Friday, October 07, 2005

turning times

Without your blessing, my heart would not have turned to you.

It felt no fellow-pain till blessed with the pain of you.

Too much of anything becomes a thorn.

Too much pain you bring, but your welcome is not worn.

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

Search word: turn

I'm picking up the thread or theme of turning away or towards the other. My own heart has been turning away. As I've been reading Spong of late (This Hebrew Lord), I have felt less enthusiastic. I can too clearly hear the Christian preacher in him and this is not my own voice at all. I can't believe that the Christian message was worth all the pain and suffering that the early Christian martyrs endured. I think I am attracted to Rumi precisely because he knew how to maintain his integrity while escaping such martyrdom.

At the same time I feel a turning away from my friend and she from me. We see each other rarely but we've seen too much of each other of late. We each need our own spaces for a while.

My adolescence was coloured by the erotic and love songs of Elvis Presley and the Beatles. In our present culture we are encouraged to fall in love at that age. It is astonishing, then, to discover that Rumi first fell in love only when he met Shams. It is astonishing that he fathered children without feeling this fellow-pain, not even towards the children themselves. It is hard to escape the conclusion that he was homosexually inclined.

It is perhaps not fair to compare this fellow-pain with adolescent love which, while pointing to deeper things, lacks depth in itself. Rumi brought many years of experience and learning to this critical moment when he fell in love with another man. So many complex threads, impossibly entangled threads, characterize that love. It was the catalyst, indeed, for extracting and revealing to Rumi the various threads of his personality or soul, very much like the strings of associations that Freud first drew attention to as an aid to healing. The drawing out of these threads brings pain, primarily the recognition of a pain that dwells eternally within the human soul. We can never be satisfied with how we are. We yearn constantly for new horizons, for the next expansion of our souls. This is the pain of longing that opens us up to new possibilities and keeps us alive today.

However, we also need to consolidate our gains, to settle into new situations, else this expansion would cause us to vaporise. It is then we turn inwards, we turn our backs on adventure and back towards our home comforts. Today, I intend to work in my own garden and in my kitchen, processing the harvest from my lemon tree. It is what my soul needs today.


At Saturday, 08 October, 2005, Blogger none said...

He escaped, but his love didn't. That must have tortured him as much as personal martyrdom. The world must have seemed very bleak afterward, and his family, murder suspects.

At Saturday, 08 October, 2005, Blogger Arizona said...

It was a very great challenge, indeed, to his faith in love.


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