Footprints in the Sand
To know what you do not know,
this is the intoxication induced by
drinking the Beloved's Wine.
The spirit longs
to roam freely outside
the prison of our thoughts.
So, "Drink up!" until
joy opens the cell
that has surrounded your heart.
* * *
The Sage was asked, "How would you sum up the purpose of a spiritual path?" Said the Sage, "The transformation of consciousness. If the path does not lead to this change from grosser to subtler consciousness, how could it be spiritual?"
*Brian K. Wilcox. "Meetings with an Anonymous Master."
* * *
Among Sufis, the tavern is a metaphor for a gathering place to receive divine wisdom. The wine received is sacred understanding. The intoxication is the changed consciousness. A parallel occurs in the Christian Bible, "Be not intoxicated with wine ... but be filled with the spirit (or, Spirit)" (Galatians 5.18, AV).
The Sufis tell of the sage, Mulla Nasruddin, wandering through the streets, unable to find his way home. He had spent the night at a tavern, drinking with others. A policeperson accosts him, asking, "Who are you? What are you doing at this unusual hour? Where did you come from? Where are you going?" "Sir," the Mulla stammered, "If I knew the answer to all those questions, I would be home already!"
Imam Jamal Rahman, in Sacred Laughter of the Sufis, writes, "Alas, none of our divine revelations arrive with footnotes or explanations." So, rather than learn them through thinking, we know them mostly through living with and into them, or them living themselves into us.
Again, Rahman -
It is futile to search for definitive answers to life's deeper questions. What is fruitful is to be present with the Mystery of the questions as you go about your daily work. Perfume your heart with awe and wonder, say the mystics, and the rapture of the Mystery will awaken something deeper in you.
* * *
Spirit, with Its wisdom, most often manifests to us when not seeking the manifestation. We are simply living. Revelations arise when the most important questions are laid quietly in the soil of the heart, and we go about our daily duties and recreations mindfully, quietly, and in recognition of the divine Presence.
Scripture is one of the many things that can awaken an answer, or it can leave us in wonderment at the non-answer we stand in awe of, not trying to find an answer. Sometimes, the answer is the sense of being baffled and overwhelmed before the Ineffable.
* * *
We often feel no need for an understanding, only silent or exclamatory worship of the Mystery beyond the mysteries in gladful bewilderment. We remain entranced by the Unknown, drunken on the wine that leaves us stumbling about in Love outside the house of words.
Indeed, I have often felt frustrated when I tried to speak of what was shown to me. I could talk about it, not say it. I sensed the futility. I have, then, become silent. Such silence speaks more than all my words.
* * *
Of Scripture as a medium of this bewildering, enchanting wine, or divine wisdom, Abraham Joshua Heschel writes, in Thunder in the Soul -
The words of the [Hebrew] Bible are sources of spirit. They carry fire to the soul and evoke our lost dignity out of our hidden origins. Illumined, we suddenly remember, we suddenly recover the strength of endless longing to sense eternity in time.
* * *
What has happened to Mulla? He has stepped outside time, yet he is walking in time. So are all who drink of the wine of Presence, for the Beloved gives Itself in the wisdom received in intimacy with our innermost heart. To know the Wine Giver is to enjoy the wine.
* * *
*©Brian K. Wilcox, 2021.
*Brian's book, An Ache for Union: Poems on Oneness with God through Love, can be ordered through major online booksellers or the publisher AuthorHouse.