Thursday, June 30, 2005

looking skyward

They say love finally is its own relief,

First bitter and spicy but finally sweet.

Though the earth turns like a stone in a mill,

This never-resting face looks skyward still.

#400: From Rumi's Kolliyaat-e Shams-e Tabrizi

Search words: relief

We have some relief in the house with tension broken at last. Outside, the rain pours down relentlessly. It feels like a reminder that resolving tension at one level can simply lead to a deepening of tension, a transferring of issues to more grounded concerns. Nothing is ever final anyway, as Rumi reminds me here.

I'd love to understand just how a stone does turn in a mill. Is Rumi alluding here to a revolving earth? Does he understand, centuries before Copernicus, that the day is created by the earth's movement while the sun stands still? It seems like that but it's hard to say for sure. This photo of a stone mill certainly suggests it.

NACM stone mill

cider makers' stone mill

Not only does the mill stone revolve on its own axis but it revolves around the centre of the base stone, a dual revolution exactly as the earth performs on a daily and yearly basis. It really is hard to escape the conclusion that Rumi knew about this, way back then. Was Shams an early Islamic Giordano Bruno and Rumi a corresponding Galileo? Did Rumi have to hide his knowledge inside love poems?

Of course, there is a simple poetic meaning to this mill stone image as it refers to the daily grind, a metaphor we use to this day. As a seeker after truth, Rumi looks beyond these daily concerns, up to the heavens or spiritual realm wherein lie both intellectual and aesthetic formulations. This is clearly Rumi's great and constant love. And mine also, to the extent that I can escape from concerns with the daily necessities of life: keeping warm, keeping fed, keeping entertained.

The image of a mill stone turning while Rumi gazes upwards also reminds me of the whirling dervishes, a ritual meditation of the Mevlevi Sufi school or brotherhood that Rumi helped found.

The downpour has now ceased and birdsong welcomes me to a new day.


At Thursday, 30 June, 2005, Blogger sparkwidget said...

I like your website. Please check out mine, and feel free to send me an email to chat sometime, and tell me about yourself.

At Thursday, 30 June, 2005, Blogger sparkwidget said...

Oh, and I'll gladly link to you on my site with your permission.

Be sure to visit all the 'Gnostics and Gnosticish' links on the left side of my weblog. There's a growing community of blogs including myself, Jeremy Puma from Fantastic Planet, Interhejected, and Jordan Stratford in Nova Albion Ecclesia Gnostica, that we have half-labeled the "Gnostisphere."

At Thursday, 30 June, 2005, Blogger Arizona said...

Thanks, sparkwidget, I really like your site and will add it to my list. I'll also refer to your definition page as this is what I'm currently agonising over.

I'd love to be included on your own list. :)


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