“I have lived on the lip
of insanity, wanting to know reasons,
knocking on a door. It opens.
I've been knocking from the inside.”
I’ve always loved this short poem by the thirteenth-century Islamic poet Rumi. It captures my contemporary existence so accurately. Here I am teetering on the edge of lunacy - the emails, the emails, the emails. I spend my days attempting to make sense of it all; trying to impose myself on this complex world and the even more complex people who inhabit it. Knocking, Knocking, Knocking.
I wish I could access the Persian, a little. I wonder if the original ‘Knock’ might carry a sense of a person pushing to open a door that needs instead to be pulled. Gary Larson has a cartoon that captures the moment with his characteristic crispness - the entrance to a School for The Gifted has a big sign on the door reading pull, and the student is depicted pushing with all their might. I think of the cartoon every time I push at a door that needs to be pulled - in the spirit of the day, I confess it happens often. And not just at literal doors. At least, it turns out I am in good company.
For here is Rumi - one of the great spiritual teachers of all time - knocking, knocking, knocking. He’s desirous of being let into some other quarter, a new place with the promise of answers and ‘reasons,’ but he is on the inside already. Maybe we all are - already on the inside. Maybe there is nowhere else to go to realise whatever we are going to be capable of realising. Maybe to access the ‘reasons,’ maybe to become the person we wish to be, what we have to do is stop knocking and pull on the door we have been pushing against for so long. Our future doesn’t live in some other quarter. It doesn’t even live in our past. It lives in us. We are here already.
The task of the day is to stop knocking, stop questing after something somewhere else. And instead be here, making a space in which to realise you are and you have everything that you need. You are already inside.