I've been pondering on an Abdu'l-Baha passage, from which the well known line comes, "As ye have faith, so shall your powers and blessings be. This is the balance- This is the balance- This is the balance." For me it strikes on two chords. First, I recognize the malnourished state of my spirit and the ties this has to inevitable, ofttimes groundless hardship, and second, I start to see that the imbalance in my life until this point that has probably been the cause of many misfortunes and mistakes.
Finding that balance in life has always been a terrible mess for me. I am either ready to drop out of my studies and wander around the earth half crazed in a frenetic love of God like Majnun searching for Leyli, or I am as good as dust, moping listlessly about tasks without any zeal or interest, yearning endlessly after lost causes, and lusting on the hopelessness inherent in the basic emotion of want. But again, things lately have felt different. For example, sitting around a regional Baha'i conference the past two days, asked to fill out a to-do sheet of service, I began to see how all things are becoming intertwined. I decided to begin deepening on meditation, presence, and purity of being in the Writings, which benefits my future career, promotes spiritual growth, prepares me for teaching the receptive populations I am most interested in (the fervently, radiantly seeking, the free loving bohemians, and the down to earth hippies), and sends flitters of excitement to my mystical little heart, because these are the writings that always interest me the most. The ones that get right down to the depths of our reality and how to get in touch with that. And looking at things in this holistic way, everything gets entwined. Running is meditation for me. I started a yoga routine again this week, and that's meditation. 95 Allah-u-Abha's a day are meditation. Devotionals are grounded in meditation. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) are in part meditation. Maybe life can be meditation too, someday, somehow.
For now, my state of awareness comes and goes without warning. I can say that at this conference I only cried three times. I cried perhaps 70% of the time the last time I was in the Stamford Sheraton at a youth conference called NEBY, becoming closely acquainted with every nook, corner, bathroom stall, and dusty spot behind ice machines and somehow going entirely unnoticed in my incessant tearfulness, washing my face and coming back out to the social swarms with a fake smile and a claim to some sudden spell of fatigue. My last crying bout this weekend had come just after, but was not in the least caused by, a piercing moment of acute awareness. I had left the crowds to peruse holiday cards for my Christmas keeping family down the street, and then treated myself to a soy latte, and walking back, stood at a corner on that unknown street gawking at the sunset, which had turned the sky pure lavender and the clouds a swirl of creamy pinks. The sunlight struck through the mixture and illuminated everything, including me- and there I was. But to return from such happiness, desiring to share it with another soul, desiring to share the simple joy of such beauty, I returned to a room of half strangers milling about a dark lobby like ghosts. I found Nick, but he was lost in a conversation with two others about some sort of mathematics I couldn't for all my life comprehend, and when I wandered off from them, I went unnoticed. I stood in the middle of the lobby, and went unnoticed, just standing there. So I found myself in the familiar stall, taking on this violent shudder of utterly silent sobbing, a talent I have picked up over the years, as women stood around the restroom babbling on and doing their make-up and the cleaning lady changed the garbage bag, until I buried it all in a cold shell of jaw clenched bitterness and spent an hour virtually unresponsive to the occasional greeting or goodbye, knowing full well how I drive others away from me to protect them from having to experience even half an ounce of the internal tumult I'm going through. It may seem illogical, and that wouldn't surprise me since I am widely misunderstood by the world around me. It was just that, to go from such complete presence back into a social world I feel no connection to is the loneliest feeling I know.
But to accept that loneliness for what it is, and to expect nothing more from those moments than the blessing of having experienced them, brief though they may be, perhaps the moments will stretch themselves out across these bitter days and bring a solitary joy to my life, and I will cease to shudder in the longing to connect with the souls of the world, and just...
Let it be.