My partner said to me, “Do you know, a bomb has gone off in Mogadishu and 300 have been killed?”
I muttered a prayer under my breath. No, I did not know. I felt ashamed for being so insulated. Since when did I stop living?
“I cannot rest,” he continued. “Oh Jac, we are all connected.”
“I know,” I replied (do I, really?). I can feel the sleeping beast stirring in him. “Do what you must.”
And then lying back in bed, I thought to myself, my one year of studying Thich Nhat Hahn (“Thay”) has taught me few very important life’s lessons. One is this is that things, people, feelings, everything in fact, come and go. Nothing stays. Our suffering comes because we are trying to make impermanent things permanent, instead of letting go with grace. Surrender is the word Thay used a lot. It doesn’t mean weak to surrender, but it is wise.
But if we were to just “let go”, we would undoubtedly be free and untroubled as the wind. But we would be as inconsequential as a fallen leaf blowing about in that wind. A spiritual teacher once told his disciples, ‘Go and be a householder.” For the growth in life comes from meeting the challenges of “real” life: family, responsibility, obligations, when we want to run away to the hills, Himalayas, caves or utopia.
“Thanks, Jac, for being my root,” he said and hung up the phone. Sometimes, I marvel at the scarcity of words between us, as if we live in a haiku world.
But I know, from this staccato conversation, that he will live his decisions fearlessly, do what he needs to do in the next few hours, days and weeks, things he must to feel alive, on fire, but strangely at peace. And in that process, he had taught me how to live without fear, because of the network of underground roots that grow so prolifically between us, holding the space.
Take time to cultivate the roots in your life ❤
Root my being in certainty
So I witness you without fear.
Even as the waves of blood crash over me
And the worlds char in fire.
– Jalal-ud-Din Rumi
(Translated by Andrew Harvey from A Year of Rumi)