“Let the lover be disgraceful, crazy,
absentminded. Someone sober will worry about things going badly.
Let the lover be.”
I totally had a different path planned for this month’s post but the time just wasn’t right for that one yet. At least the Universe didn’t seem to think so anyway because I could not find the poem… So I took it as a sign that the above quatrain really spoke to me while I was thumbing for the intended one.
If I haven’t said it before, I should point out that when Rumi uses the word “lover” it can mean a few different things. Sometimes he literally means a romantic lover and sometimes he means something more along the lines of someone who loves with no particular object implied. The third way he uses it, which is pretty common, is that he means it as one who loves Spirit (capital S). Another way to say that might be “devotee.” One could even possibly assume that sometimes he means all three interpretations at the same time.
For what I want to talk about here, I am going to work it from the angle of the devotee, one absorbed in Spirit or their own soul.
This is really speaking to me now because I’ve started to take notice of when I worry about things going badly. I don’t mean that I sit huddled in the corner in a dark room, eyes shifting left and right, looking for the first sign of danger. (I save that for special worries.) It’s not quite that dramatic, thank goodness.
I’m talking about the more subtle sort. The kind where we buy a raffle ticket but immediately write-off any chance of winning. We sign-up for an online dating service but we’ve already told ourselves it will lead nowhere. Perhaps we apply for the job, we even score an interview, but we convince ourselves that we won’t get the job for no real reason. Any positive hope or dream that comes up we bat it away before it has a chance to fully develop into a heartfelt wish. So it stays in this wasteland of not quite a failure but not quite a wish either.
Why do we do this to ourselves? Why attempt anything if we’re so sure it’s going to go horribly awry? Why get up in the morning?
We know that taking action is the only way to possibly do the thing, get the job, go on the date, meet the one, whatever. However, we’re also convinced that it won’t be this particular action that leads to any of that. We sort of have this big-picture hope, but small-picture doubt. At least I do anyway.
I am totally the person who believes that everything will work out in the long run and I see lots of evidence to support that, even in the short run. Yet I still find myself thinking “someday” at the end of every statement of faith. It will all work out. Someday.
Why couldn’t that day be today? What’s stopping it? What makes someday different from a day just like today? It was probably at least 300 somedays ago that we first uttered “someday.” So, here we are at this particular someday. What if we just stepped aside and got out of its way? What if this were the someday that we let it do what it wants? Let it have its way with us?
Oh, I know, scary stuff. What if we’re wrong? Well, what if we are? If it’s not *the* someday will that really have grand implications or will it just mean we’ve gotten one more someday out of the way to bring us closer to the someday that really is the one? I’m betting on the latter. So really that is no loss at all.
Nonetheless, these are the questions that run (stomp?) through my mind. I’ve decided that mostly it comes down to a fear of being wrong. Or worse, a fear of others seeing me be wrong. I know I’m not alone. No one likes being wrong. But I do notice that happy people get a lot less worked-up about being wrong than everyone else does. So, there must be something to that…
Recently I started playing with getting out of the way. By that I mean that if I had a hopeful thought or a wish that was followed by a negative doubt, as they often were, I deliberately ignored the negative thought. I pushed it out of my mind. People will tell you “what you resist persists.” I think that is often true, but sometimes, especially in the early stages of habit formation (notice I didn’t say habit-breaking), we have to be a little more forceful in shifting gears. This phase didn’t last long for me. I found after about of week of pushing those thoughts away, I could move on to the next phase where they weren’t fully formed thoughts but more like foreshadowing of doubts. I pushed those away too and shortly thereafter I found that sometimes they don’t come up at all. They’re not completely gone yet and maybe they never will be but they’re mostly gone. I’ll take it.
I’ve heard it said that to do something great we have to be willing to look foolish. (I think maybe it was Cher who said that, if the internet can be trusted) (not usually) I really believe that it’s true. We have to be willing to sacrifice our obsession with being right and our aversion to being wrong in order to get anywhere.
I think that this is what Rumi was getting at with “let the lover be.” Only in this state of bliss, founded or unfounded, can we truly have any hope of manifesting something wonderful. Sure there are all sorts of reasons why this or that is unlikely. However, I bet there are just as many, if not more, reasons why it is possible. As long as we’re able to live our life and function everyday, why not dream?
Some would argue that it’s silly to walk around with your head in the clouds, disconnected from reality. I can understand that viewpoint but I would argue that being overly certain of negative outcomes is not being connected with reality either. We’ve been programmed to see negative expectations as the only real expectation. Hogwash! This is not about ignoring reality but rather accepting and embracing a wider range of reality. 🙂
Something unexpected happened as I was getting out of the way of my hopeful somedays. When I stopped following every positive hope with a doubtful fear, not only did the doubtful fears disappear, but I spent less time future-tripping, good or bad, overall. I was doing less fearing but I was also doing less daydreaming. It freed up a lot of brain space. I noticed that it was easier to relax and just flow with life. I feel less and less need to wonder and more serenity, allowing it to unfold. I am better able to expect that things will work out just fine, not just someday, but today. I can let today be someday or I can at least let someday inch ever closer day by day.
By being more intentional about my thoughts, I was able to access the active role of visualizing. It’s quite different. It’s not like chasing a rabbit as much as it’s like being the rabbit you’re after. The more I did this, the more I began feeling the energy I wanted to create for and in my life. The energy started to emanate from me. Then it started beaming back at me from other people. It was and is amazing.
I don’t mean that there is nothing more to work toward. That’s not even what I want for myself. I hope always to be working toward something. But I found that I am happier. I am more relaxed. I am more patient. I am more authentic. Even if it sounds crazy to some, I’d wager that I find myself in a happier spot than many people. We all have a choice, do we want to be right or do we want to be happy? For me, the choice is clear.
So, even if you have a hard time letting go of being right or perhaps more so of not being wrong, I beg you, at least once a day get out of your own way.
There is a lover of people, a lover of life, a lover of the light, a lover of love inside you waiting for you to embrace its presence. Just for today see if you can get out of the way and let the lover be.
Love and light,
Photo Credit: Rusty Dodson/Dreamstime
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