Mosaicing: The allowing of your life to unfold like a good book. To see your life as a rich and intricate mosaic with pieces missing. To see the gradual unfolding and allowance of life to simply happen, to reveal itself, to discover its richness, becoming lost in its intricate detail with each walking waking step. To live the dream that is life in each moment. To gloriously lose oneself in celebration of each moment. To understand bliss through throwing yourself into emptiness. To allow space for emptiness, for the universe, for the black hole to fill your life with abundance. To have trust in the emptiness, the unkown, to let go and let God.
Looking For Answers
I started this journey of walking from London to Jerusalem with a goal of ‘filling in’ the big picture of my life. Finding all the answers. Finding myself and what I want to do with the rest of my life. Life doesn’t work that way and nor has this journey. It is a slow unraveling, one piece of the mosaic at a time.
Walking long distances such as on a pilgrimage over a few months allows oneself to be able to become one with the rhythm of one’s walking and that of the world around us. The slow pace we traverse the landscape allows for discovery, revelation, serendipity, synchronicity, challenges, and joys to happen.
Yet there is an odd and deep sense of emptiness I yearn for as my cup is continually being filled to the senses with the world around me. Paradoxically, it is this emptiness that fills each day to overflowing.
I hope to take with me, as I soon complete this journey, this embracing of emptiness. For it is the fear of not knowing, that creates paralysis, that destroys the depth of experience in life. In time, back in my daily real life I hope I can replace this fear of the unkown with that of joy. With the feeling that life will be fine no matter what one comes across. There is a deep sense of calm knowing that there is peace even in what externally may look like turmoil.
This sense of emptiness is one we are constantly filling with our own stuff, our fear, concerns, worries, anger, longings, goals, ever dwelling in the past or looking into the future. It is an inner landscape filled with deep dark precipices, vast desolate plains and unscalable mountains if we give into fear.
Rumi described this well in a poem below. It describes our need to be ever filling this cup, and that life is always looking after us, that this emptiness is always taking care of us. Towards the ed of the poem he voices his frustration that words cannot fully describe what he is trying to say about emptiness.
The World Which Is Made Of Our Love For Emptiness
Praise to the emptiness that blanks out existence. Existence:
This place made from our love for that emptiness!
Yet somehow comes emptiness,
this existence goes.
Praise to that happening, over and over!
For years I pulled my own existence out of emptiness.
Then one swoop, one swing of the arm,
that work is over.
Free of who I was, free of presence, free of dangerous fear, hope,
free of mountainous wanting.
The here-and-now mountain is a tiny piece of a piece of straw blown off into emptiness.
These words I’m saying so much begin to lose meaning:
Existence, emptiness, mountain, straw:
Words and what they try to say swept
out the window, down the slant of the roof.
Spiritual Awakening Through Emptiness
Rumi intimates about the spiritual awakening that can happen through embracing emptiness and how precarious this existence can be. How easily like ‘a piece of straw blown off into emptiness‘ we can loose this glimpse into the divine.
This emptiness is a place between thoughts. It is the emptiness that exists between breaths. It is the closing of the eyes and the quietening of thoughts. It is a place that I often crave. A place where life begins.
Missing In Action
Our lives are like an intricate mosaic, an exquisite artwork that slowly reveals itself the more we sit still and allow it to open up to us. By emptying ourselves of thoughts and simply observing we discover details that at first glance we may have missed.
Yet many of us, including myself struggle often with ‘allowing’ life to reveal itself. We need to have completed the whole mosaic. Planned our future, that in the planning it will keep us safe.
Yet this safety can keep us from life, from living deeply. This self- filling of emptiness, of this dark space of creativity, ironically ensures life soon looses its richness and depth.
The Arabic expression, ‘inshallah‘ or ‘God willing‘ to me means that one is open to life revealing itself. To have faith and trust that things will work out. To be open to the rich mosaic of life to reveal itself rather than craving to see it all at once.
The act of pilgrimage takes faith in this emptiness to allow each day to reveal its treasures. One heads in the general direction we have planned. There is a destination. Yet along the way magic is allowed to happen.
The beauty of each step is revealed. It is a glorious unraveling that provides energy and excitement that no kind of forward planning could ever do.
An example of this was a couple of days ago when we happened to literally ‘stumble’ upon Philippi, the ancient city that Paul and Timothy first visited during Paul’s second missionary journey, which occurred between approximately 49 and 51 AD.
The Epistle of Paul and Timothy is the Eleventh book in the New Testament. Philippi is situated on the ancient Roman road known as the Via Egnatia that we have been walking along parts of starting in Durres in Albania.
I was amazed by the city, a miniature version of Ancient Rome, with its amphitheatre and forum. Some of the mosaics have been exquisitely preserved.
This same sense of joy of discovery happened again a day earlier as we fell upon Amphipoli, with its Christian basilica and mosaics featuring bird and sea life.
Sitting at both places I felt the depth of history. I could imagine both sites in their day, They came alive in my imagination. I saw spectators sitting in the amphitheatre at Philippi overlooking the vast flat plain of Drama, and I could see the people in the forum selling their wares and the discussions taking place.
