I don't normally quote Rumi – not because he isn't terrifically inspiring, because he is. It's more because he's so – quoted. But this one really spoke to me today, especially the line 'Dance in the middle of the fighting'. I imagined applying that to any trials I'm facing and thought – wow, that would be liberating. And, I'm beginning to realise, achievable.
For me, access to this comes in three things:
1) Letting the joy from my blessings – and they far outweigh the trials in my life (I had a dumbstruck moment when I realised that earlier today) – shine inside me and provide strength. They are sent to me by God, I have a duty to acknowledge them and gain what I can from them, and I can choose to fight my trials with joy in my heart – and that helps me to dance. (It also helps me detach myself from the fight – why would I want that angst when I have all these incredible blessings to enjoy?)
2) Looking beyond the rational, logical plane of what appears to be – my challenges seem daunting because somebody is more powerful than me, I don't have enough money, there is so much work involved etc. – and looking up, higher, to a different horizon and focal point: God, the Creator, who has dominion over all things, including my trials. When He becomes my focal point, I can almost literally see over the heads of my challenges to Him, and everything else just becomes smaller.
3) Fight the good fights. I am beginning to learn this, and it challenges me to let go of fights I want to fight out of personal anger, or a desire for vengeance. Those fights come from the ego, and are not good fights – those fought for God's Way. That, to me, does not necessarily mean fighting literally for God, but for the values, principles and behaviours God has enjoined on me. I know that He has commanded me to stand up against oppression and defend myself (Qur'an 42:39) – and also given me the capacity and allowance to forgive – and juxtaposes that with condemnation of those who oppress others, who transgress bounds and defy right and justice (42:42). If I am fighting to defend principles of fairness, giving and receiving just due, and the other human values set out in the Qur'an – and this could be in very 'normal' situations like an error in your tax calculation, or a charge made without basis, or due process not being followed – then I like to think I am fighting the good fight, one on principles ordained by God rather than personal ego. To let go of the baggage that personal vendettas sneakily place on us is also liberating; when I let go of that weight, I'm also free to dance.
I am not a master of these principles. I am just beginning to grasp them, and in the moments I do, the liberation I experience is profound. It is immediate and empowering, and my perspective on the world shifts: with my eyes on God, dealing with what the world throws at me becomes possible. To achieve mastery over them is my test. In that space, being able to dance in the fight becomes a much more real possibility than it might have seemed, and I think when you are able to do that is the moment when you are absolutely free.
Source credits for the beautiful image: @nadeemkhawar