Friday, November 7, 2008

The Circle Around the Zero

I was invited to lunch yesterday at a local meditation center to talk about the recent 10 day silent retreat two of my regular yoga students had. What a delight! The food is always great there and the setting is one of the most conducive to inward looking in the Berkshires.

Of course, there is always the problem of talking about silence, but soon we were immersed in exploring together various aspects of the retreat. One person referred to "coming to zero" as a way of indicating a different way of being she experienced. I mentioned the following poem and sent it off to her when I returned home.

The Circle Around the Zero

A lover doesn't figure the odds.

He figures he came clean from God

as a gift without a reason,

so he gives without cause

or calculation or limit.

A conventionally religious person

behaves a certain way

to achieve salvation.

A lover gambles everything, the self,

the circle around the zero! He or she

cuts and throws it all away.

This is beyond

any religion.

Lovers do not require from God any proof,

or any text, nor do they knock on a door

to make sure this is the right street.

They run,

and they run.

~ Rumi

For me it captures the unrestrained quality of being that draws me back over and over. Also, it has a 'gonzo' all or nothing texture that I find necessary to see clearly. When we hold onto our set ideas, no matter how noble or valid or venerable, the timelessness of Truth is obscured.