Living the Question

"Just throw away all thoughts of imaginary things, and stand firm in that which you are."--Kabir

Last week I wrote about the first few lines of this poem by Kabir, and above are the final lines. While I love the whole poem, the first and last lines are so affecting, so striking for me. What could these "imaginary things" be? Anything which is not real, not grounded in the present reality, in what is. Big imaginary plans and goals for how we will be in the future (we will be perfect!). Comparisons and competition with other people.

Kabul says in earlier stanzas, "Do you believe there is some place that will make the soul less thirsty? In that great absence you will find nothing. Be strong then, and enter into your own body; there you have a solid place for your feet." In other words, quit looking outward and around. We won't find what we are looking for out there, but simply by being who we already are.

I love this concept. There is something that makes me feel such relief when I hear these words. At the same time, this is very hard for me to actually accept. I love goals. I love lists of things to do. My modus operandi is to "work on myself." So when I hear, "stand firm in that which you are," I think. Yes!...but...what if who I am is not always who I want to be?


This seems to be the theme of 2015 for me in some ways. To realize that all my strict goals and striving are not getting me much in terms of actual change...yet there is worth in seeking to feel better, stronger, and healthier. I suppose for me it is a struggle against the "all or  nothing"  mentality. Either I sit back and say, "this is how I am" and I give in to any lazy and unhealthy impulse/inertia, or I say, "this is the day that I change everything!" and I make seventeen lists for how things are going to be from now on. Shortly after that, I get overwhelmed and possibly physically injured. Sigh.

I have to admit, I don't know how to be different than this. In a recent retreat, one of the teachers suggested that in a time like this, we should "live the question." So, that's where I am right now with throwing way imaginary things and standing firm in that which I am. I don't really know how exactly to do it-- to keep being a seeker and at the same time to fully love and accept the person that I am at this moment. But I am intrigued enough to live the question-- to ponder and explore this idea of balance.