Separation drives all our longings to be loved, to be accepted and to be free. We hunger for love but continually revel in self-hatred. We long for acceptance yet struggle with self-judgment, imagining we should be different from how we are. We judge ourself as being unworthy, all the while feeling that there is some deeper understanding that will heal us, but this understanding always seems to remain just out of our grasp. Hafiz says:
Everyone you see, you are saying to them, "Love me."
Of course, you do not do this aloud;
otherwise, someone would call the police.
Still though, think about this,
This great pull in us to connect.
Why not become the one who lives
with a full moon in each eye that is always saying,
with that sweet moon language,
what every other eye in this world is dying to hear.
-Hafiz, The Gift
Welcoming is the Solution
So what can we do? What can we do in the face of our anxiety, fear and self-judgment? We can accept what is. What could be simpler? When we open to accepting each moment as it is we greet each moment in an attitude of welcoming. Welcoming acknowledges everything as an expression of life. Welcoming excludes nothing. It embraces everything. And this is love, is it not?
There is one timeless moment (movement)
that leads to permanence,
and that is the moment (movement)
that opens into welcoming.
underlying all motion,
full of love,
without hunger or hope.
Here, without effort
our waiting lover's arms
are embracing us into
our heart's desire.
-Richard Miller, unpublished poems
We are healed of our separation, of our suffering, the moment we live this attitude of welcoming. Welcoming isn't something we do. It is what we are. Welcoming is the ground of our being. Welcoming returns us to being presence. Welcoming opens us to unitive presence, which is love in action, love that knows no separation. Love doesn't reject. Loves knows no judgment. And isn't this what we yearn for…to be a part of, to be accepted and to be loved? Derek Walcott writes:
The time will come, when,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door,
in your own mirror.
And each will smile at the other's welcome,
and say, "Sit here. Relax. Eat."
You will love again this stranger who is your Self.
So give wine. Give bread.
Give back your heart,
to this stranger who has loved you
all of your life,
whom you ignored for another,
but who has always known you by heart.
Take down the love letters from your bookshelf,
the photographs and the desperate notes.
Peel your self-image from the mirror.
Sit, here and feast on your life.
Fall in love again with your Self and with all of life.
-Derek Walcott, Sea Grapes, 1976
When we live in welcoming the mind that separates grows silent. We live in the wonderment of always being vulnerable. Here, the mind admits, "It doesn't know anything." We feel ourself as a ground of being that expresses itself through the heart as joyfulness, peace and a presence that bypasses all conceptual understanding.
Paradoxically, our desire to achieve unitive presence takes us away from being who we actually are. Our desires to be recognized, admired, to be somebody, take us away from ourself. Unitive presence is not an object that we can obtain. It is who we are. And because of this fact it is always calling us home to itself, beckoning us to live this attitude of welcoming. Our desires are fulfilled as we relinquish trying to obtain it as a prize and simply open into being the presence that we are.