The Learner: A Question Of Afterlife

angel

Oh soul,
you worry too much.
You have seen your own strength.
You have seen your own beauty.
You have seen your golden wings.
About anything less,
why do you worry?
You are in truth
the soul, of the soul, of the soul.

~ Rumi ~

(picture and poem reposted from Theresa at Soulgatherings, Dec.10, 2014)

This week while focusing on the Teacher archetype, what has come forth for me is a Learner part of Self. I have been asking and asking, what can I learn from some of the more difficult life experiences I am confronted with lately?

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I lost a friend whom I thought very highly of last week. He passed away suddenly after battling an illness for a long time that he never told me about. I should have known, I felt. I should have questioned him when he uncharacteristically issued a swear word in our usually very positive exchange at Words with Friends.  What would my Teacher say?

I will name my inner-self teacher Rumi, after the poet I admire whose poetry I deeply appreciate. Please, teach me, Jalal.

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I envision a desert oasis. I walk around, exploring.  I hear music, the sound of a wooden flute, and I think of Rumi’s “Song of the Reed”, and here he is, sitting across a wooden table from me at a quiet tavern.  The music that fills the air seems to be coming directly from this gentle man with dark hair, otherworldly eyes and olive toned skin, wearing an off-white cotton overshirt, without a turban. A stack of of cloth papers and a quill pen sits on the table before him.

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“Where do we go when we leave this pale plane?  I know we go on forever, in various forms, but do we retain the sense of a unified consciousness?”

“Do you fear your own freedom so much that you would seek to contain its expression after your bird-soul is released?”

“I know that at least in this body-state, for all of its slow progress and limitations, it is solid; this lifetime is predictable, consistent. I go to sleep at night and I awake the next morning in the same body and Mind, day by day by day, for many decades. Without this solid frame, I don’t know where I will be.”

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“Where are you, Now? Who are you, really?”

“I am Soul and not this body; yet there is comfort in the familiarity of my little-self personality and identity.”

“When you dream at night where do you go? Who are you Here?”

“Much of the time I am still me; other times I am personas from within the dream, or something greater.”

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“What happens in these dreams when you feel yourself ‘something greater’ than your little ego form?”

“I am just a perspective, often. Not with a body although it doesn’t feel that way. But I am still me, as a point of view.  Sometimes I can fly; sometimes I ride a Pegasus. But I am not aware of having a body in those experiences.  Yet still, you see, that is my question. These dreams are episodic, not connected to one other. I am here or in another here, but I do not live a connected lifetime. I am afraid of letting go of that thread of continuity.”

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Jalal sighs, a twinkle of laughter in his patient look. He slides the paper he has been writing on across to me on the table. Then he pushes his chair back from the table and gets up. He walks to a wooden platform on the side of the tavern where a man has been playing a stringed instrument like a lyre. Rumi sits tailor fashion on a large silk pillow on the platform stage. He draws out a reed flute from his wrap. He closes his eyes and lifts the flute to his lips and he begins to play.

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I look at the writing on the page in front of me, listening to the delicate music. It is a poem, one I have read before, many times:

Oak branches

This Disaster

Why am I part of this disaster, this mud hole for donkeys? Is this the place

where Jesus spoke? Surely not. A table has been set, but we have not been served

sweet spring water yet. Evidently we came here to be bound hand and foot. I ask

a flower, “How is it you are so wise so young?” “With the first morning wind and

the first dew, I lost my innocence.” I follow the one who showed me the way. I                 

extend one hand up, and with the other I touch the ground. A great branch leans

down from the sky. How long will I keep talking of up and down? This is not my

home: silence, annihilation, absence! I go back where everything is nothing.

Coleman Barks, The Soul of Rumi

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