by Elizabeth Venart
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. – Rumi
In a time when the answers to so many questions are only a few keyboard clicks or a Siri search away, deeper questions about meaning and spirituality may go unasked or, when asked, feel even more elusive. Since the beginning of recorded history – and certainly through oral traditions for a long time before that – people have sought a way to make sense out of the inexplicable and extraordinary. Spiritual mystics from every faith tradition have shared their transcendental experiences of Divine Connection as a way to support others on the path to enlightenment. In our monthly spiritual poetry gatherings at the center, we explore their writings – from 12th century Rumi and 13th century Hafiz through Rilke and modern-day Mary Oliver. Sufi poets Rumi and Hafiz are often at the center of our evenings, as they speak eloquently of experiences of connection with the Divine – and the experiences of longing when the connection to God feels distant. These spiritual teachers grapple with the big questions about love, life, death, beauty, joy, and suffering. In a world where hard questions and concrete answers abound, Sacred Poetry has the power to help us open more deeply to Mystery.
Over the past five years of monthly poetry evenings, we have embraced the time together as its own act of surrendering to Mystery – moving away from a more solid plan with specific poems copied to share and moving toward spontaneous selection of poems from a pile of books in the center of the room. We take turns choosing poems at random and those who wish to read aloud do, so we can all listen with humor and curiosity to see to see what wisdom and themes emerge. We don’t always understand the poems read, but we gain something regardless – a phrase or image that jumps out at us, laughter, tears, a new question, or the peace or cacophony stirred by the poem’s language and rhythm. Our poetry evenings are sometimes whimsical, sometimes profoundly deep, and always connecting. Join us – if you feel curious or called. Learn more at https://www.meetup.com/resiliencygatherings/events/239488901/