Archive for Rumi

I am You

I love this photo by Scott London:
I am You by Scott London

Say I am You
I am dust particles in sunlight.
I am the round sun.

To the bits of the dust I say, Stay.
To the sun, keep moving.

I am morning mist,
and the breath of evening.

I am wind in the top of a grove,
and surf on the cliff.

Mast, rudder, healsmen, and keel,
I am also the corral reef they founder on.

I am a tree with a trained parrot in it’s branches.
Silence, thought, and voice.

The musical air coming through a flute,
a spark of a stone, a flickering

in metal. Both candle,
and the moth crazy around it.

Rose, and the nightingale
lost in the fragrance.

I am all orders of being, the circling galaxy,
the evolutionary intelligence, the lift,

and the falling away. What is,
And what isn’t. You who know

Jelaluddin, You the one
in all, who say

I am. Say I
am You.
Rumi

Illness & the Divine

You are in love with me,
I shall make you perplexed.

Do not build much, for I intend to have you in ruins.

If you build two hundred houses in a manner that the bees do;
I shall make you as homeless as a fly.

If you are the mount Qaf in stability.
I shall make you whirl like a millstone.
-Rumi

I spend a lot of time with kids. It’s wonderful and difficult at the same time. Children are brutally honest. As I’ve mentioned before, I have scleroderma. This condition has caused my hands & face to contract. It has also caused my jaw to come out of alignment so that my teeth do not meet up properly. In short, I look strange. This doesn’t usually bother me because I don’t think about it. That fact that my hands don’t open doesn’t really affect my life much except for a few things I’ve had to give up: piano, knitting & a few miscellaneous activities. Sometimes when I see a picture of myself from long ago I’m sad,
Anyway my point is, I am who am I regardless of my what I look like. There are some people who are perfectly gorgeous in everyway and are miserable. But that’s not me, I’m deformed but happy. But when I get around kids and they ask me why I look funny it does upset me because it’s a shock. I don’t remember I’m strange because I never think about it. I think this is God’s way of tempering me like a sword, throwing me into the fire to make me stronger.

To truly reflect the Divine in this world, we must learn to be present in every moment. We must be totally in the physical world without controlling it. It’s amazing how much I want to control the world. I want my face back, I want my hands. But I know that is just me controlling the flow of Divinity in this word. I won’t be a dam, I wish to be an open well, a channel between the ocean & the land. Clearing this channel takes letting go of everything I think I am.

Thank you hands that contract so I may expand
Thank you jaw that hangs open so I must speak
Thank you feet that ache so I must stay still
Thank you heart that weathers the storm so I may be washed clean
Thank You again and again
Thank You
-Sybil Archibald

Rumi Again

My last 3 posts have been about the relationship between spirituality & physicality/Earth. Rumi, of course captures it all in this poem:

Say I am You
I am dust particles in sunlight.
I am the round sun.

To the bits of dust I say, Stay.
To the sun, Keep moving.

I am morning mist,
and the breathing of evening.

I am wind in the top of a grove,
and surf on the cliff.

Mast, rudder, helmsman, and keel,
I am also the coral reef they founder on.

I am a tree with a trained parrot in its branches.
Silence, thought, and voice.

The musical air coming through a flute,
a spark of stone, a flickering in metal.

Both candle and the moth crazy around it.
Rose, and the nightingale lost in the fragrance.

I am all orders of being,
the circling galaxy,

the evolutionary intelligence,
the lift, and the falling away.

What is, and what isn’t. You
who know, Jelaluddin, You

the One in all, say who
I am. Say I am You.
Jelaluddin Rumi (trans. Barks)

Rumi & New Scupture

Joyful for no reason,
I want to see beyond this existence.

You open your lips, laughing.
I think of a design for that opening.
-Rumi (trans Coleman Barks & John Moyne)

I love that poem.

