I got what I asked for (even though I could never have imagined what would happen)

I got what I asked for (even though I could never have imagined what would happen)

A few weeks ago I attended an introduction to the Oneness Blessing (see post here). I’ve been checking in with myself, formally and informally, ever since. I was kind of forced to do it at first because what happened initially was so confusing to me, and I’ve just kept doing it as part of my spiritual and self-care practices. (This is part of the value of regular, formal practice: it provides structure for checking in with yourself so what’s happening inside doesn’t get missed in the busyness of living.)

I noticed yesterday morning that I had gotten what I asked for when I received the Oneness Blessing, even though I could never have imagined, when I was asking, what would happen.

My intention for the blessing was “L’sheim yichud kudsha brich’hu.” I wanted the blessing for the sake of the unification of the holy, blessed One. My request was to be connected with a personal divine.

I’ve been religious all my life, in a variety of ways, and I’ve always held the conviction that there is something greater than the personal self, but I’ve never had any experience of it. I was sure of this as a fact, that there is something greater than the personal self, but my assurance came from inference, not experience.

I have always thought I should have some anthropomorphic figure, a humanized version of this something greater, to whom I could relate. Most of the literature I’ve read on devotion says so and who am I to challenge that? I’ve always imagined that eventually, “someone” would come to me. (Bless my long-time teacher of yoga for consistently holding space for me in which my experience of not having that is OK.) So this is what was in my mind when I asked to be connected experientially to a personal divine.

As I write this, I am remembering the feelings and sensations that I experienced in the days following the blessing. My heart felt achey and throbby. I was teary. My experiencing was suffused with heartache, a kind of aching longing for something. It reminded me then, and still does now, of the poem The Reed Flute’s Song (excerpted from Coleman Barks’ translation in The Essential Rumi):

Since I was cut from the reedbed, I have made this crying sound. Anyone apart from someone he loves understands what I say. Anyone pulled from a source longs to go back. Rumi

Since I was cut from the reedbed,
I have made this crying sound.
Anyone apart from someone he loves
understands what I say.
Anyone pulled from a source
longs to go back.
Rumi

In my journal, I wrote at the time that the feelings I was having were almost like when you’re upset, really upset, just longing for a hug, wishing the person in front of you would reach out their arms and enfold you, but at the same time afraid of what would happen if they did, and you got that hug you’ve wanted so badly.

It’s an overwhelming, confusing experience of relief and pain and opening and more, all mixed up together. It’s not exactly nice, although there are nice things about it.  I could never have known when I wrote this in my journal 10 days ago, how true it would be: Getting what you want is almost too painful. Even as I write it now, the hair stands up on the back of my neck.

I didn’t know what was happening. A kind friend pointed out my heart was opening. She was right.

Sitting today to write this, I’m inspired to cry about it more, to open my heart, let it fill with longing, see it red and throbby. I’m inspired to let the sadness and longing in, to allow the reed flute to make its plaintive song. This is the direction I’m being given about my bhakti practice.

My insides remind me that this is similar to what I felt when my beloved husband was far away, across an international border, and how painful it was to be separated. How utterly despairing I felt not knowing if or when we would ever see one another again because neither of us was ever sure we would be allowed across the border when we were headed to see the other. It was too much. I didn’t want to feel that.

In a way, this is too much. I don’t want to feel it. But it’s the blessing. The connection is in the longing. I can feel the presence of what I want entwined in the very longing for it. It’s a confusing and very strong experience of relief and pain and opening and more, all mixed up together.

I think this is what my yoga teacher was getting at when I told her I was committing to bhakti and she told me to read Chasm of Fire, by Irina Tweedie. Bhakti is not only the flowy, unconditional love experience, like I’ve had many times before, of being in the flowing of loving, feeling loving flowing through me, independent to of external circumstances. Bhakti is also painful, bloody, throbby, juicy, teary, and heart-wrenching. Anyone separated from someone they love understands what I say. I trust totally in love. I trusted totally in the love of my dearest beloved husband. I could feel his presence across the distance as I longed to be with him. This connection is like that, except without the despair.

Before I asked, looking ahead and predicting what would happen, I could never have imagined this. I could never have imagined that this “pain”—a sweet, bittersweet kind of pain that is nevertheless painful, and that takes a conscious surrendering to, and that can be overwhelming, and that I don’t want to feel—is what I would receive when I asked for connection with a personal divine. If I had, I don’t think I would have asked for it. But looking backwards now at what has happened, it makes total sense. It’s the next logical step.

This reminds me of an important lesson: in order to receive what I asked for, I need ways to pay attention to what comes. My predictions of what I will get when I ask are not how things actually turn out. When I run with the assumption that, if it doesn’t look like I imagined it would, I didn’t get anything, I totally miss what’s actually happening. I’m receiving what I asked for, but unless I’m paying attention, I miss that. Not checking in is like ordering something by mail, then forgetting to check the mailbox. I’ll never get the package unless I actually go to the mailbox. It could be sitting right there and I would never know.

In addition, the act of paying attention allows for more unfolding. When I sat down to write this post, I had planned to write something completely different than I actually did. It was only when I dropped that plan (that wasn’t really working out) that the writing flowed. I didn’t know that what would come is this awareness of the depth of the gift I’ve been given. I didn’t know the inspiration to open my heart and cry more would come. But now, having made room for it, I know that is the next right step.

God picks up the reed-flute world and blows. Each note is a need coming through one of us, a passion, a longing pain. Remember the lips where the wind-breath originated, and let your note be clear. Don't try to end it. Be your note. - Rumi

4 Comments

  1. This has been my experience of late. I’m opening up to the feelings (the longing, the hurt)that lay hidden until now and it’s painful yet a relief at the same time. Acknowledging what is there makes way for the process of opening oneself to what the heart is wanting. For me, part of the difficulty in that was the possibility I might not ever get what I am seeking, but then it comes to us in ways that we don’t expect when we embrace what is happening and find the meaning in it all.

    Reply
    • Yes. It’s hard to imagine we might not get what we asked for. And even harder to look at what’s wanted, because of that. Thanks for commenting!

      Reply
      • this humanised divinity, i think, is present in us all. it takes a good deal of self-love and trust in your own wisdom to find it, though–a lot of conscious evolution. people come and go, including those meant to be in our lives, and so we can’t really seek out a figure separate from ourselves to give us what we need. we can appreciate them, they can add to our happiness, but I find we see more of what they have to give us when we find that love/higher worth/divinity in our own selves.

        Reply
        • How cool is this? You say, “we see more of what they have to give us when we find that love/higher worth/divinity in our own selves.” I never thought of that. Thanks for posting it. Wow.

          Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign Up for Yoga Classes Today Learn more
Hello. Add your message here.