What I tell about “me” I tell about you
The walls between us long ago burned down
This voice seizing me is your voice
Burning to speak to us of us.
What I think Rumi is getting at here is that whatever means the most to me will also mean something to you. This is because what is most important to all of us ends up being what we have in common with each other. There is a shared wisdom that we each can draw upon that also connects us all.
One name for this common heritage we all share is the collective unconscious. It is made up of smaller and larger elements that account for the entire human experience, throughout time and place. Its elements are known as motifs and archetypes; these are what burn down the walls between us.
So, maybe a piece of my story will speak to you of something in your story. I think we all have our own “moment of truth” experiences that define or change the course of our lives forever.
One of those defining moments in my own life was when my grandmother came to live with us for part of the year when I was about 9 years old. An only child, I enjoyed having my grandmother stay with us for part of the year, it gave me something new to experience. I soon found that I was drawn to her for some as yet unknown reason.
I wondered, when I observed her in her room every day, why is she so committed to her daily devotions and reading the Bible? There was something about her regular routine that was a mystery to my 9-year-old self. Her daily devotions had a deep impact on me, but, of course, I didn’t realize it then, and I didn’t understand it then.
What I came to find out many years later is that the journey of the soul begins whether we are ready for it or not. It is a journey that, at first, is not tied to consciousness, but later on becomes directly dependent upon the level of conscious awareness we have of our own lives, and the action we take.
My 9-year-old soul was probably well aware of why it was drawn to the mystery of my grandmother’s devotion and commitment. But my 9-year-old mind was not. It was about 15 years later that my conscious mind caught up with my soul, and I began to understand that I was on an eternal journey.
This experience as a nine year old was the ‘moment of truth’ that lead me years later to a series of adventures that became my memoir, Remembering 1969: Searching for the Eternal in Changing Times. Living in a timeless and universal realm, and consciously knowing that we are there, is what makes things matter most. Those things I encountered there are also what I found to be personally sacred. This is a process of soul-making that connects us directly to the universal layer of our existence and to a timeless pattern that others have lived before us.
The more we become familiar with the timeless elements of myths and folk stories, and the sacred pattern they follow, the more we will understand and recognize those same elements in our own lives. This understanding gives us a clearer perspective of our life and helps to make it a more meaningful and even sacred experience. When we can clearly identify the movement from order to disorder and back to order in our lives, along with the resolution of our own conflicts, we have found the universal in the unique and the sacred in the personal. When we do this, we have felt the transformative power of our own experiences and we become consciously aware of the sacred operating in our lives.
When we can identify the times in our lives when something timeless broke into our daily existence, we are transported to the realm of the sacred. Such “moments of truth” give us a feeling of being connected to all of life and make us aware of something eternal within us. These moments have the power to set us off on a whole new direction in life and give us the assurance of being protected and guided through unknown realms.