Saturday, August 06, 2005

open secrets

Heart, in this hard time let me share secrets.

Soul, bow your head down in agreement.

Patience, you can't stand this pain; run away.

Reason, you're nothing but a child; go play.

#1406: From Rumi's Kolliyaat-e Shams-e Tabrizi

Search words: hard

I have been having a hard time getting up early in the morning, feeling oppressed and anxious, no longer for myself but for my son. I know he's going through a hard time right now, as there is a gathering momentum toward decision time. It isn't even clear what the decisions are, only that they are vaguely hovering about and demanding to be made.

I wonder what "hard time" Rumi is referring to here. I've often thought that he had something to say that could have been expressed intellectually but had to be expressed covertly through poetry. He had something innovative to say but it would have been deemed heretical by the dogmatists. I'm convinced, for example, that he understood that the earth circles the sun and not vice versa. This would not be a deep truth, however. At most, it would belong to the playground of reason as hinted at in the fourth line. No, Rumi is expressing some secret knowledge or gnosis in his verses. It requires of him great patience coupled with great leadership skills: the patience to accept that he will not see these secrets understood in his own lifetime, and the leadership to carry on regardless without disciples or companions. Rumi's is a fruit meant to take centuries to ripen.

At this stage I have no idea what novel secrets Rumi meant to share but I mean to keep working at it. I'm convinced the answers are in there somewhere.


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