Close your eyes and open your heart, and you can take a trip to meet someone you cannot imagine – you, yourself.
Carlos Drummond de Andrade, the brilliant Braziallian poet, in reference to this journey, said that it is the most difficult for a person to accomplish.
It only remains for man to prepare himself.
For the most difficult, most perilous journey
From himself to himself
Putting a foot on the path to his heart.
(ANDRADE, p. 21-22)
A journey of the heart. Yes, that which you have been seeking, already lives within your heart. But how do we make this journey? Do we need to pack a suitcase or hire a vehicle to take us to this place? No, you will need none of those things, because the destination you seek is not a physical place. Instead, empty your suitcase, and do not worry about the time. The vehicle is you, and you can reach this destination now, in an instant. You can be transported to it without leaving the comfort of your home. What do we mean? Rumi gives us some indications about this:
Lacking feet to travel
Travel within yourself
Like the Ruby mine
The rays of the sun reflect out of you
The journey will lead to your being
It will transmute your dust into pure gold.
Close your eyes and enter into yourself. Do you hear that voice calling you incessantly? That voice is your true self. In the deepest part of your being you realise that it is not your name, your profession, your nationality, your family relationships, your thoughts, feelings, actions, or any part of your daily self. All these aspects are but external to you.
So you may ask, ‘how did I not realise this before?’. It was because this voice is not heard by the ears, but rather in the silence of our being.
But what does it means to hear something in silence? Here, Rumi gives us another hint:
No one speaks to himself aloud
Since we are all One, let us speak in this other way
The feet and hands know the desire of the soul
So let us close our mouths and talk through the soul
Only the soul knows the destiny of everything, step by step
The inspiration you seek is already within you
Be silent and listen.
Here Rumi points to an important aspect of this journey: the first step is to be silent. This is not about an outer silence, but an inner one. Do not your thoughts and feelings cause a deafening noise?
In the endless struggle for survival, in that constant whirling of need and desire that comes from our ego, we find ourselves coming into conflict with ourselves and others. And this conflict has its origins in our self centeredness, sparked by our worry, fear and anxiety.
We have an endless array of attachments, from our comforts, habits, conditioning, thoughts, feelings, even our most secret intentions, and our fear of losing these attachments pushes us to defend them from anyone or anything that threatens them. We will either attack or run away, but both reactions are driven by our fear. But deep inside, we know we are in reality only attacking ourselves, and running away from what the heart truly longs for.
Such is our situation when we continue to identify ourselves with the myriad of self created desires that in essence are but illusions. These thoughts and emotions are just projections of our ego, projections that are transitory and have no lasting value. How often have we struggled to fulfill a desire only to feel empty when we finally have it in our grasp? If this is our own personal desire and it has been attained, then why does a sense of fulfillment allude us, why do we feel we are on an endless wheel chasing an unattainable dream of achievement. Have we not created this storm cloud that encompasses our life?
But did we know that if we listen to that voice of the real self, if we allow it to penetrate our soul, then all of the chaos and noise of our thoughts and feelings will gradually be silenced. And even if we experience this silence for only a millisecond, so we have placed our feet onto this most wonderful path – the journey into ourselves. Then you can also experience your deeper inner self, where dwells the original Atom, that floods you with perennial Light, to guide you with every beat of your heart, on this journey of self discovery.
Don’t worry about making plans, or building expectations, for you cannot be the guide on this journey. Such attempts only cause confusion to your thinking and feeling, and end in an unnatural forcing of your actions. It is the voice of the new soul that will guide you. This is the voice of a new consciousness, the voice of new feelings and thoughts. And this new voice is the voice of a completely new attitude to life. Do not fight it, let it carry you. ‘What do you mean?’, you may ask.
in your heart there is a Light that is reflected in a special mirror, the mirror of a new consciousness. And, guided by that voice, you will see your true self. Farid Ud-Din Attar, in his book ‘The Conference of the Birds’, reflects on this journey:
Oh my heart, if you want to reach the beginning of understanding, walk carefully.
For each atom there is a different door, and for each atom there is a different path that leads to the mysterious Being that I am talking about.
To know each other, we need to live a hundred lives.
But you need to know God through Himself and not through you; it is He who opens the way that leads to Him, not human wisdom.
(ATTAR, p. 13-14)
To undertake this journey, everything you need to know is in your heart, where the Atom of another nature resides – and that is your true being. This Atom is your compass to guide your every step. And this journey begins and ends with the same rhythm; just as there is an inhalation and exhalation of breath, so the first step, fire, moves forward, while the second step, water, rests. Yes there will be moments when you stumble, but this is all part of the growing process. So with an inner joy and perseverance, you must get up and move on.
On this path, the voice of the silence dissolves all barriers, and brings you the realisation that you are both the Atom and one with the world at the same time. You and the All are One. Bon Voyage!
ANDRADE, Carlos Drummond de. As impurezas do branco (The Impurities of White). Rio de Janeiro: J. Olympio, 1974
ATTAR, Farid Ud-Attar. The Birds Conference. São Paulo: Círculo do Livro, from the English translation, London: The Janus Press, 1954.
RUMI, Jalal al-Din. Available at: http://www.nasrudin.com.br/poemas-de-rumi/poema-02-segredo.htm. And at: http://www.nasrudin.com.br/poemas-de-rumi/tudo-se-resume-no-amor.htm.