May 25, 2009 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

Rumi had a thing or two to say about love.

And I have a thing or two to say about Rumi.

Here is a link to a little background info on Rumi, in case you’d like to know more about him.


Friend, our closeness is this:

Anywhere you put your foot, feel me

in the firmness under you.

How is it with this love,

I see your world and not you?

This quatrain is a container of words into which a poet has poured his own mystical experience of love. The voice in the first stanza of this quatrain seems to be addressing a beloved friend. The words allude to the distance between them that has neither diminished their inner experience of connection, nor dulled an accompanying aura of longing. Though separated in space, these friends stand in a single stream of being that flows through both their hearts.

When the poet addresses matters on his own side of the physical divide, he suggests an inescapable sense of longing that troubles him and fuels the wonder that burns with it. He has shifted his tone, letting us know that he is addressing his question to both the human and divine subjects of his adoration. He knows the object of this love only through its surrogate – a world which is radiant with life and being. And yet in all its radiance, it is still only a surrogate and this suffuses the experience of this poet with great tension – between the love and awe that comprise his visionary experience, and the longing and doubt that confines the human mind.

In light of the second couplet, it seems that the first stanza has actually been an address of the Transcendent to the poet – the one who adorns the ineffable in words, making its presence audible in the world, ushering it toward an encounter with human minds. From this perspective, the words are an expression of natural benevolence; they extend the reassuring touch of an old and wise friend.


When I am with you, we stay up all night.

When you’re not here, I can’t go to sleep.

Praise God for these two insomnias!

And the difference between them.

The words of this quatrain are arranged in a manner that intermingles human and mystical love, as a reminder that the barricade between them is merely an artifact of our own forgetting.

“Praise God for these two insomnias” – of longing and of consummation, the two channels by which human beings may transcend the drowsiness of their daily toil, the relatively meager boundaries of production and consumption that are conventionally imposed upon the experience of living.

The tidal motion between these two insomnias animates life. The lover follows the dance-steps of a natural opera; the insomniac is in the throes of an imagination that is aflame with the processes of creation that have illuminated his sleeping mind.

Were it not for these God-given insomnias we would never raise our heads and open our eyes to gaze on a wider view; our minds would remain tethered to the chores placed before them. Without them we would graze along the surface until we slipped forever into the darkness beneath it.


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