by Robert Kopecky
“What was said to the rose to make it open was said to me here, in my chest.” Rumi
It’s easy to say that many different paths can lead us to our spiritual realizations. We’ve all had experiences that inspired us to seek out a life beyond the one recorded on our birth certificates or bank slips; experiences that moved us to seek out our soul’s life. But, like standing before a crazy street sign, acknowledging so many paths can just present us with all the possible misdirections we may head off in when we’re seeking something “whose periphery is nowhere, and whose center is everywhere.”
Religions always provide us a ‘personal’ way, passed on to us through tradition, myth, and spiritual history; and based in a certainty inspired by revelation, inspiration, and cultural direction. But then, there are so many different ‘right’ ways! Just the broad array of religions demonstrates a range of selective imagination, all carrying some facet
of truth, all seeming to share the same goal. And while these beautiful social constructions may help lift us from the sorrows of life, and sometimes inspire experiences of joy, personally, they’ve always led me to search for their common denominator–the place where my soul lives.
Philosophies tend to shun the ecstasy of religious experience, in favor of a more rational set of explanations. They propose logical, well-reasoned explanations of what we still, along our different paths, inevitably experience as inexplicable, “divine” aspects of life. Now, I’m a big fan of beautiful philosophies, but often in the same way
that I’d marvel at a skillfully drawn architectural solution–an exquisitely elaborate (or exquisitely simple), deeply meaningful proposal. A construction of it’s own. For me, the most meaningful essence of a philosophy always arises out of the spiritual experience it seems to be grounded in–whether it’s acknowledged, or merely implied. I’m a bigger fan of The Divine itself.
Science, the perpetual realm of the skeptic, claims to provide us with the unadorned truth–to break through the imaginary constructions of religion, and well-reasoned theories of philosophy. But, often tragically, it can’t seem to break free of it’s own intellectual constraints, imposed on it by the arrogance of human intellect. By it’s own logically progressive nature, it increasingly describes a rather cold and impersonal reality that paints my soul into a corner it’s simply overqualified to occupy. Despite the mass of scientific evidence that science still likes to label “paranormal,” and despite the infinite times it’s rewritten itself in the past, science continues to pussyfoot around the soul’s territory.
That territory, that precious real estate is the common denominator. It’s the place all proper paths eventually lead to; and the single, most direct sign pointing to it is right in front of our noses, lying at the heart of all the great religions, philosophies, and questions of science. It’s in the divine experience of being human. It’s in each and every
one of our hearts, and in the heart that’s shared by all of us.
What do you see when you close your eyes? What intelligence arises from the ‘empty’ space between your thoughts? When we try to put words to that, we call it poetry, and so it’s in the direction poetry points me to that I choose to look. That’s why I started with Rumi. Because he speaks a language that contains religion, philosophy,
and science; a door I can knock at that opens to my soul, and an invitation to enter the mystery.
To paraphrase Rumi:
There’s a room in your heart with a window from which you may gaze upon The Divine…but you have to be in that room to look from that window.
So it’s poetry that tells me this: The realization of our soul life is alive in our own experiences of the Divine, and in our willingness to witness it it in every direction we look. Follow any, or every sign, and if it leads you to a place of acceptance and surrender, a place where you experience transcendent joy and the grounding power of unconditional Love, then look no further! Just inhabit that room–you’ve found your soul’s eternal address.
“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I will meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about. Language, ideas, even the phrase ‘each other’ doesn’t make any sense.” Rumi