So we find ourselves inhabiting this exterior coating. There is a mystery implicit in this, because "I" don't know who or what I am -- really, I don't, I merely have constructed a set of assumptions about what I call the "self" -- I don't know where what I am came from, and I don't know where I am going to.
I simply know that within any given moment, in degree, according to the level of presence I have, I may suddenly discover what may be the only thing that it is truly possible to know and understand fully -- that I am within this body, having these experiences.
That is, there is a consciousness here in this body that has these experiences.
The body is a hard shell that comes with all kinds of caveats. It has wants, needs, desires, lusts. It hurts and complains. In some ways, it runs the whole show, and yet, it is clear that there is more to it than the body alone. The body is simply an instrument.
Within this body, a force manifests itself. If I am more sensitive, I can make a choice -- I can be more active, and attempt to be in relationship this force. The force will be different; there are times when it is more present, times when it is less so. The awareness within the body has to learn to adjust to the relationship, to seek the relationship, to cultivate the relationship.
What does that mean?
The effort within me needs to be to discover this organic sense of being again and again. Within the context of receiving life, of inhabiting this hard shell of the body ( and I speak metaphorically of the hardness, understanding that the "hardness" consists of its coarse materiality) there is an effort to discover what it means to drink life in like water, to take an impression in more deeply.
To take an impression in on behalf of something greater than the immediate expression of what we call "I."
In the taking end of impressions more deeply, I can begin to understand what was meant by the allegory of changing water into wine. I'm offered the opportunity to participate in life in a way that defies explanation using words. It is Rumi's beloved; it is communion, it is the beginning of a step towards unity.
...And where am "I"?
Among those who are v..e..r..y serious about movements, it's not uncommon for people to be concerned about whether they are in the first row, second row, and so on... you get moved back one row, and you begin to feel crappy. Are you perhaps not "good" enough? Ones with "authority" may even tell you you're doing it wrong! Ach du Lieber.
People worry about such things, even good, solid, senior "movements people" who have been around a long time. We're all human.
...Am I important? Am I losing my place? Will people see me and think that my effort is inferior? Let's be honest with each other -- never mind the movements teachers-- who doesn't have these thoughts, in one context or another?
At the same time, is this why we work? Are we all worried about how important we are? About whether other people value us?
My goodness me-- I am like that! And as I look around me, I begin to sense that we are all like this at times.
This reminds me of something that is said in the Philokalia: even the man who perfects himself (and there is no complete perfection on this level) slips back and discovers that he is tested once again. The ego is constantly present; it is here to educate us and lead us back to humility as we see how we are.
And just how are we? Well, we are all here together.
No one is in front or behind. The trees aren't in front of us or behind us; the fish are not below us; the birds are not above us. We are all here together, on this level. Our failure to see how we participate together in a community of life, our insistence on ranking one another, has everything to do with our arrogance and almost nothing to do with sensing our smallness.
When I finally learn within myself that I do not need to be worried about whether I am on top or on the bottom--whether I am in the front row or the back, whether the man at the top thinks I am fantastic or just a piece of dirt--and I focus instead on living my life, and inhabiting my work, that will be some progress.
May our hearts be opened, and our prayers be heard.