In love, nothing exists between heart and heart.
Speech is born out of longing,
True description from the real taste.
The one who tastes, knows;
the one who explains, lies.
How can you describe the true form of Something
In whose presence you are blotted out?
And in whose being you still exist?
And who lives as a sign for your journey?
- 8th century Muslim poet Rabia al-Basri
Your task is not to seek for love,
but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself
that you have built against it.
We are connected now, not just by the invisible lines of the energy at the heart of all things. This "heart of all things" connection has always been, even as groups encountered each other, clashed, made war or peace, and lived in their place and time which shaped their cultural and spiritual expressions. Today, we are now connected by the internet, and the global summit of the world of ideas, and… ideologies… is available to anyone who is able to log in.
On March 15th, 2019, the very same day that 15-year-old Greta Thunberg led a worldwide skip school protest for climate justice, a 28-year-old man chose to enact a mass shooting at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, claiming his actions were anti-immigration in intent.
I have never had the honour of visiting New Zealand, but I have had the honour of knowing a number of folks from New Zealand, and I have always felt there is an innocence and beauty carried in the culture, that is palpable in the presence of the people I have known.
Today, as I held my youngest, who is nearing his 3rd birthday, I longed for little 3-year-old Mucad Ibrahim to be okay. To be safe and with his family. My heart stretched all the way to the families in Christchurch, grieving and in shock, and then, to the Ummah around the world.
Words are powerful. The energy behind our words are powerful. It is clear that a grassroots movement for the things that make this world beautiful is growing. But it is also clear that an alt-right neo white supremacy movement is growing. And I’m going to be clear about something: the degree to which we can suffer and mourn with our Muslim brothers and sisters about this massacre, is the exact degree to which we have faced the brunt of our own addiction to overconsumption, fundamentalism, power, and white privilege. Now is not the time to say “what about” anything. As Saint Francis wrote, "O Master, let me not seek as much to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love." We must put the parable of the Good Samaritan to work now more than ever ... to see the highest and the good in the "other", and to look at our own corruption. Let's not kid ourselves... and as Christians, let's call it out... this white nationalist terrorism rearing its hideous head has its roots in slaveholder Christianity, and in an Islamophobia forged in great part by Christian fundamentalism.
The song I want to share today, Heart and Heart, comes from the new Meditation With Children album (to be released April 27th, 2019). There is a beautiful line I worked with, from a poem called Reality, by one of my favourite poets, the 8th Century Sufi mystic Rabia al-Basri.
The line I used from her poem is:
In love, nothing exists between heart and heart.
This line brings us back to the heart of all things, that I mentioned at the beginning of this reflection.
But here’s the tricky bit. Unitive or nondual consciousness is not uniformity. It is not homogeneous. We don’t get to skip innocently over this line of Rabia al-Basri’s, this week of all weeks, and begin to feel good about how we’re all connected and how there’s no separation between us and God and the world. While that is true, we are also in the physical realm and we walk around in the skin we’re in.
We must plant Rabia’s line in the most diverse, symbiotic garden you could ever dream of.
As the global summit of online ideologies continues to embolden entitlement, there is a Oneness that is not superficial, that is not cheaply relativistic, and it is in-building an awareness and a love here in our corporeal state, for far-off places and people who are different from ourselves. As more and more awaken to inborn delusions of entitlement and the lie of exceptionalism... that diverse garden has a chance to grow into a beautiful, cacophonous, balance.
PS- Lastly, there is a petition speaking out against the white nationalism behind this shooting, and it is being organized to gather names and messages that will be bound into books and delivered to the families effected by the massacres in Christchurch.
To sign the petition and send your message, click here.
PPS- And men... all of you... go and get initiated through either the Mankind Project or Illuman and then start a men's group in your area when you get home. Love needs all hands on deck, so if it is your tendency to sleep your way through these violent events caused by angry young men, arise and be counted, Elders. The world needs you.
Alana Levandoski is a song and chant writer, recording artist and music producer, in the Christian tradition, who lives with her family on a regenerative farm on the Canadian prairies.