Friday, February 16, 2018

Naomi Stone - The greatest love

 It seems I have always
written poetry
that moves my spirit beyond
time and space into a realm
far beyond any words
that could ever truly tell
the story of the glory
of what it reveals to me
It comes as a soft rushing wind
that bursts forth
like a fresh spring of music
comes as a calling
into a kingdom of light
a mystical journey inward
where I can listen
to the songs of the soul
I feel an enchanting beauty
rising like the enchanting mist
from a flowing river
an unseen serenade
spilling from a surrendering love
glowing in the breaking open
of the prism of my heart
There is a deep gifting of God
that swirls and sweeps and shelters
the soul
plunging my spirit
into the presence
of a marvelous silence
glistening like
the play of light on water
or perhaps in the artistic
revelations of a dream
I am cloaked in invisibility
and lost in a mystery
that somehow protects
what I am helpless
to explain
except to cry out
and share the grace
to sing and sing and sing
of the greatest love
that I have ever known


Hadewijch - Love

art by MarieCreemers1925

Love's constancy

Anyone who has waded
Through Love's turbulent waters,
Now feeling hunger and now satiety,
Is untouched by the season
Of withering or blooming,
For in the deepest and most dangerous waters,
On the highest peaks,
Love is always the same.


Imagining we possessed what she kept back for herself.

What is sweetest in love is her tempestuousness,
Her deepest abyss is her most beautiful form;
To lose one’s way in her is to touch her close at hand.
To die of hunger for her is to feed and taste;…

We can say yet more about Love:
Her wealth is her lack of everything;
Her truest fidelity brings about our fall;
Her highest being drowns us in the depths;…

Her revelation is the total hiding of herself;
Her gifts, besides, are thieveries;
Her promises are all seductions;
Her adornments are all undressing;
Her truth is all deception;
To many her assurance appears to lie—

This is the witness that can be truly borne
At any moment by me and many others
To whom Love has often shown
Wonders by which we were mocked,
Imagining we possessed what she kept back for herself.

After she first played these tricks on me,
And I considered all her methods,
I went to work in an entirely different way:
By her threats and her promises
I was no longer deceived.

I will belong to her, whatever she may be,
Gracious or merciless; to me it is all one.

The Madness of love

The madness of love
Is a rich fief;
Anyone who recognized this
Would not ask Love for anything else:
It can unite Opposites
And reverse the paradox.
I am declaring the truth about this:
The madness of love makes bitter what was sweet,
It makes the stranger a kinsman,
And it makes the smallest the most proud.

To souls who have not reached such love,
I give this good counsel:
If they cannot do more,
Let them beg Love for amnesty,
And serve with faith,
According to the counsel of noble Love,
And think: ‘It can happen,
Love’s power is so great!’
Only after his death
Is a man beyond cure.


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Paul Hedderman - The Escape To Everywhere

Consciousness is going through the doors of the senses and meeting itself here. The mental process then claims it: I am the one seeing, doing, etc. It's my body.

If your attention left the mental process, if you weren't so addicted to the idea of being a self, if your attention could entertain, "Possibly I'm not this that I'm so absorbed in and as," you would see there is no need to get out of self because there was never a self to be in. Sensations of the body are hijacked by the mental process which spins out a story of feelings about you. About what was you and what is going to be you. Then the thoughts reinforce that. Obsessing over self all day.

We are saddled with the proscribed way of looking called self-centeredness. Everything is perceived as to how it pertains to me. The thing to do is to turn the light on it to see that all there is, is subject; there is no object called me as a subject. There's just subjectivity. That's the truth. Then enlightenment and all these goals become non-goals, because you realize there is nothing to seek.

You already know what the game is like when you're identified as the body. Now you might see how it goes when you're not. The narration about the journey is the heaviness. You'll see the solution by the problem's absence. When that narration is dismissed you realize, "That's what I was suffering from!"

