It seems to me that the ‘normal’ setting of my nervous system is assertive, that I place myself according to my wants, facing in the direction that satisfies them. Even when I feel I am at my least assertive, when I don’t want to engage, I assert this stance also by turning away from what does not please me.
Can I observe the nature of assertiveness? Does it not isolate me? Does it not establish a narrow, selective range of perception?
Last night in zikr, it seemed that we were invited along a different path. The first step was a request, to abandon self-assertion, to set aside self-importance, to relax the physical posture that holds our assertiveness in place. An invocation of humility followed naturally. Humility is an ‘inner’ posture, a declination of breath and body and sense of self, an inner bowing of mind and heart, a rounded softness. Humility could be called ‘poor in spirit’ which refers not to a lack of energy, not a defeat but rather a dimming of self-assertion.
The first of the Beatitudes says: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven” (King James Version).
Humility invited intimacy. Barriers collapsed. Intimacy is to be close, so close as to be able to follow the subtle movements of the one with whom I am intimate by knowing them in my own response. Intimacy is everything in prayer. Is there an answer in prayer, one could ask? Yes, intimacy, that is the answer. Prayer contains its own answer. Perhaps I could think that I do not know the one to whom I pray. But in fact I do, in knowing the response which is called by Him in me.
Intimacy invites sweetness. Sweetness is the taste of my relationship with my Beloved. This is an inner taste, the essence of the sweetness found in honey.