Jalaluddin Rumi says that to
‘pilgrimage to the place of the wise is to find escape from the flame of separateness.’
And I go on to read about Gandhi, holding the hopes and political machinations of a nation moving, lurching towards death, bloodshed and separation and how he somehow still managed a lightness, a quietness, an internal joy, a whole way of being that seemingly exuded from his small gaunt frame as he continued to carry such responsibility within those extremely turbulent times.
This, I appreciate, is one man’s story of another man’s journey, it is a glimpse, bottled, distilled and later spilled within another writer’s ink.
Yes, it is Eknath Easawaran’s folkloric description, his transmission of a remembrance of Gandhi retiring to his favourite tree to meditate, cleanse and enlighten his soul upon the stillness of an Indian pre-partition sunset. A re-inking of rituals that fed buoyancy day after day after politically potent day.
And here and now, reading these echoes, these second-hand memories for the first time, I find that my insides also warm and tingle and come to rest just a little.
I smile as I realise that Gandhi has long found and transformed into the completion of his lived desire, his often-stated ambition to live freely and peacefully by reducing his ego to zero.
Much like St Francis and St Clare, (both married to the abundant nothingness of Lady Poverty), as they released the city of Assisi and the Papal dynasty from financial support and encumbrance by the merest, sincerest request to not be unthreaded from their life of absolute poverty by the powers that be, to gain promises to be left alone to live in joyous rags alongside the marginal and the dispossessed.
To live lightly within a strict, stripped existence of humility, peacefulness, love and song. To make concrete their dreams of being immersed within God infused simplicity, within a way of being that centrifugally attracted and ignited others into similar pursuits of love freely given to otherness, to journeys untangling from possessions, to becoming beings simultaneously disappeared to self and to be at One, to be fully in service for all brothers and sisters in this world.
Their Saintly servitude enwrapped and included all fellow humans, and animals and plants and minerals and angels. They immersed all into a Godly abundant natural flow of brother and sisterhood. With simplicity they embraced all within the Heart of God, they freely and courageously poured out soulful love in Oneness.
They too are long gone but they too still have the power to amaze.
And as for you, Eknath Easawaran, you, the author of the ‘reported’ Gandhi story:
I have found your words deeply connecting and comfortable. Eight years after your own ego also achieved the ultimate movement through zero to Oneness, my present-day readings of your 1989 musings pulse and shine directly into my life blood. My heart leaps at the wonderful verdant paragraphs, just discovered, planted by you, so carefully, so many years ago:
‘Life is crying for the contribution of every one of us, and it sirs people to learn that most of us have no idea of the capacities we have inside, or what tremendous energy could be released when we free ourselves from habits that drain our energy and tie our hands. When we begin to simplify our lives, ways of giving back to life appear without ever having to ask.’
(From page 91 of Original Goodness by Eknath Easawaran)
Habits that drain our energies and tie our hands!
And I float back to last night
to the half sleep
dim recollections of
longings expressing an urgency to be fixed.
Restless heat and empty
fire woven in bed sheets usually so
welcoming and cool.
exhausted problem-solving slaloms of slipping energy
ineffective distraction if not
then plumping, if not
plumping then posture
change and removal of
pillows, if not
if not this itch and yet
somehow a deeper
smiling rested small knowledge existed
to glimmer persistence to merely
encourage the me
to meekly ride this storm, yes
ride and storm to wait until
such agony passes
in its own sweet
So, within last night’s spin this me
resolved not to get up
not to try to fix this roving itch
not to chase shadows insistently, but
to let clouded mindscapes pass through
and through to cause this
overheated dampness to
And now, at midday, the next day
In my so say
at a place of relative rest and rationalising wholesomeness
I can celebrate my weathering
can enjoy this dulled tired wake from
last night’s sleeplessness. Can appreciate, yes
this shorter internal fuse, this
enhanced need for stillness, aloneness, this
smiling at being able to breathe so differently.
And maybe these passing
silent pitying screams of over inflated me-ness are
a form, are my form of sin of
disconnection from being deeply within
the sweet tastes and
Yes, in these dark times of big-internal-me-ness this ever-present Oneness often evades shape and sense as my mind takes over to worry its own way through well-formed scars in both flesh and bone.
Yes, moving this ego towards zero is obviously so much more complicated and multi layered than merely meditating for 20 minutes before sending my favourite books and CD’s to the next charity shop in line.
Maybe we can move towards a collectively-caring-zero-ego world, a regeneration caused by all of us simply placing our feet in this loving soft yielding earth, by all of us growing a lightness and firmness of stance, one that prioritises getting out of the way while quietly offering each sentient, each plant and mineral and angel unseen, gentle encouragement to re-find and re-fine free flowing ease towards this unconscious abundance of Lovelight supreme.