Where are the wise men?
Where are the open doors?
Where is the Revealer of Secrets?––
The answer is: "Right here!"
They are here,
From the beginning to the end.
So it says,
"You are what you seek."
- Jalaluiddin Rumi, "From Black Soot"
* * *
We forget this. We forget to slow our thoughts and let a bit of silence and birdsong into the clanging of our worry and frustration. We forget to be silent for long enough to hear our own voice. We forget to heed this voice when we hear it because it seems so out of place. We forget this and we do so time and again and do it at great cost to ourselves, those close beside us, to our days, our time, our sense of being in the world.
It is an easy thing to remain tied to the business of our daily lives: our Promethean struggle to live in the time and place where we stand. For some of you that place is an ugly field of broken opportunities, promises and the people you are near may be worn down to their poorer selves because of their own struggle to make sense of things. Others of you may be running in greased grooves money-wise, but there is no kidding anyone that once that spigot is turned on, all you want is to keep it flowing and that creates other sorts of trials. Fuck, listen, it doesn't matter where you stand. Each place and each life is its own test to see what can be done. Do you often wish you could trade your problems for another's because they seem to have it easier? That only makes you human. It also keeps you fucked.
Where are the favors, the wise men, the open doors?
Who will reveal the secret to making something out of this?
You will, or it won't be done.
The cavalry is not coming, love. You are already it.
But this does not mean you are alone. It means only you must remember who you are: not by the measurements and judgements of the world surrounding you, but by the silence of your higher self waiting for you to reveal it to yourself.
* * *
We wait on occasions. We hesitate to trust. We'd rather be certain. We do this because our identity is bound up in the goings on of commerce, religion and politics. We look to these institutions because they have answers, answers that have been honed for millennia. If we don't look there, we turn to our beloved, the one who loves us over all others. We tie our well-being to their estimation of us and should that love founder so, too, does our sense of identity and purpose. We do this, time and again, because it seems as if the world moves in those circles and that is where we want to be: safe, within, accepted, part of a whole, aiming for "better."
Neither you nor I need to be better. We need to be complete.
What fucks us is conflating one for the other. We seek completeness in our beloved, our work, the rewards of that work and the promises made by falling into line and singing from the same choir book. And that works for many. But maybe not so much for you. You want to believe, but can't cross that line. You want to believe in your corporate work, your minimum wage work, your bullshit job that was left after the recession and the hope that this will somehow turn out all right because you worked hard.
And that's cool, man. I feel you there, but it really never feels too good, does it? The fit is off the rack: close, but nothing great. And if you follow the lead of your parents, who in their time had to choose where they stood, your life will be an echo of theirs. Even if they were poet-saints, that's no good for you. No, man, you want the secret to be revealed, then you'll have to reveal it. If you are waiting for the arrival of Shams Tabriz, you'll have to be Shams yourself. If you need a favor, then give it to yourself. If you pray to your God, you'll have to recognize that you are both supplicant and God. To get here, to get to this you need to quiet the noise and listen within yourself. It may take days, weeks, years, but my love, it is where your life takes hold. The answers you find will not be like mine. The answers you find may leave you out of step with others who want you to be like them. Your answers may not ever find their way into the world except for the way you carry yourself. Your greatness may lie in your dying as my father learned. Your silence may reveal upheaval. It may calm you. What is certain is that it will be yours to use, to build your life around, and if you follow the message of what you find and build everything in your life around that, of what you reveal to yourself, down into the marrow of the night, you will have a very different sort of life than the one you are living now. This says nothing about ease or success, only that what you find is yours.
And should you do this, should you venture the game (for this is not to be heavy or lugubrious–that closes off the possibility) you will be Shams, the favor, the secret revealed and every step you take will be a sign and signifier for others to dare it. You have to do this alone, but you are not alone. Others have been where you are now and their birdsong lingers in the air.
Just as yours will when you are done.
* * *
I wish you well.