each dive beneath the surface, vistas open before us.
The limit is not in the ocean. The limit arises if I choose, in my fear and doubt, to close my eyes, climb back into the heavy boat, and stop the process.
We’re glad you’re along for the walk. Now, open your eyes and see, breathe and feel, and notice — life lived at the boundary and in the depths is the only bliss there is.
Unless you’re willing to settle for being stuck.
And you’re not doing that, are you??