The mantra of the spiritual movement is, “It’s all about love!” and so we think it’s about just one thing. But the thing is, that one thing can hold so much. Love, in fact, contains everything: patience and forgiveness, tolerance and acceptance, sympathy and understanding, generosity and goodwill, loyalty and honor, compassion and open-mindedness.
“Love is the bridge between you and everything.” Rumi
To love, then, is no simple thing. What’s actually easier to focus on is all the ways we don’t love. Where were we short with that person at the store? How did we turn away from a family member in pain? What kept us from reaching out for understanding instead of ignoring someone’s ignorance. Why do we keep biting the ones we love, then regretting our childish reactions?
Most days, then, our work is not so much to figure out how to love, but to discover all the myriad ways we don’t.
“The wound is the place where the light enters you.” Rumi
We weren’t born this way, you know. But for many of us, stabs of pain came young, and now we recoil at the memory of how they cut us to the quick.
Those are our wounds. In them, though, is also our wisdom, for their healing will reveal the lessons of this lifetime. But when we shut off our hurts, by walling them off, we turn down the light of our own soul. We disconnect from our core and, as such, lock our best selves away in the dark. Which means our inner light is being held hostage by our wounds.
“Remember, the entrance door to the sanctuary is inside you.” Rumi
The two telltale sign of spiritual immaturity are this: being a victim and blaming others. For if we’re still caught up in the notion that God’s light is outside of us, we’ll also believe we must solve our problems out there: by changing people and situations.
The truth is, everything that affects us negatively only gets to us because it also lives inside us. We simply see the reflection of ourselves mirrored back to us from a loving world—one that sincerely wants us to heal our inner wounds—and we mistakenly believe the evil is out there and coming to get us.
In truth, evil can only exist in this world because it lives inside of people. And the longer it takes us to turn and look for the source of the darkness, the longer we’ll remain lost without the light.
It’s also true that love and light are the same thing, and that at our core, we’re all filled with both. Our problem doesn’t lie in not knowing how to love, but in not knowing how to work the light. We haven’t yet found the way to get through our dark defenses, taking down those light-blocking walls we put in place to protect us from pain.
So the darkness that’s hiding our light, that’s where we must turn our attention.
“The lamps are different, but the light is the same.” Rumi
We each grow up becoming afraid of any stabs of pain that have come our way. Our wounds may have been different from others, but our reactions were the same: defend against being hurt, ever again!
As a result, in some ways we grew up, but we didn’t mature. Now, it’s our habitual defending against pain that keeps us stuck. These defenses are pinned into place by the untrue conclusions we drew about life, things we told ourselves when we were young trying to make sense of a painful world. These have gotten lodged in that dark mess, and they now also work to keep us stuck.
To mature, then, means we must unmask the illusion of our defenses and dismantle our inner wall, piece by piece. This is the only way to discover that what lies beyond our seemingly broken selves is our wholeness, our wisdom and our light. We may feel we’ve been shattered by life, but at our core, we are as radiant as ever.
“You’ve seen my descent. Now watch my rising.” Rumi
So to deal with any current disharmony in our lives, we must uncover where and how we are stuck. We must let go of unfelt painful feelings and straighten out the untrue beliefs attached to them. If we do this, our wounds can become the maps that lead us directly into our deepest selves, our best selves.
It’s not too late to discover the truth of our existence: the world is here to show us where we are stuck; love is the light we are searching for; we are that love.
“Close your eyes. Fall in love. Stay there.” Rumi
—Jill Loree (together with Rumi)