Down The Rabbit Hole
What I have discovered along the journey is that life in all its richness reveals itself through emptiness, through stillness.
Walking through fields and forests, and over hills and mountains is like driving through the landscape in a sense, in slow motion. One can see the great vistas, and see the passing landscape, smell the subtle smell of olive leaves on passing an olive grove, or the hard to miss smell of a fig tree. Yet these are brief glimpses that one gets, a blur of the detail, in a passing landscape.
The detail unfolds when one sits still for a moment. Stopping for a break from walking, sitting on a stone I realise I was sitting on a microcosm, a landcsape in the miniature.
A rock reveals itself to be a land of great biodiversity. In a space no larger than half a square metre there is a variety of plant life, small plants with little leaves, lichen, and mosses and four different species of snails.
Life similarly reveals itself in its infinite detail like fractal geometry the more we sit still. The closer we get the more we see, the more we see, the richer and deeper we realise what we see really is to infinity.
This is the beauty that is revealed through inshallaing.
Inshallaing is the letting go, the allowing, the unfolding of what will be. Inshallaing is the slow breathing in, the inspiration that reveals itself in the space between the inspiring and expiring of the breath. With each breath there is a relaxation that occurs, a confidence, a trust begins. And with this trust is the beginning of life, a life of faith in that life, God, the universe, whatever you may call ‘it’, will provide.
It is a trust that it will provide such abundance in ways you cannot imagine. It is a belief that it will provide that no amount of your own thought could ever compare with.
In this space of emptiness we can experience ecstasy in the moment. It is a place where Moses climbed onto Mount Sinai and found revelation. It is the place of Muses, that through quietness, stillness, and emptiness we allow life to breath words into us.
I believe when I am inspired and I start to write that it isn’t me that is thinking. My mind is empty. I have tapped into this emptiness. I am simply a hand, that is the conduit to the divine that is in everything. I believe many other creatives feel the same.
The word ‘mosaic‘ comes from Old French mosaicq “mosaic work“. From Italian mosaico, from Medieval Latin musaicum “mosaic work‘, work of the Muses.
Just like a creative whether a writer, a painter, or a musician can feel the power of the Muses, when we allow ourselves to fall into this emptiness we too can discover the inspiration and richness that letting go allows.
The journey through Greece has taught me that life is a rich mosaic. It isn’t just three dimensional, but multi dimensional. It transcends time and space. Each day, with each step we are treading landscape steeped in history. We stumble upon the past, we are shown reminders of great civilisations that have come and gone, lives lived and breathed.
Multi Dimensional Living
These are multi dimensional mosaics and so are our lives. It is through this emptiness that we can fall down the rabbit hole and begin a life of great adventure.
It takes courage to let go and ‘let God’ as my mentor, Margaret Hunt, advised me before going on this journey walking from London to Jerusalem. I am a mere mortal, I too stumble and struggle along the path daily, yet when I experience glimpses of emptiness life reveals itself in its glory.
Glimpsing The Ecstiness
In those moments I experience a deep bliss. A bliss that threatens to obliterate me. A bliss that I feel I can’t always contain. A bliss that brings tears to my eyes in the most simple moments and where I fear my heart will burst.
They are insane moments, what should be inane moments, as to a passerby they may have not known what I was glimpsing, They may have seen me look at a rock, yet I could see more than this in that moment.
A Glorious Unfolding
Life is an unfolding. A page by page book. We often want to race ahead to find the conclusion. Sometimes we cheat and read the ending. We often do this in life too. We try to plan ahead. We set goals and expectations. We set ourselves up for disappointment. Yet the greatest appointment we can set ourselves is the one with destiny. The one where we shrug our shoulders, take a deep breath, let go, utter ‘Inshallah’ and let God.
Small Picture Thinking
Many of the exquisite mosaics I saw were only partially complete. The passage of time had destroyed the ‘big picture’. I could only marvel at the glimpses that I had stumbled upon.
Glimpsing The Present
These glimpses is what reveal themselves in our lives. When we forget about the big picture for a moment, and stop trying to fill in all the gaps. When we see our lives as a ‘work in progress’, where there are many empty bits, an unfinished work, our life can become the work of art it was meant to be.
It is in the empty areas, that we can fill with rich moments. We can fill them with the most precious stones, that found shell along the seashore, the pebble that we picked up from a stream along our journey, a piece of coloured broken glass from the good bottle of wine that we had with friends, maybe we can allow it to be filled with love, the unexpected, the synchonious, the serendipitous, the crazy bits of stardust that happen when we give life a go, a chance to form out of the big black hole, this universe.
With a twinkle in your eye, looking up at the stars allow the infiniteness of possibilities to wash over you, allow yourself to drown in the ecstasy of emptiness, the sea of letting go, throw yourself against the fear like a gladiator facing lions in the ancient amphitheatre of Philippi, cast the anchor, set sail like Saint Paul and allow the wind to take you to new lands.