A friend of mine sent me this poem a few days ago and while it touched me then, it continues to seep into my soul in an unexpected way.
With That Moon Language
With That Moon Language
Everyone you see, you say to them, “Love me.”
Of course you do not do this out loud, otherwise someone would call the cops.
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?
The poem speaks of giving others, through our eyes, the love that we all long to receive. Since reading it, I had been trying to do that by walking the streets here in Ukraine and seeing others with loving eyes, attempting to actually give to them that love, albeit silently and anonymously.
What I had missed in a way though was the earlier part of the poem that talks about actually feeling the yearning for the love we all yearn for, for connection to other people. So this morning, as I was waiting for the aftobus (trolley car) which would take me to the train station (I’m writing this from that train which I very nearly missed – train rolling out of the station, employee yelling in Russian for my ticket, hoisting my suitcase up, tweaking my back, clambering aboard, etc.) I practiced looking at others with my own eyes yearning for love, feeling my own desire for connection with others. The experience very quickly became intensely strong. It surprised me how strong that yearning really is in me, that yearning to be loved by and connected to other people. It’s not a complete surprise but the strength of it was surprising. It was much easier to actually see others with loving eyes, giving others what they need, rather than to feel my own need.
This is definitely insightful for me as I think it points to how I cover up my own need with a posture of being more generous with my love. I seek to love everybody, and have learned to be much more loving, but am I actually open to feeling my own need for such love?
It’s almost terrifying to fully allow this feeling because it has an accelerating quality to it, much like that of a dam breaking more and more open from the increasing pressure of the water, or beginning a slide off a treacherous cliff. There is also a hint of shame in it too, as if it is faulty to need or long for love and connection. I find this very curious and I wonder if others have a similar experience or are they the other way around where it is harder for them to love others than to acknowledge their own needs. This may help to explain how I can be in relationship too, for why should I open my own heart up to others when my experience of the need would be of an accelerating or out-of-control need? I would have to trust someone else to a great extent to really open that part of myself. The risk of course is that should I open up and allow my own need, there is a chance that I would not be attended to, or worse yet, that I would be abandoned. Ugh, this stuff is difficult.
I just saw something very interesting: It has become almost cliché to say that in order to love another person we have to learn to love ourselves first. I think a closer truth is that in order to love another we need to be in touch with our own need for love. If we can recognize that need in ourselves then we are more able to give our love to the place in the other person that needs and yearns for love. Without that capability, loving another is perhaps not as other-focused as it could be. At the very least, I would say that loving another in recognition of the depth of our own yearning is likely a much more generous love.
Since reading the poem, I have tried seeing others with my own yearning eyes a few different times, most recently this morning while waiting for the aftobus at several different locations (different instructions from different people coupled with my own lack of understanding which lead to my running through the aforementioned train station) and I noticed that I couldn’t do it for very long without being distracted. I’ve learned through past experience that I more easily get distracted when I subconsciously feel uncomfortable. I’ll continue to practice this, but I tell you it is sooooooooooo much easier for me to give love to others than to acknowledge my own need.
I love how sometimes it takes a Persian mystic/poet who lived 700 years ago to point to something that remains so elusive in our culture and more specifically within me.