This past weekend, I was leading a mandala workshop with an amazing group of women and we were discussing change and the accompanying feelings of uncertainty -- always a personal challenge whenever any of us has to face it yet, at the same time, certainly a universally common experience. One of the women referred us to her favorite Rumi poem, "Chickpea to Cook."
A chickpea leaps almost over the rim of the pot
where it's being boiled.
"Why are you doing this to me?"
The cook knocks him down with the ladle.
"Don't you try to jump out.
You think I'm torturing you.
I'm giving you flavor,
so you can mix with spices and rice
and be the lovely vitality of a human being.
Remember when you drank rain in the garden.
That was for this."
Grace first. Sexual pleasure,
then a boiling new life begins,
and the Friend has something good to eat.
Eventually the chickpea
will say to the cook,
"Boil me some more.
Hit me with the skimming spoon.
I can't do this by myself.
I'm like an elephant that dreams of gardens
back in Hindustan and doesn't pay attention
to his driver. You're my cook, my driver,
my way into existence. I love your cooking."
The cook says,
"I was once like you,
fresh from the ground. Then I boiled in time,
and boiled in the body, two fierce boilings.
My animal soul grew powerful.
I controlled it with practices,
and boiled some more, and boiled
once beyond that,
and became your teacher."
May you face the inevitable uncertain times in your life with the wisdom of the chickpea AND the cook. Both of them came to understand the depth of our interconnectedness and the life-affirming importance of finding and following your own path.