Tuesday, December 20, 2005

sol y sombra

Sit for a while in my heart like a mystery; don't go.

Honor my head: rest there like a turban; don't go.

"I come and go," you say, "like the heart's rapid beat."

Don't tease me, sly heart-thief, and please, don't go, my sweet.

#1585: From Rumi's Kolliyaat-e Shams-e Tabrizi

Search word: heart

Last night I honoured sleeping by banning the cat from my room. She mewed pathetically at my door once or twice but then settled on one of her other favourite places. I don't sleep well when she takes over my bed as she has been doing of late. I slept well and I also slept in, indulging in the sheer pleasure of this kind of wakefulness.

I have been feeling under some pressure of late, with one year ending and another beginning. I want to start up in business with a friend and we are looking around at established businesses to buy. So far, my heart hasn't felt really into any idea proposed. The thought that came up this morning was this: What do I care enough about, what is important enough to me, that I would mortgage my own home, this beloved home I'm so grateful to have found and settled down in, so that I could fund the nurturing of this business or project or mission? One thing I gather about successful business people is that they put their hearts and minds fully into their work. It is that full-on commitment that pays off.

Yesterday, someone asked me about heroic or outstanding Muslims. I began by listing Saladin, Badshah Khan, Rumi (of course), Avicenna, and Ibn Khaldun. My questioner wanted someone more recent, so I added Muhammad Iqbal (although he died back in 1938 compared to Badshah Khan only in 1988). The wikipedia article on him included this classic poem on East and West:

In the West, Intellect is the source of life,
In the East, Love is the basis of life.
Through Love, Intellect grows acquainted with Reality,
And Intellect gives stability to the work of Love,
Arise and lay the foundations of a new world,
By wedding Intellect to Love.

It struck me as a much-needed reminder of the need to wed heart and mind whenever a major enterprise is in question. Rumi's verse is full of references to the heart and to love, he is a good representative of Iqbal's second line point. He very rarely touches on the idea of wedding intellect to love but since wedding is itself an act of love, I think even Iqbal (and myself) would hold love supreme.

All this is a long introduction as to why I searched the Rumi first lines using the word heart, but also seeking a match that linked heart and mind. I really like this resulting quatrain. It does honour mystery but also the clarity that intellect can bring. The shifting presence and absence, the mischievous teasing and playful pleading, all this suggests again to me that interplay of light and shade as when a breeze plays on the leaves of a tree and the flickering shadow moves me to see that it is the heart that brings clarity after all.

For copyright reasons, here are links only to a couple of photographs (by Tony Ryan) that I like because of the play of sunlight and shade in them. Also included is a third photo that nicely depicts a kind of wedding, as well as a link to the gallery that contains these photos and more.



At Wednesday, 21 December, 2005, Blogger Bob Hoeppner said...

Sleep is especially prized during these, the longest nights of the year, at this latitude.

The best of luck in your new venture. Yes, from what I see of people who successfully own their own businesses, it consumes almost all of their time, which is why it's important to choose something you really love doing.


Post a Comment

<< Home