I know many of you are familiar with the 13th century Sufi mystic Jallaludin Rumi; in fact, he is now said to be the best-selling poet in America today. I, on the other hand, became aware of the Persian poet and philosopher only recently. Very recently. Yes, if "ignorance is bliss", then I can truly be said to be obeying Joseph Campbell's dictum "follow your bliss".
I think my first exposure to Rumi came a few short months ago when I started following Steven's always enriching blog, the golden fish, where the poet makes regular appearances, a perfect companion for the tender eye Steven gracefully brings to his poetic walks and rides through nature and the world of art. And a couple of weeks ago I began to read Ruth's daily dose of reverie from Rumi. I am delighted with the readings and wanted to share the experience and link with you here.
Some choice twigs and leaves from this tree that Ruth waters daily:
Friends, we are traveling together.
Throw off your tiredness. Let me show you
one tiny spot of the beauty that cannot be spoken.
I am like an ant that has gotten into the granary,
ludicrously happy, and trying to lug out
a grain that is way too big.
|Photo by Ruth Mowry|
One flake from the wall of a goldmine
does not give much idea
what it is like
when the sun shines in
and turns the air
and the workers golden
One of the marvels of the world
is the sight of a soul sitting in prison
with the key in its hand.
Covered with dust,
with a cleansing waterfall an inch away.
A young man rolls from side to side,
though the bed is comfortable
and a pillow holds his head.
He has a living master, yet he wants more,
and there is more.
If a prisoner had not lived outside,
he would not detest the dungeon.
Desiring knows there is a satisfaction
beyond this. Straying maps the path.
A secret freedom opens
through a crevice you can barely see.
The awareness a wine drinker wants
cannot be tasted in wine, but that failure
brings his deep thirst closer.
|Rumi from Library of Congress|
Hopefully by knowing how my peculiar internal navigation system is put together, it will be easier for you to bear with me. Yes, I still heed Mr. Campbell's call to "follow your bliss", but I know full well that I would not know what to do if I were ever to find bliss. Reverie, rapture, bliss ... such lovely words, such enticing states of the eye and soul, but for how long? Eternity, presumably. Puh-leaze, I'm not sure I could do more than 10 minutes. I enjoy meditative cud-chewing as much as anyone, but end up biting my own tongue all too soon. Anguish I can do, nirvana I would find trying. And it would not be long before the pesky jester would be poking his finger into the ribs of the venerable shaman. Mystics may light my way, but the shadow I cast will inevitably be that of the clown. So be it. Maybe they are not all that incompatible. Perhaps I carry in me both the wistful dreamer Don Quijote, tilting and flailing at windmills, and his sceptical sidekick, Sancho Panza.
|Don Quijote and Sancho Panza|
by Pablo Picasso
And when it all must end, when the grim reaper comes to challenge me to a game of chess, as in Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal, I will probably try to convince him to make it checkers instead. Or hopscotch, so in a distracted moment I can sneak back into the granary for one more ludicrously overlarge grain.
|The Seventh Seal|