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beyond the veil


The poet Hafiz wrote:

Between the lover and the Beloved there must be no veil.

Thou thyself art thine own veil – get out of the way!’

I find this a very helpful image to work with. In my own prayer journey, I have been noticing how often my self-referential thinking hijacks my awareness and keeps me from being present and open to the presence of God. I have also noticed, though, that when I recognise this, and willingly let go of my own stuff, there is a clarity and inner spaciousness that begins to open up with practice, and a growing awareness of God threaded through and intimately accessible in this now moment. Even our experiences of bewilderment, frustration or sorrow hold the possibility of profound intimacy with God our Beloved if we just stay with it, and drop our ego need to control, resist or create a story around the experience. What is needed from us, then, is to continually choose to let go of our own stuff, our self absorption and self-referential story-lines revolving around our needs for security, control and approval, and to return to a simple receptive presence with God in the immediacy of the present moment.

The Message version of 2 Corinthians 3:16-17 is a beautiful passage about this removal of the veil.

Whenever we turn to face God as Moses did, God removes the veil and there we are — face-to-face! Then we recognize that God is a living, personal presence. And when God is personally present, a living Spirit, that old, constricting legislation is recognized as obsolete. We’re free of it! All of us! Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of his face.

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