Nasir-i Khusraw - The pilgrimage

The pilgrims came with reverence,
   grateful for the mercy of God the Merciful,
came to Mecca from 'Arafat
   crying the pilgrim Labbaika of reverence.
Weary of the toil and trial of Hejaz,
    delivered out of hell and dire chastisement,
pilgrimage accomplished, visitation done
    back they returned home, safe and sound.
I went out awhile to welcome them,
    thrusting my foot outside my blanket.
In the midst of the caravan there came
    a friend of mine, true and well-beloved.
I said to him, 'Tell me how you escaped
    out of this journey of anguish and fear.
When I remained behind from you so long
    repining was always the companion of my thoughts.
I am happy, now you have made the pilgrimage;
    there is none like you in all this region.
Tell me now, after what manner did you
    hallow that most holy sanctuary?
When you resolved to put on pilgrim garb
    with what intention did you robe yourself?
Had you forbidden to yourself all things
    save only one, the Almighty Maker?'
'No,' he replied. I said, 'Did you cry
    Labbaika knowingly and with reverence?
Did you hear the summoning voice of God
    and so answer as did Moses before you?'
'No,' he replied. I said, 'When on 'Arafat
    you stood, and made offering unto God,
did you know God, and unknow yourself?
    Did the breeze of gnosis then blow on you?'
'No,' he replied. I said, 'When you went
    into the Sanctuary, like the men of the Cave,
were you secure from your own soul's evil,
    the pangs of burning, the anguish of Hell?'
'No,' he replied. I said, 'When you cast
    your handful of stones at the accursed Satan,
did you then cast utterly from yourself
    all evil habits and blameworthy acts?'
'No,' he replied. I said, 'When you slew
    the sheep for the sake of captive and orphan,
did you first see God near, and slay
    in sacrifice your mean and worthless soul?'
'No,' he replied. I said, 'When you stood
    high on the hill where Abraham once prayed,
did you then truly in faith sure and certain
    surrender to God your most inward self?'
'No,' he replied. I said, 'When you circled
    the Holy House, running like an ostrich,
did you remember the holy angels
    all circling about the mighty Throne of God?'
'No,' he replied. I said, 'When you hastened
    from Safa to Marwa, hurrying to and fro,
did you see in your soul's glass all creation,
    was your heart heedless of Hell and Heaven?'
'No,' he replied. I said, 'When you returned,
    your heart torn at forsaking the Kaaba,
did you then commit your self to the tomb,
    are you now as if already your bones crumbled?'
'Of all whereon you have spoken,' he answered,
    'I knew nothing, whether well or ill.'
'Then, friend,' I said, 'you have made no pilgrimage;
    you did not dwell in the station of effacement.
You went; you saw Mecca; you returned,
    purchasing for much silver the toil of the desert.
If hereafter you would be pilgrim again,
    let it be so as I have now taught you.' 

Read more here


Farid ud-Din Attar - The veil

We are the Magians of old,
Islam is not the faith we hold;
In irreligion is our fame,
And we have made our creed a shame.

Now to the tavern we repair
To gamble all our substance there,
Now in the monastery cell
We worship with the infidel.

When Satan chances us to see
He doffs his cap respectfully,
For we have lessons to impart
To Satan in the tempter's art.

We were not in such nature made
Of any man to be afraid;
Head and foot in naked pride
Like sultans o'er the earth we ride.

But we, alas, aweary are
And the road is very far;
We know not by what way to come
Unto the place that is our home.

And therefore we are in despair
How to order our affair
Because, wherever we have sought,
Our minds were utterly distraught.

When shall it come to pass, ah when,
That suddenly, beyond our ken,
We shall succeed to rend this veil
That hath our whole affair conceal?

What veil so ever after this
Apparent to our vision is,
With the flame of knowledge true
We shall consume it through and through.

Where at the first in that far place
We come to the world of space,
Our soul by travail in the end
To that perfection shall ascend.

