To my left, was an old, grey stone church. On the outside of the structure were white, slatted windows that swung out and were held in place by support rods. As I pounded up and over the arc of the hill, I suddenly heard a refrain of a hymn carried by the breeze. It was unexpected and sung with such force, it flooded my senses, instantly carrying me to a place I seemed to recognize but had not visited for a long, long time. In that moment, my legs wobbled beneath me, my heart opened and I began to cry wondering why the hymn would move me so?
In the mystical Sufi tradition, a moment like this is called Dhikr, the chanting of divine names in order to initiate remembrance of God. Although I did not realize it at the time, the power of the congregants singing was a beautiful gift that spoke to my deep longing and invited a 'turning of the heart' toward the divine. It was here, in this profound moment that my inner journey began.
Since then, there have been continuous turnings and openings of the heart which have had a three-fold effect: one an awakening to the consciousness of oneness, two a desire to do the inner work and three, a willingness to support and encourage others on their own inner journey.
Thich Nhat Hahn expresses this beautifully when he states,
"You are me and I am you. It is obvious that we inter-are. You cultivate the flower in yourself so that I will be beautiful. I transform the garbage in myself so that you do not have to suffer. I support you, you support me. I am here to bring you peace. You are here to bring me joy.
Knowing that we inter-are, there are simple self-inquiry questions we can contemplate to bring us back to the heart. Here are a selection:
* Am I working with the energy of the heart or against it?
* Am I trusting my innate wisdom?If not why not?
* How can I uplift myself and others at this time in my life?
By being willing to contemplate these questions again and again, we are continually aligning with the essence of our longing and giving voice to our own unique wisdom. In this way, we naturally find ourselves empowered to uplift, inspire and encourage everyone and everything in our world.