Friday, January 2, 2009


When I discovered the poet Rumi (1207-1273) back in my days at the University I felt I had just stumbled upon a kindred soul. My experience of the divine has always had a mystical and sensual undertone to it. To compare the concept of God to the beloved made me feel closer to the embodiment of Spirit. His was a God of mystery and ecstasy. Many times when I am by myself taking a walk in nature, among trees, or beautiful landscapes, I feel the presence of something bigger than me and my world. I can only relate it to the feeling of being madly in Love with someone. I always had my reservations with most dogmatic definitions of God. In fact, I use the term Universe, when addressing the Divine. Rumi was a soul in Love with the Divine. Everything is transformed when you focus on the universality of love. In his poetry life and death are but sublime bursts of divine energy. His poems set to music have been used by the whirling dervishes of Sufism for centuries. These dervishes turn and turn in a seamless motion evoking the fluidity of eternity. I like to recite his poem by candlelight, sotto voce, softly savouring every syllable like a ripe old wine:

Look! This is love-to fly toward the heaven,

To tear a hundred veils in ev'ry wink,

To tear a hundred veils at the beginning,

To travel in the end without a foot,

And to regard this world as something hidden.

Jalaladdin Rumi