And so shall 'Attar Shattered be
And, rapt in sudden ecstasy,
Soar to godly vision, even
Beyond the veils of earth and heaven. 

Read more here


Poems from Ibn ʿArabī's Dīwān

I have a love who has the name of all who have a name.
That is what I allude to in [both] clear and obscure [speech].
By [referring to] Rubab, to Hind and to Salma, I mean
Only Him – so consider Him, for He is the name that is named.
And the one who does not know what I am saying
is blind to the way of the Real God

I wandered in my love, while my beloved is I
and my heart was in pain from being apart.
In myself, I became lost from myself
I cried out in longing, 'Oh I, where is I?'
I watched myself, and did not let myself
for a single day be contented with I.
My eye has seen nothing more beautiful than I;
happiness for me is being close to me through me.
I am nothing to the owner of being,
when he draws us apart, and everything is I.
You who are listening, you know
what I have said, by God, but I do not.

By the mighty power of love! Love made me witness
the essence of the beloved whom I love in my mind.
Had his form appeared in the sensory realm
to the eye of my senses, I would neither take away nor add.
For the state of his presence is like the state of his absence,
that is a quality not known in anyone [else].
I [alone] am favoured with it: no-one disputes with me
about it, and the people of spontaneous love go wrong about it.
That is why those who have not experienced it deny it,
and everyone denies it if they cannot find [it].
The mystery of that is that in the world of subtle beauty
people are only infatuated with the world of form.
Were they like me in love, they would be satisfied
and they would witness his essence in every form of belief,
because they would be in what my gaze determines
if they were in love from the world of true observation.

For one who experiences love's passion, there's no serenity
without coming face to face with the one you love
When you see the beloved, peace and tranquillity
comes with that very same idea that caused such agitation
The beloved is a [single] meaning with a diverse property
in the eyes of one who truly knows what sets him free

The one whom I love visited my place while
I was out – if only I were aware whether she would come again!
This is not equity on the part of my gazelle –
no, equity would be for her to come back

In the form of created things I saw my Master
that is why my beloved has many names in my poetry.
For if I recite a poem about a particular person,
that person is only the one my breast contains.
He is the Real, yet the realities delimit Him,
by which to be appraised by mind, sense or understanding...

What is it with the lover, possessed by his passion
complaining of distance and separation?
Whilst I do the opposite, since my beloved
appears in my imagination and I continue in nearness.
For my beloved is from me and in me and through me,
so why should I cry: what afflicts me, what afflicts me?

Oh, how my heart and liver [suffer]
because of what I have hidden away between my ribs.
My gazelle, you have raided [me],
and the one who is murdered in love can have no revenge.
By the life of love, my eye
has not looked, after you, at anyone [else].

If you are a reviving joy and sweetness,
then you are amongst people a true human being.
For He has bestowed upon you His Image,
that you may be compassionate towards all His creation.
The one who attains His Image
has gained what is to come and what has been,
And the marvel that lies in the unseen,
and that which He brings forth now,
and that to which his Creator invites –
indeed He summons him to pure beneficence.

Everyone is a story
so be the best tale that anyone could hear.
If a thorn pierces you from them
be the strongest shield that repels.
When you can be like that with them
you are, by God, a leader who benefits.
The candle hurts itself
yet to the onlooker it is a light that shines.
The criticism which we acknowledge
is a blessing in the hands of someone who holds back.

Make roads towards the Protector. Maybe one day you will travel up them.
The glories of man have been humbled.
The hosts of states have disbanded.
The crescents of secrets have risen aloft.
I brought my heart to Him as a sunrise, and my ribs as a horizon for her full moon...

Evidences of your essential being become manifest to you not by your self-consciousness, but by
your self-effacement

Real light affords illumination, while your light brings darkness rather than illumination

The lights of the spirit radiate from the saint as brocade glistens on a brocaded garment

I wed myself to myself, and was thus both my own bride and groom

(translations by Stephen Hirtenstein, Denis McAuley, Ralph Austin) October 2012