Prelude to joy

The last place we want to go is into our suffering, the weepy skin of our pain, the emotional tsunami of our fears.

The last place we want to dive is the swimming pool of our repressed tears,  our teeth-chattering restlessness, our nervous not-knowing, the embarrassing way we intend one thing before reacting in the oldest patterns of our live-long days. 

Yet the last place we want to go is where our savior lies.  Where everything we’ve been dreaming lies.  Where God sits on the throne and angels flit around our crown.  Where Buddha chuckles.  Where Allah sings.  Where the Great Spirit unfolds us in arms so wide we’re hugged through Eternity.

Into the fire, into the fire!  When we’re ready, when we’re through resting, when we’re tired of agonizing, eventually we turn toward the flames.  We’ve avoided this long enough.  We’ve ignored this, shuttled this, hated this, avoided this for so many days and nights that we finally know there is no place left to turn.

So turn we do.  Perhaps it’s Presence itself who turns us, who says, “Now, now, you have enough courage to enter the fire.  If you entered yesterday, you would have burned to ash.  If you entered tomorrow, it would be too late.  But today~~let us hold hands~~and I will show you the Mystery of the Coals, how bare feet can barely touch hot coals, how fire can simultaneously destroy and rejuvenate.”

Into the flame we go, we go!  Into the heart of our suffering, into that which yesterday threatened to shatter the red heart into trillions of lost pieces.  Into the flame we go, and we feel the pain, the heart-thumping pain, the horror of it, the burning flesh of it, and we breathe and breathe and breathe in the deathly scent of such exquisite awful pain and~~

~~and in the breathing, the hurt of it, the terrible hurt of it, something rises simultaneously, something which embraces, something which sings, something sweet, something (can it be?) filled with joy, filled with rapture, filled with bliss?  Here in the midst of exquisite pain exists absolute joy.  How can it be?  How can it be that what we’ve avoided is what we’ve been seeking all these years?

This joy has no second, no opposite.  It lives alongside that horrible pain, it embraces it, it dances in the red dawn with it. 

Now we know.  Now we feel it.  Now something deep inside relaxes, eases, releases.  Something looks forward to the next suffering moment~~if it arises again.  Ahhh, we shall get to feel that suffering/joy again today, perhaps!  Perhaps… 

Thunder rumbles in the distance.  Outside the robin blinks a sleepy eye.  Your stomach rumbles.  Suffering arises.  Joy embraces it all, unconditionally.

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8 thoughts on “Prelude to joy

  1. “~~and in the breathing, the hurt of it, the terrible hurt of it, something rises simultaneously, something which embraces, something which sings, something sweet, something (can it be?) filled with joy, filled with rapture, filled with bliss?”

    Every pass through the prelude,
    can create
    a willingness and a daring,
    to jump in sooner,
    without hesitation.

    It is the resistance
    to suffering
    that is the worst of it.

    The increased sensitivity,
    the inner swoon,
    from suffering’s foot
    in the door.

    The panic of thought,
    tries to contract, protect,
    defend, and survive.

    Something beyond caring,
    even impersonal,
    throws the mind,
    the body,
    and inner energy
    open to further penetration.

    It only asks to open beyond belief,
    beyond interpretation,
    beyond the known,
    beyond what the body\mind
    can accept and tolerate.

    Who would do it?
    An insane person?

    Only someone
    who no longer
    has the choice.

    This is way past control.

    Even if the feeling of nervous break down
    appears that is a good sign.
    Thought leaps in and says
    BUT I cannot trust it!!!
    I cannot let go!!!

    Of course, what wants to trust,
    what wants to let go,
    is what is holding on.
    It cannot do it.

    Something brave,
    courageous,
    and seemingly insane,
    turns attention to what
    is always trusting,
    already trusting,
    already surrendered
    standing next to that
    which holds on
    winking,
    from the silence.

    The chalice that receives the suffering
    deepens.

    Then it is something like light
    only it can’t been seen
    so it appears as nothing
    and it is pouring out of
    every thing
    especially the eyes
    of every living creature.

    Thrown into broken open,
    the universe reveals its\hers\his
    gifts… beyond definition.

    Even thought going crazy
    grasping for straws of interpretation,
    security,
    knowledge,
    can’t find the ones to grasp.

    This knowing is different.
    This communication is below what
    can be seen or even felt,
    yet something senses it.

    It is a big nothing
    and so exquisite!!!

    The sensitivity of penetration
    allows the bliss to enter
    and widens
    so suffering has a friend
    a companion called “All of It”
    sponsored by “None of It”

    Such an Inspirational, Grand, and Honorable Writing Kath!

    An upper respiratory infection and a low grade fever rest today in the arms of a tender joy and sweet love.

    In Deep Gratitude!

    • The words and feelings dancing in this poem show that you understand, Ben. I never realized until last week that I was resisting the arising of some deep-seated feelings. In fact I would have insisted it wasn’t so. But now it’s very clear that I was~~and the FEELING of them is joy itself. Although the feelings themselves, in their wild array, are even more important than the joy. If that makes sense. I have the capacity to chase happiness like a fiend. Not doing that so much, just letting whatever feeling arises be what it is.

      Your poem is beautiful. I hope your infection & fever subside. That is the feeling which is arising now.

  2. Who else could love us like this?

    emptying us out completely

    in preparation for the in~pouring

    of pure Love…

    • Jeannie, tears arise. Who else could love us like this? Except Pure Love itself…in us, around us, Everything, Always. My heart leapt that your spirit flitted here like a woodland angel.

  3. …this joy has no opposite.

    It just is. I’ve only known?? this place in myself in the most fleeting of moments, glimpses into something beyond what my words can convey……

    Thank you Kathy.

    • Colleen, after twenty five years of chasing myself like a dog chases his tail, around and around and around, I am getting glimpses that are turning into long envelopments. Ha ha, is that a word? Sometimes this lasts for days~~but it isn’t quite right to say that~~for what lasts is still an echo of what could be put into words. Then I watch myself “fall off the wagon” but even that feels differently these days because it’s not a completely unconscious trampling by horse feet. (Or so she says today.) Thank you, sweetheart, for reading and sharing your spirit as well!

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