It starts with listening. Listening to the ceaseless display of sounds. Listening to others and their unspoken words. Listening to our mind like a patient parent listens to a child’s silly stories. Listening to our body, respecting its rhythms, limitations and innate intelligence because the body knows what to do while the mind gets in the way.
In listening we touch the silence that takes us to the core of the heart. Here we can drop our head filled with imagination and skepticism. Like the Sufi mystic Rumi we can become gullible and mad as wisdom and madness are one and the same. Shams Tabrizi, Rumi’s teacher, says that the chemistry of mind is different from the chemistry of love. The mind is careful, suspicious and advances little by little, whereas love says “let yourself go!” Can we then become crazy enough to be an unconditional listener rather than a man, a woman, a parent, a student, a leader, a teacher?
Meera Bai, the Rajput princess, says: “If you want to love be prepared to cut off your head and sit on it.” The Buddhists cut the Buddha’s head in a famous Zen koan because, after all, can we find Him in temples and churches or questioning philosophers and scientists? God is love and love is God. Is the highest love then spiritual or can it be material and physical as well? Kabir reminds us to not discriminate because love does not. Love IS, and we are either in, at the center, or out. But even under the illusion of being in the periphery, who is the one yearning for love? It’s in the yearning and in the fear of approaching the flame that we remember… and then we can rip our heart out and scatter it like smoke in the ten directions.