I’ll Meet You There
Today’s post is by Tilden Edwards
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn’t make any sense.
~Rumi, in “Open Secret: Versions of Rumi”
Do those words ring a bell in your soul? They do in mine. Once, when I was a teenager on a Boy Scout camping trip, we slept in a pristine open meadow at 7,000 feet in the High Sierras. I will never forget how overwhelmed I was that night by the vast swirls of stars filling the clear sky with their mysterious light. Words cannot convey the sense of the largeness of life I felt. All the sure definitions, divisions and worries of life melted for me. I was struck dumb with wide-eyed wonder. But I had no spiritual context for this awe. I felt vaguely anxious in an impersonal vastness. In hindsight, the veil was thick between my consciousness and any sense of divine Presence.
Now, much later in life, I know I would lie in that meadow with the same awe-struck-ness. But the awe would not stop with a sense of vastness. It would be pervaded with a quality of intimacy and belonging. The veil between my awareness and divine Presence would be thinner. A quality of trust, of faith-knowledge, grown over many decades, has settled to the bottom of my consciousness and would show me now that I was caught up in much more than a mysterious, physical vastness. Deeper still is a benevolent spiritual intimacy that holds and pervades that vastness. My trust is not that I can really understand that divine Presence and its ways, but that the divine Presence understands and mysteriously guides me and all creation as moving parts of one great dance of life.
That trust turns the vastness of space into home. I don’t have to clutch a separate sense of self and try to protect it from that vastness. The same divine energy that animates what I see also dwells in me. In the light of such trust, a spiritual teacher has called us “congealed spirits.” In time, that embodied spirit will melt and be reconstituted by Spirit in some new form.
In the ecstatic moments that Rumi speaks of, all these words about trust disappear. What remains is the naked trust itself, along with a sense of mutual belonging beyond all definitions and understanding. Of course, such consciously full moments of unity fade in time. My overly “congealed” self easily loses its pliancy then. It can harden into sharp definitions of self and other, of this and that. I can become caught up in black-and-white views of good and evil. I can feel and do all those things that follow from losing a sense of being a part of a larger, trustworthy, uniting Presence. But the memory and desire for that fullness of real being in God remains, along with a tenacious trust that allows the moments of the day to remain at least tenuously open for the Presence that never is elsewhere.
I can meet you in such “faded” times in a good way, because I trust the Spirit is always present, however veiled. Most of life is meant to be lived and appreciated in the simple trust of what is given in the moment, regardless of the ebb and flow of our sense of spiritual presence. But there are those special times when life directly reveals its incandescence. I would love to meet you, then, in that field where the world is too full to talk about—where our words stop, our hearts open, and we simply live out of the immediacy of our shared spiritual home. We don’t even have to be physically present together to share this home.
We can find ourselves taken to the immediacy of that never-absent home at any time, in the midst of anything. May we meet there soon! And may such times bring to our faded times an ever deepening trust and active love for the world’s realized fullness in God.
Begin 2017 opening to the depths of the divine presence in each moment. Join Tilden Edwards in a 6-week online course with Shalem: Living From the Spiritual Heart. The course begins January 22. Register today!
This reflection first appeared in the Shalem News, Summer 1997.