Monday, 26 November 2012

From books and words come fantasy, and sometimes ...

By: James Kyle

From books and words come fantasy, and sometimes, from fantasy comes union.”

These are the words of the Sufi mystical poet Rumi. And if you have not heard of Rumi, he was a renowned spiritual master of 13th century who founded his own school of Sufism, the mystical branch of Islam. In his day his fame crossed all religious boundaries and when he died in 1273 mourners included representatives of 5 different faiths. Rumi's work very much fits into my personal definition of what constitutes real art: a communication of the artist's perspective in such a way as to bring about a shift of consciousness in the artist's audience.

The beauty of Rumi is that to read his poetry is to share in a world where there is a real and immediate spiritual connection. Consider these lines in which Rumi refers to his God as the Beloved:

"One went to the door of the Beloved and
knocked. A voice asked, 'Who is there?'
He answered, 'It is I.'
The voice said, 'There is no room for Me and Thee.'
The door was shut.
After a year of solitude and deprivation he returned and knocked.
A voice from within asked, 'Who is there?'
The man said, 'It is Thee.'
The door was opened for him."

Or again Rumi's thoughts on how his poetry is inspired by his spiritual connection:

“In your light I learn how to love.
In your beauty, how to make poems.
You dance inside my chest,
where no one sees you,
but sometimes I do,
and that sight becomes this art.”

Rumi celebrates life - all of life. For example here is response from Rumi to one of the life's biggest questions - why is there pain and suffering:

“But that shadow has been serving you!
What hurts you, blesses you.
Darkness is your candle.
Your boundaries are your quest.”

To this point I have been quoting from Rumi, but to reassure you that this is not a lost art form here is an extract from a present day poet, David Whyte, on a similar theme:

We shape our self
to fit this world

and by the world
are shaped again.

The visible
and the invisible

working together
in common cause,

to produce
the miraculous.

Did these words speak to you?
Did you catch a glimpse of a different perspective on life?
Did you only hear these words as fantasy, the words of a writer of fiction, or, as you took the words in, did you experience some kind of shift in your own reality?

“From books and words come fantasy, and sometimes, from fantasy comes union.”

It is my opinion that these are some of the most profound words ever written. They remind us that al that we read and hear are merely words, that everything we hold intellectually is a fiction, a make believe world that is our inadequate human attempt to understand an awesome and profound universe. However sometimes, just sometimes, these words can lead us to an experience of reality that goes beyond words to a more direct experience of a spiritual connection.

Perhaps you have been inspired to explore this poetry further, if so please see Rumi or David Whyte

I leave you with the following lines from the Sufi master as he recognizes his God, his host:

“For sixty years I have been forgetful,
every minute, but not for a second
has this flowing toward me stopped or slowed.
I deserve nothing. Today I recognize
that I am the guest the mystics talk about.
I play this living music for my host.
Everything today is for the host.”

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