Buddhist Monks

The Invitation

By Oriah Mountain Dreamer

It doesn't interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for,
And if you dare to dream of meeting
Your heart's longing.

It doesn't interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool
For love, for your dream,
For the adventure of being alive.

It doesn't interest me what planets

are squaring your moon.
I want to know if you have touched

the center of your own sorrow,
If you have been opened by life's betrayals,
Or have become shriveled

and closed from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain,
Mine or your own,
Without moving
To hide it or fade it or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy,
Mine or your own,
If you can dance with wildness

and let the ecstasy fill you

to the tips of your fingers and toes
Without cautioning us

to be careful, be realistic,

to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn't interest me

if the story you are telling me is true.
I want to know if you can

disappoint another to be true to yourself,
If you can bear the accusation of betrayal

and not betray your own soul.
I want to know if you can

be faithful and therefore be trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see beauty
Even when it is not pretty every day,
And if you can source your own life
From its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure,
Yours and mine,
And still stand on the edge of a lake

and shout to the silver of the full moon,
"Yes!"

It doesn't interest me

to know where you live

or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can

get up after the night of grief and despair,
Weary and bruised to the bone,
And do what needs to be done for the children.

It doesn't interest me

who you are, how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
In the center of the fire with me
And not shrink back.

It doesn't interest me

where or what or with whom you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you
From the inside
When all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone
With yourself,
And if you truly like the company you keep
In the empty moments.