A contemplation on a poem by Rumi
On Resurrection Day God will say, “What did you do with
the strength and energy
your food gave you on earth? How did you use your eyes?
What did you make with
your five senses while they were dimming and playing out?
I gave you hands and feet
as tools for preparing the ground for planting. Did you,
in the health I gave,
do the plowing?” You will not be able to stand when you
hear those questions. You
will bend double, and finally acknowledge the glory. God
will say, “Lift
your head and answer the questions.” Your head will rise
a little, then slump
again. “Look at me! Tell what you’ve done.” You try,
but you fall back flat
as a snake. “I want every detail. Say!” Eventually you
will be able to get to
a sitting position. “Be plain and clear. I have given you
such gifts. What did
you do with them?” You turn to the right looking to the
prophets for help, as
though to say, I am stuck in the mud of my life, Help me
out of this! They
will answer, those kings, “The time for helping is past.
The plow stands there in
the field. You should have used it.” Then you turn to
the left, where your family
is, and they will say, “Don’t look at us! This conversation
is between you and your
Creator.” Then you pray the prayer that is the essence
of every ritual: God,
I have no hope. I am torn to shreds. You are my first and
last and only refuge.
Don’t do daily prayers like a bird pecking, moving its head
Up and down. Prayer is an egg.
Hatch out the total helpless inside.
Prayer is an egg. Hatch out the total helplessness inside
Don’t you think this line from a Rumi poem is incredibly inspiring? It invites me to contemplate on it.
Prayer is an egg. The egg is a symbol of life. A shell of perfect shape, which – at the same time fragile and resilient – is protecting the promise inside. This is what prayer is all about – it is carrying the energy that is bringing creation into the world.
How delicious to ponder on the “helplessness inside”. This is our true state of existence, helpless in the sense of defenceless, but not unprotected. A state like a child’s love and trust for a parent, completely natural and unswerving. A state of faith and trust, in openness and receptiveness for everything to emerge.
Prayer is constant. It is in all we do, in every little thought and action. It is the awareness that we can do nothing on our own, that we cannot even do so much as sustain gravity or keep the sun in it’s orbit. We have so little influence on the functioning of our body or the way nature works. How foolish and exhausting to think that I am in control over anything or anybody, if all there is is this complete helplessness inside.