Saturday, December 17, 2005

a last word

At times we are hidden, at times revealed;

We are Muslims, Christians, Jews; of any race.

Our hearts are shaped like any human heart,

But every day we wear a different face.

#1325: From Rumi's Kolliyaat-e Shams-e Tabrizi

Today I must return the book of Rumi verses and stories, Say I Am You, personally lent to me by my local librarian. I found this concentrated Rumi very challenging and there is some sadness in parting from it. I will place here for keeping a favourite piece from the book which is an elaboration of the main idea in today's verse, that our deepest shared humanity expresses itself in so many varied forms, not only among peoples but among moments within the one person that I seem to be. A modern psychologist might refer to conscious and unconscious instead of revealed and hidden but these are intellectual concepts that keep the richness of the hidden out of sight. Jungians like to remind each other: the unconscious is unconcious. No amount of concepts or poetic metaphors can capture it. Rumi envisages it below as being like the sea that no one can speak about. Of course, he never stopped speaking about it! In a sense it's true that all speaking misses the essential point and yet it also points to the central truth, a simple silent core of being. No matter how raw or elegant, how poetic or intellectual, it is always God that speaks through us when we speak to each other. To an atheist I would say: God's silence is but an illusion. To a theist I would say: God's revelation in the Word is also an illusion. Still, I'll leave the last word to Rumi today.

Root, River, Fire, Sea

A man was wandering the marketplace at noon
with a candle in his hand, totally ecstatic.

"Hey," called a shopkeeper. "Is this a joke?
Who are you looking for?" "Someone breathing Huuuuuu,

the divine breath." "Well, there are plenty
to choose from." "But I want one who can be

in anger and desire and still a true human being
in the same moment." "A rare thing! But maybe

you're searching among the branches for what appears
only in the roots." There's a river that turns

these millstones. Human will is an illusion. Those
that are proud of deciding things and carrying out

decisions are the rawest of the raw! Watch the thought-
kettles boiling and then look down at the fire.

God said to Job, "You value your patience well.
Consider now that I gave you that patience."

Don't be absorbed with the waterwheel's motion.
Turn your head and gaze at the river. You say,

"But I'm looking there already." There are several signs
in eyes that see all the way to the ocean. Bewilderment

is one. Those who study foam and flotsam near the edge
have purposes, and they'll explain them at length!

Those who look out to sea become the sea,
and they can't speak about that. On the beach

there's desire-singing and rage-ranting,
the elaborate language-dance of personality,

but in the waves and underneath there's no volition,
no hypocrisy, just love forming and unfolding.

Mathnawi V, 2887-2911



At Sunday, 18 December, 2005, Blogger Bob Hoeppner said...

wow, much to contempate on here. I was thinking of how successful the open poetry reading was that I went to last night, but, I was also thinking that the poems of mine that people enjoyed kind of came to me in way that makes me feel more of a vessel than a creator.

At Sunday, 18 December, 2005, Blogger Arizona said...

Congratulations on a successful reading. It must be awesome to have that direct audience response.


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