Sunday, November 28, 2010
Song of The Open Field
photo: jesse r meredith
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I'll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn't make any sense. -- Rumi
The analytic mind has its place. The fullness of sensory lushness has its place too. Experience, that instant recording of sense and intellect, combines in giving us a history, a sense of our self, a place to stand from which we can define and evaluate all that constantly shifts around us. Yet even deeper below these aspects there is an ancient urge to inhale and exhale, to shield oneself from harm, to test the truth as perceived. Much in our human experience rests in the responses of this ancient center of the brain and neurology. Call it fight or flight, or anything you want, if not ruled by it, we must consciously recognize it and work beyond its impulses.
I love this poem of Rumi's (Sufi mystic poet) that so simply steps beyond these limitations of mind's self-absorption. Recently I acquired a Tibetan singing bowl, and even with my totally rudimentary skills, the song it sings goes so deep. This vibrational quality resides in music of all times and places, and can be held in the simple tone poem of "OM." In my classes I sometimes say that it is present in all things and we hear it when it rises to the surface, but it works the other way too. Even without vocalizing, just being present, this vibration can reach deep into the being quality without getting stuck on words, meanings, separations of self or other.
Devotional chanting is not something that makes everyone comfortable, kind of like singing in a church choir is not for everyone. There is an uncanny feeling of self awareness when sound emits from your own throat and joins almost indistinguishably from ambient sound. Self begins to separate and merge along with the sound itself. This can happen even without vocalizing. Silent "OM" is often more wide open than even that which we speak.
Meditation can be an invitation to be in that place, that field Rumi refers to, where the dualistic right/wrong, me/you cease to exist. Even being there for one second as you read Rumi's words, even one second in that field can change everything else.