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Posted By Opening the Heart

Jon's post yesterday, coupled with the imminent occurance of The OTH Workshop brought to mind this lovely poem from Rumi. It speaks to the value of community, of joining with others in hard times. Many of the people who come to OTH face life challenges that are  difficult or even impossible to face alone. All are amazed at the positive effect of immersion in a completely supportive community for just two days. Rumi completely understood the value of community.

 

Being Woven (an extract)

 

"The way is full of genuine sacrifice.
The thickets blocking your path are anything
that keeps you from that, any fear that you may be broken
into bits like a glass bottle.

This road demands courage and stamina, yet it's full of
footprints!
Who are these companions?
They are rungs in your ladder. Use them!
With company you quicken your ascent.
You may be happy enough going along, but with others
you'll get farther, and faster.

Someone who goes cheerfully by himself to the customs
house to pay his traveler's tax will go even more
lightheartedly when friends are with him.

Every prophet sought out companions.
A wall standing alone is useless, but put three or four walls
together, and they'll support a roof and keep grain dry
and safe.

When ink joins with a pen, then the blank paper can say
something.
Rushes and reeds must be woven to be useful as a mat. If
they weren't interlaced; the wind would blow them away.

Like that, God paired up creatures, and gave them
friendship."

 

From Rumi – Selected Poems (Penguin Classics)

Translated by Coleman Barks with John Moyne

 


 
Posted By Opening the Heart

For as long as I can remember I have loved poetry and the power that words have to evoke deep feelings. Archibald Macleish said that a poem “should not mean, but be” and Kabir said the same thing 500 years earlier when he said that you should feel a poem in the “thump of the chest”. These poets, men and women for the past 2000 years, have written these words, this divine, or sacred poetry that pass all the evolved neuro-cerebral connections and go straight to the heart like an arrow to release the pain, sadness and ecstacy that bind us in our humanity. Through their words, they give us a glimpse of the Kingdom that they experienced.
Kabir, a 15th century Sufi poet said that when, for “fifteen seconds”, he heard the words of his master, Shams, it made him a disciple for life.
I believe that poetry, words, can open the heart instantly, heal us, open us to grief long-buried and change our very souls. Lao-Tzu, 2000 years ago tells us that “each separate being in the universe returns to the common source”. Jelaluddin Rumi wrote that “the clear bead at the center changes everything.” Kabir: “Are you looking for me? I am in the next seat.”

The 17th century Zen poet Bunan wrote “Die while you’re still alive and be absolutely dead. Then do whatever you want: it’s all good.” And Kabir, again, tells us to “Wake up! Wake up! You have been sleeping for millions of years. Why not wake up this morning.”

All of these great beings on up through Walt Whitman, Rilke, Antonio Machado, Pablo Neruda, Mary Oliver have been lovingly tapping us on the shoulder to remind us that beyond every wound, every doubt, every fear, that we are loved beyond measure - that we are blessed. May we open our hearts to one another and come to the knowledge of our true self.

“A poet is someone
Who can pour Light into a spoon,

Then raise it
To nourish 
Your beautiful parched, holy mouth.”
 

 Hafiz 

With Love and Respect,

 

Jon