When I speak of Union with The Beloved,
Of Her Abidance in one's Heart,
I do not, for a moment, mean to imply,
That we no longer suffer,
The ecstasies and agonies,
Of manifest existence.

Attar was slain by the Mongols,
As The Beautiful One watched.

Ramakrishna's throat deteriorated,
With The Beloved by his side.

Teresa of Avila gasped for breath,
Never abandoned by The Merciful One.

The disease in Ramana's arm took his body,
As he drowned in The Fountain of Grace.

St. Francis, as well, suffered greatly,
Beneath Brother Sun and Sister Moon.

And on, and on, and on.

This notion that all suffering will cease,
In the arms of The Beloved,
Seems, in my experience, misguided,
For body, mind, and emotions,
Continue their inevitable play,
In the ever changing “weather” of manifestation.

However “transcendent” in one sense,
We are, in another, here, and embodied,
Moving in the Dream of space and time,
In duality, conditionality, and causality,
In the ephemeral apparition,
Of birth, growth, maturation, decay, and death.

It is The Heart, rather, that is Healed,
The Soul, rather, that is Comforted,
The Spirit, rather, that is Blessed,
In our Deepest Interiority,
In the Heart's Secret Garden,
Intoxicated, in the Tavern of The Beloved.

It is there that She resides,
Through the tears of our outer sufferings,
Within the laughter of our outer joys
Through the vicissitudes of fate,
In the shock of our birth,
And the whisper of our last breath.

Though Joy and Sorrow ebb and flow,
Laughter and tears come and go,
Faith and belief stand strong or collapse,
It is Within that The Beloved Shines,
Within, that the Merciful One Comforts,
Within, that The Wellspring of Grace flows.

Even so… I breathe the prayer,
That if Her Presence in this Heart,
Grants but one wish,
It be that all Hearts Illumine, Within,
And, even against the Laws of Creation,
That none should suffer, without.