In today’s edition of Rumi revelations, the commentary I have interspersed my selections with relates these more directly with the discussion of the last post.
A COMMUNITY OF THE SPIRIT↓1
There is a community of the spirit.
Join it, and feel the delight
of walking in the noisy street,
and being the noise.
Drink all your passion,
and be a disgrace.
Close both eyes
to see with the other eye.
Open your hands,
if you want to be held.
Quit acting like a wolf, and feel
the shepherd’s love filling you.
Be empty of worrying.
Think of who created thought!
Why do you stay in prison
when the door is so wide open?
How long will we fill our pockets
Like children with dirt and stones?
Let the world go. Holding it
We never know ourselves, never are air-born.
The essence of our nature is “experiential”. We experience things at first hand in such a way that the emotional, sensorial, social, intellectual, and linguistic sides are enmeshed with each other↓3. The ‘pragmatic’ world however teaches us to think purely in intellectual terms: concepts, logic, and language. Thus we come to dissociate subject matters of study from the daily reality of our lives and from the intricacies of our personality, and from the way we are actually designed to experience the world. Subject matters which are all connected to the reality of ourself and our world, which lead us to significant questions of the meaningfulness of our lives, they are experienced as ‘dry’, ‘boring’ or ‘pedantic’ by many a student for these reasons.
Even those supposedly at the highest levels of intellectual development come to emphasize rationalism and intellectualism at the expense of the social, emotional, and intuitive sides of our nature possibly because of the natural association of language with the former approaches to life. And perhaps also becuase of the illsuion of certainty which logic creates. The social-emotional side of experience does not deal with ‘arguments’ and ‘logic’, rationalism does. Also the apparent comfort of the unemotionality of dry reason may be a source of refuge for these scholars who having lost touch with their affective intuitions must now feel all the more perturbed recasting ‘the big questions of the world’ in purely intuitive and experiential terms rather than (‘safely’ and ‘distantly’) dissecting and pruning them according to their own scholarly specializations.
And thus the majority of us remain confined in the ‘jail’ of this rationality, never having the strength to step out and experience the huge possibilities of meaningfulness and deeper ecstasies of life once the shackles of pure reason are thrown away.
Inside this new love, die.
Your way begins on the other side.
Become the sky.
Take an axe to the prison wall.
Walk out like someone suddenly born into color.
Do it now.
You’re covered with thick cloud.
Slide out the side. Die,
and be quiet. Quietness is the surest sign
that you’ve died.
Your old life was a frantic running
The speechless full moon
comes out now.
THE THREE BROTHERS AND THE CHINESE PRINCESS↓5
The fire under the kettle is the appearance.
The boiling water is the reality.
The beloved is in your veins
though he or she may seem to have a form outside you.
AN AWKWARD COMPARISON↓6
Language does not touch the one
who lives in each of us.
We become so conditioned by the ways of this world, we never realize that the access to the mysteries of the more actual reality is on the side of experience we abandoned many many years ago: the inside. There are several commonalities between death and our inside. One of them is silence. The silence of death is obvious. Our inside is indeed silent in terms of it’s nature being pre-verbal. Intuition, emotion, and the phenomenon of simple ‘immersion’ in some experience (in contrast to consciously thinking and analyzing it) are ‘holistic’ in nature: they can’t be broken down into components and laws (in contrast with, say, language which has parts of speech and rules of grammar). They are also intransferable. One’s inner experience simply cannot be translated ‘as is’ for other’s perfect understanding, or transmitted somehow into their minds. Thus our inner experience is as uniquely ours and only ours to go through as death will be.
On the other hand, the ‘worldly’ knowledges possess both these characteristics and hence often succeed too perfectly in capturing our conscious lives int their hold. Just like death will finally remove this curtain of wordly ‘outside’ experience and we will realize what we could not see before, reconnecting with our silent inner experiecne can achieve the same before the time of death arrives. May be it’s this potential of this inner side of things and the superficial comfort and time-passing quality of the outer wordly side of life that many of us literally run away from any moments of silence. Movies, games, gossip, shopping, feasting, drugs, fashion, or illicit meetings with the other sex, anything will do so as time alone (= time with oneself, when inner voices become less avoidable) will not have to be confronted.
When once, however, the inner mirror has come clear of the breath of the outer world, recognizing the truth is not that difficult:
Since wisdom is the true believer’s stray camel*, he knows it with certainty
from whomsoever, he may have heard of it,
And when he finds himself face to face with it, how should there be doubt?
How can he mistake?
If you tell a thirsty man — ‘Here is a cup of water: drink!’–
Will he reply? — ‘This is mere assertion: let me alone, O liar, go away.’
Or suppose a mother cries to her babe, ‘Come, I am mother: hark my child!’ —
Will it say? — ‘Prove this to me, so that I may take comfort in thy milk.’
When in the heart of a people there is spiritual perception, the face and voice
of the prophet are as an evidentiary miracle.
When the prophet utters a cry from without, the soul of the people falls to
Because never in the world will the soul’s ear have heard a cry of the same
kind as his.
That wondrous voice is heard by the soul in exile — the voice of God calling, ‘Lo, I am nigh.’
*A reference to a saying attributed to Hazrat Ali (razi-Allahu unh): “The faithful seek the knowledge of God which they possessed in past eternity and recognize it immediately when found.”
1. Translated by Coleman Barks, in Everyman’s Library Pocket Poets: RUMI, p. 32-33
2. Translated by Andrew Harvey, in above, p. 60.
3. Even neuroscientists have now studied the brain to the extent of realizing that the brain indeed works in such a ‘holistic’ fashion. There may be separate brain areas specializing in certaint types of experience (for instance vision, sound, language, emotions, etc) but they are all interconnected and are working together whenever we are learning something somewhere. [Readings on topics such as ‘neural circuits’ and ‘plasticity of the brain’ will lead any reader to authentic primary sources.]Psychologists have studied a small part of this phenomenon called as learning by conditioning: When the emotional or social sides are vivid, we come to associate them forever with the new conept we have learned. For instance, reading a certain poem may always give happy feelings not just because it talks about a peaceful moment in life but beause we used to read it in our childhood in some pleasant family circumstance. Similarly some topics are forever emotionally aversive to us because of the negative attitudes of the teacher.
4. Translated by Coleman Barks, in same as 1 & 2, p. 69.
5. Translated by above, in above, pp. 111-8.
6. Same as above, p. 139.
7. Translated by Reynold Nicholson, in same as 1, 2, 4, 5, & 6, pp. 132-3.