Again, I was awakened this morning between 4:30 & 5:00 AM by the clarion call. And again, I lay in bed for 45 minutes convincing myself that I needed more sleep. But sleep is impossible when the heart awakens. With this realization, I surrendered to the magnificent Beauty that seemed to be flowing from “my” heart centre.
Where does this come from? Who does it belong to? And what is it within me that could ever resist such Beauty? Choosing sleep over this? I find my body in a state of breathless anticipation — like the delightful anticipation of meeting a lover, sensing that something is about to happen that is mysteriously beyond both of us. And so we lean in and make ourselves available … to the mystery. Beyond all common sense or reason: we trust in the unseen, in what has not yet fully shown itself.
I lean into the thrilling nature of this Wild Heart. My whole body feels awake. The bottoms of my feet feel like they’ve been slapped. They vibrate and tingle. My thinking mind trys to make sense of the experience: “Not “my” heart, and yet it lives within my heart. How could it be my heart calling me beyond myself? A call going far beyond even my loftiest ‘ideas’ of enlightenment, and any self-constructed limitations of what is possible and real.”
The nature of the Wild Heart is untameable by religious tradition or secular culture. It has a language and law all its own. Its wild unpredictability frightens me. The “me” that I identify with has no way to find its ground here. Niceties and norms fall flat. Father Thomas Keating refers to the “Divine Indwelling.” This certainly resonates with what I am feeling. While it is not good to get stuck on definitions, it is important to name experiences. Naming helps us grow in understanding because we are reasoning creatures. It helps us to integrate divine beauty through awareness. Like many, I have strong tendencies to claim divine experiences as my own. To pump myself up with importance because I have “tasted” (“Taste and See that the Lord is Good” – Psalm 34:8). I have found this habit to be devastating to the alive relationship with the Wild Heart. Surrender is the only way, and then learning to listen.
For the most part, I have let fear run my life. Fear of being nobody, fear of not fitting in, fear of disapproval and being misunderstood. So I have turned away from the Wild Heart, the Divine Indwelling, and the deadliest fear of all — I have claimed “Divine Tastes” as my own. But even while I have chosen to remain small and safe, throughout my life, people have continuously seen through my “straw-woman-smallness” and expressed their appreciation of who they “saw” me to be. And yet, for the most part, I have still defended against the beauty of the Wild Heart and its abundant gift of undefended freedom. Jesus taught from the Wild Heart. He also taught how to have relationship with it: “If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it” (Mt. 10:39).
With 6 years of focus on the philosophy and practice of Silence behind me, habits of denial and fear are slowly weakening. I can feel it. Instead of shutting down with fear, I am simply being present with it. Such a simple practice, and yet with so much power. It seems that the Wild Heart has no problem with fear!
I am also discovering groups of people here, and around the world (internet is amazing), who are willing to learn to relate in ways that allow for the untameable Beauty, Truth, and Goodness to emerge within and between us. With time, we learn to operate from courage and trust, allowing us to bypass individual and collective fear patterns. We relax into ways of participating in something deeper/higher than the separate-self and its illusion of safety. Our willingness counts a lot. Our willingness to get out of bed at 5 AM and write a Blog Post. Our willingness to lose our life in the stillness, so that we can come alive in the Wild Beauty of the untamed Heart.