Peace, one and all…
Ya Allah! Forgive me. Ya `Afuww! Erase my sins and efface them all. Ya Tawwab! I repent to You and turn back to You once more. Ya Rabb! Turn me not from Your door. O Lord! Grant me a pure intention to serve You alone.
Whilst I was on the train this morning I was reading some of Rumi’s poetry. Reading Mevlana’s poetic wisdom always seems to set off all sorts of interesting thoughts and ideas. So, I thought I’d write a few of them down and thus capture them before they float off into the ether once more! In a sense, my thoughts are a kind of commentary.
Wings of Desire
‘People are distracted by objects of desire,
and afterwards repent of the lust they’ve
because they have indulged with a phantom
and are left even farther from Reality than
Your desire for the illusory could be a wing,
by means of which a seeker might ascend to
When you have indulged a lust, your wing drops
you become lame, abandoned by a fantasy.
Preserve the wing and don’t indulge such lust,
so that the wing of desire may bear you to
People fancy that they are enjoying themselves,
bu they are really tearing out their wings
for the sake of an illusion.
Ya Rabb! I know exactly what this poem is talking about!! Sin is like tearing out your wings, in the hunt for an illusion. How then are we to turn things around? How then are we to move forward, or to fly? How are we to change the condition of our hearts? How I am to change the condition of my heart (let’s get personal)?
I don’t have a full answer. But, I suspect that love is the key. Looking at that sentence on my computer makes it seem trite and sentimental, like some cheesy pop song. Here, I mean Love: that essential mercy for my own soul, the patient acceptance of my own dark half. Without it I will merely repeat my old mistakes, or otherwise destroy my own soul in self-pity and self-hatred. Elsewhere, Mevlana makes the following interesting remark:
‘If Love witholds its strengthening care,
the lover is left like a bird without wings’
(Mathnawi I. 26-27)
In other words, or so it seems, there is no spiritual progress without Love. I know just how trying to fly without wings feels! Love is thus like spiritual fuel, or perhaps it’s the goal (or even both)!
Companionship, friendship and marriage are thus training schools in which we can develop Love. The Prophet’s (saw) famous words on marriage (that it is half of faith) are important here. In a real sense, this is why I feel blogging has benefitted me so much: it’s a chance to meet like-minded seekers. I suspect that this idea lies behind Mevlana’s words here:
‘The one who cheerfully goes alone on a
if he travels with companions
his progress is increased a hundredfold.
Notwithstanding the insensitivity of a donkey,
even the donkey is exhilirated, O dervish,
by comrades of its own kind
and so becomes capable of exerting strength.
To a donkey who goes alone and away from the
the road is made longer a hundredfold by fatigue.
How much more it suffers from the crop and the whip
that it might cross the desert by itself!
That ass is implicitly telling you, “Pay attention!
Don’t travel alone like this, unless you’re an ass!”
Beyond a doubt the one
who cheerfully goes alone into the toll house
proceeds more cheerfully with companions.
Every prophet on this straight path
produced the testimony of miracles and sought
Ya Allah! Let me be a foolish ass no longer! Ya Allah! Grant me wings with which to fly and the ability to leave them in place, that I might fly in companionship with the birds which circle Your House.