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Bidden or Not Bidden, God Is Present
(epitaph on tombstone of C.G.Jung)


You walk in looking like you’re about to say,
“Enough of this!: But it’ll take more

than frowns and harsh talking
to make my love leave.

This is the undauntable bird,
who’s never been caged,
or felt fear.


from Birdsong by Rumi
translation by Coleman Barks

There is a song that reverberates in the deepest chambers of our core experience. This song echoes at the juncture of our primordial drives and our esoteric questing. This song is the sacred elixir that fills the grail known simply to each of us as “my life”.

The music is easily recognized in the presence of any newborn. The wonder of spirit taking physical form drives a melody into unique cadences and rhythms. This song offers life curiosity with which to wake and soothing balm to ease one’s sleep. The pain of the world is vast when this song is stifled.

The song, however, will not cease. As external experience validates harsh realities and the inevitability of suffering, the singing persists, clings and surges in defiant ownership, “I am the eternal ecstatic. I will not die.”

So... one more paradox in a world of copious dilemmas. All grandeur and glory amidst infinite challenge and despair. The physical world is an arena of free will. We are free to sing, and we are free to scream. Choosing an outlook is our birthright. As we experiment with different paths, we learn. Each choice receives feedback from our inner guidance if we are willing to listen. Is this choice enhancing my natural song, my innate being, my personal ecstatic?

Gradually the outer world knocks us harder, and we fall deeper into doubt. So much energy is spent rationalizing how things really are that we lose trust in our personal melody. We buck up, brace ourselves and line up defenses in order to cope with an angry reality which has run amok. Unwittingly, we employ samskara. The ache of incarnation becomes a vibration which distorts our genuine path, our loving, inner music. As worldly pain becomes familiar, we attach to compensations like overeating and intoxicants.

There is something unwaveringly committed yet entirely vulnerable in the gestalt of our hearts. It is the resonance of a vertical truth, the mystifying sound of divinity, the release from samskara.

As Westerners we tend to project the divine onto an external, human image. Yet we are taught the word soul. We are said to be children of God. In order to make balance in one’s chosen journey, it’s necessary to seek the sublime within the human container.

We often have difficulty initiating a practice of going inward. Mental chatter, busy agendas and guilt driven obligations tend to block access to our now elusive, inner bliss. Remember how empowering it felt to build those defenses? Practical arguments of responsibility and intelligence easily shield us from the subtle realm of the inner divine.

Consequently, we find a quality of white noise that inhibits reception from our spiritual center. The language of our intuition is symbolic. There are glimpses, images and inclinations that seek our conscious involvement. So often we shrug off these messages like a dream that we don’t understand. Rather than integrating an essential tool, we find a sentimental hook. The infinite and eternal essence of God distorts into projected fantasies of unrelenting passion, eternal youth or an all loving mother. Heaven help the person we’re facing!

Fortunately for us, our sacred song sings through all of our confusion. All we really need to do is to avail ourselves for the inner concert. That is where a devotional practice begins. Merely show up, look within and still the world.

What? You sat and didn’t hear anything special? Try again. Try with regular attendance at your inner altar. Make a disciplined and invested commitment to listen. Active participation in ritual, regular appointments with symbolic mind/body practice, strengthens our capacity for intuitive reception. Every subtle connection we recognize enables more communion, more trust, more authentic music.

When the process of disciplined practice becomes a delight, devotion is the reward. We now sing the inner song with conscious participation. The divine within seeks to join the larger chorus of the of the divine beyond with infinite orchestral reverberations.

What? You’ve been accused of singing your own tune? Dancing to your own drummer? Wow! How great is that? Mala this: Om Mani Padme Hum!

by Toni Zuper
Alternative Healing
Center City, Philadelphia


published in Yoga Living -- November 2005 issue