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Posted By Opening the Heart
In over 30 years of helping to lead the Opening the Heart Workshop, I have seen people's hearts opened by the music, words, deep sharing, body movement and stories- and this opening happens in an amazingly short period of time. For me, poetry, sacred poetry especially, has the same capacity to bypass cerebral pathways and go straight to the heart. These poets have directly experienced that high opened state where all dichotomies are dissolved and one is in an altered state. Different traditions have different names for this state: satori, oceanic experience, enlightenment. The 15th century Sufi poet, Kabir, said that he experienced this state for 15 seconds and it made him "a disciple for life". The American poet, Archibald MacLeish, said that a poem should not mean but "be". Kabir said the same thing 500 years earlier when he said that a poem should be felt in the "thump of the chest". Sacred poetry sends shivers down our back, rattles our bones, causes tears to come.... I wanted to share a few delicacies as appetizers.
The small ruby everyone wants has fallen out on the road. Some say it is east of us, others west of us. Kabir's instinct told him it was inside, and what it was worth,
And he wrapped it carefully in his heart cloth.
Hafiz, a 14th century Sufi poet, tells us what a poet is:
A poet is someone who can pour light into a spoon, then raise it to nourish your beautiful, parched, holy mouth.
Rumi was a 13th century Sufi poet who asked:
If you are irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished?
Mary Oliver is a contemporary Pulitzer prize winning poet who lives in Provincetown:
You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting-
over and over announcing your place in the family of things.
With Love and Respect, Jon
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