inscription on Rumi’s tomb

Come, come, whoever you are,

Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving.

It doesn’t matter.

Ours is not a caravan of despair.

Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times.

Come, yet again, come, come.

I thought of these “last words” of Rumi’s this morning as I considered the difficulty I have in maintaining inner practices when in a flare-up.  I know that stress is a major trigger, making these practices even more important for my health and recovery.  Yet, just when I most need the peace and equanimity of being centered – poof!  Instead I am out there, being tossed about by the storm.

Maybe I should approach it as I have walking.  Since feeling ill, it has been hard to walk.  I can’t walk as fast or as far.  So, I made the intention of walking slowly and for just as long as I could, be it 10 minutes or 20…it was still moving and I was still outdoors with the sun on my skin and the wind in my hair and my feet on the earth.

So, with meditation, instead of despairing because I keep avoiding the zafu and the 30 minute sit, I will set an intention to still myself and sit with my breath for just 5 minutes each morning.  Just a few words written in the journal, just one or two yoga poses before bed.  This I can do.  In this, perhaps, is the path to a return to that quiet place that feeds me, that calms me and returns me to now.

All tempest has,

like a navel,

a hole in its middle,

through which

a gull can fly,

in silence.

14th century Japanese, anonymous