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Picture of my newest sculpture in progress…
Sculpture in process by Sybil Archibald Sculpture in process by Sybil Archibald

Via Negativa in Poetry

Here are some poems I love on the via negativa, finding God in absence. For more posts on this look here:

Rumi:

I have lived on the lip
Of insanity, wanting to know reasons,
Knocking on a door. It opens,
I’ve been knocking from the inside!
Rumi (trans. Coleman Barks & John Moyne)

Silesius:

God, whose love and joy
Are present everywhere,
Can’t come to visit you
Unless you aren’t there.
-Angelus Silesius (trans. Stephan Mitchell)

Lao Tzu:

The Tao that can be told
is not the eternal Tao.
The name that can be named
is not the eternal name.

The unnamable is the eternal real.
Naming is the origin
Of all particular things.

Free from desire, you realize the mystery.
Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations.

Yet mystery and manifestations
Arise from the same source.
This source is called darkness.

Darkness within darkness.
The gateway to all understanding.
-Lao-Tzu (trans. Stephan Mitchell)

A couple quotes from The Unveiling of Love by Sufi Sheikh Muzaffer Ozak Al-Jerrahi:

(On affection toward God) …it is possible by letting oneself fall like a drop into the ocean.

As for those who are annihilated in God, it is absolute certainty that they will exist forever.

The last quotes are borderline negative/affirmative way, but they are so beautiful…

Rumi, Grey & the Responsiblities of the Light

Needs must I tear them out,” the peacock cried,
“These gorgeous plumes which only tempt my pride?”

Of all his talents let the fool beware:
Mad for the bait, he never sees the snare.
Harness to fear of God thy strength and skill,
Else there’s no bane so deadly as free-will.
-Rumi

The most moving thing for me in Grey’s The Mission of Art is his absolute insistence that artists have a responsibility to the Light. The art we create has impact and artists must choose whether to add to the darkness in the world or to increase it’s luminosity. Grey believes that an artist cannot produce works of light if they do not choose the light in their own lives and I agree. No one is perfect, but the intention to do right and be a source of good in the world counts even if we don’t always succeed.

Speaking to the artist Grey says:

It is your responsibility to find the ways your visions can positively influence individuals and your culture…The mere process of fixing imagery onto surfaces or forms does not ensure spiritual development. It is the intention and awareness from which artists create that determine whether their work will serve mammon, ego or spirit. (p. 218)

I love that. It is our responsibility. In our culture we have lost sight of our greater responsibilities to humanity and the Earth in favor of consumerism and greed. This reminds me of the many mystical visions recorded throughout time where the Divine gives the mystic a task to be done in the world, for example Hildegarde of Bingen. These visions have personal meaning for the mystic, but they also offer a greater message for humanity. The experience of the Divine, must not be controlled or secreted away. It is our charge to be a doorway for the Light, our source, to enter into his wold.

Truly, we have no other reason than to serve the Light because this Light is really our Self anyway. Every moment we fight this reality we waste our life force and we call upon darkness. How much easier it is to surrender to our true calling, to pluck the peacock feather as Rumi says, and serve. Artists are blessed with a unique opportunity because art can reach the spirit without engaging the mind and our egos. Art can effect deep and meaningful spiritual evolution in the world.

Sufi Poetry

This an interesting site with translations of Sufi poetry. Sufi poetry, in my experience, comes closest in words to portraying the experience of ecstatic love and union with the Divine. Although not unique to Sufism, I love the use of the lover/Beloved imagery to represent the mystic’s longing for God. It’s so powerful and moving. Here is a taste of Rumi from a translation by Coleman Barks. Really it’s reworking of an AJ Arberry’s translations, so not the best translation possible. But my favorite volume of Rumi has gone missing and this will give you an idea of it.

Spring paints the countryside.
Cypress trees grow even more beautiful,
but let’s stay inside.

Lock the door.
Come to me naked.
No one’s here.

If you read this poem as a mystic, it is sublime.