Are you looking for me? I am in the next seat.
My shoulder is against yours.
You will not find me in the stupas, not in Indian shrine
rooms, nor in synagogues, nor in cathedrals:
not in masses, nor kirtans, not in legs winding
around your own neck, nor in eating nothing but vegetables.
When you really look for me, you will see me instantly –
you will find me in the tiniest house of time.
Kabir says: Student, tell me, what is God?
He is the breath inside the breath.
This poem was sent to me a while ago by my very dear friend and colleague Chloe Homewood, who thought I might appreciate it. And she was right! I love the feeling of closeness – or even intimacy – with the sacred presence that doesn’t depend on “getting it right”, and that we can find ‘in the tiniest house of time’.
Kabir and many fellow mystics often emphasise how this holiness is not dependant on the outer forms of religious practices, but how it’s both more elusive and much more readily present than that. I don’t know exactly who and what Kabir had in mind when he asks his student ‘what is God?’, but for me (as post-Christian, Buddhist inspired mindfulness practitioner) the answer ‘He is the breath inside the breath’ is a deeply satisfying one.
And I don’t mean satisfying on an intellectual level, but as a practice instruction: I feel it’s an invitation to turn inward… to soften, open, listen… to move beyond my habitual involvement in thought as well as my trying so hard to tick all the boxes and be deserving. An invitation to relax and trust that closeness, shoulder against mine, already here.
Time to make space for that, right here and now…