The word ‘compulsion’ makes me impatient for love’s sake;
‘Tis he who loves not who is fettered by compulsion.
O son, they understand this compulsion
For whom God opens the eyes of the inner man.
Things hidden and things future are plain to them;
To speak of the past seems to them despicable.
In you freewill and compulsion are vain fancies,
But in them they are the light of Almighty power.
From Omar and the Ambassador by Rumi
(Jalaluddin Rumi was a 13th-century Persian poet and Sufi mystic)
When I think of the One in whom we live and move and have our being, whom Jesus taught us to call Abba (aramaic for Dadda), when I think of the ecstasy I have felt being caught up in the glories of creation, in the joy of singing out in full voice, or of full body worship and adoration, and then I think of the poverty and suffering of poor blinded souls who desperately reach for whatever they can find to comfort themselves, if even for a short time, I weep for them…and I weep for myself.
Yes, I who have been carried away by the love that holds us all; I who am so grateful for all we have been given; I who have dropped into the silent bliss of samadhi/transcendence in meditation and also who has been washed over by light so inexpressibly brilliant that in an instant I was changed forever, yes I in the midst of my dark night of the soul find myself blindly stuffing my face with food, over and over taking such large mouthfuls so quickly that now I am truly sick and tired of feeling so uncomfortably full. I have noticed I am unconsciously taking bigger servings where only a few weeks ago I had been enjoying restraint, appreciating how good my body felt with the right quantities of the right food within me. And so it is with us poor lost souls driven by compulsions in our blind flight from our suffering.
I feel such compassion for those who, like me, are trapped in their self-constructed prisons. When I am eating like this I am oblivious to the divine reality that holds us all. I am oblivious to the love, peace and joy that are only a moment away from filling my consciousness, if only I could turn and be healed, turn and be transported into the light and love that powers our universe. But instead I am immersed in the prison I have constructed for myself as I struggle to survive pain and anxiety so overwhelming that I am short-circuited back to that most primal level of coping, of seeking relief, even oblivion. But I am also increasingly aware of this broken, this wounded self that I am and from the depths of my misery I know that I am being drawn through it to come out healed on the other side.
So each day I will compassionately hold myself, I will wake up to that divine holding in the midst of my pain and be comforted by those heavenly arms and by my arms. And my compulsions will weaken and lose meaning as more and more I make better choices now that loving kindness is softening the writhing, anxious core of misery that lies within me. As I stop trying to escape, I can accept and love myself, wounded and messed up as I am. No longer whipping myself with judgement I become compassionately available to other lost, blinded souls, open again to walking with them as once Jesus walked with his followers.
But until the darkness fully lifts, right here and right now I choose to accept my own suffering while the light of my awareness slowly begins to dawn.
Pray for me and pray for all the other souls lost in compulsion.