Tuesday, June 24, 2008
The words of the Sufi mystic poet Rumi. I find myself
travelling on the Seattle to Victoria clipper. Snowcapped mountains rise straight out of the Puget Sound. And I’m listening to my new love – Krista Tippet and the wonderful speaking of faith program on American Public Radio. Since Padraig introduced me to the wonder of Krista I’ve listened to the programmes with John O’Donohue, Elie Wiesel and Karen Armstrong. Today I’m listening to the Ecstatic Faith of Rumi with Fatima Keshavarz of Washington University.
Rumi was a 12th century Sufi mystic and poet who wrote in Persian and his influence is huge. He inspired the whirling dervishes by spinning around a column as he recited his poems. He also wrote some amazing sensual poetry. Fatima Keshavarz describes him as someone who saw human love as a mirror of the divine. His poetry is simultaneously in praise of God and also a more earthly love. He said everything is quickened or whirling in the face of love and there is no boundary between the two.
“How did Jesus raise the Dead. Kiss me on the lips. That is how.”
Longing itself is redemptive. Valuing perplexity – not knowing is a way of learning and propelling us forward. Rumi says we can never be done.
“Stay bewildered in God and only that.”
And perhaps finally something for our own fundamentalist age.
“Out beyond ideas of right doing and wrongdoing is a field. I will meet you there.”
The full programme is fantastic. Click on the title above to go straight to the Speaking of Faith website. I really believe it is the best thing on public radio. So check it out. It could be the start of a beautiful friendship.