Poets of “the spirit,” to some, may appear un-American Because “America” stands for a boyish “toughness” – For men pursuing women with showers of strength And women carrying out the role of store-window mannequins of beauty.
However, the spirit, in essence, is beautiful by itself! Which is why it’s so unknown in all 50 states – After all, people didn’t come here for beauty They came for money And, for some at least, there’s been plenty of that.
There’s a surplus of energy banging around in the good ol’ U.S. of A. – Lots of striving to make “big house” dreams come true Culminating in hierarchies of unequals – originally imported from the Old World But, more recently, branded “Christian Capitalism” Worshipped by cold and intolerant Evangelical hearts Without the necessity of any spiritual foundation whatsoever.
It’s a mystery why beauty never became more important in America – Perhaps it’s our dedication to “first things first” Or that we simply never got around to fully appreciating it.
Treating “beauty” in this way, however – Imagine how unlikely we’re ever going to view “love” or “truth” – Much less “God” in a serious manner either.
The most dangerous word ever created by the human mind is “God” because each of us defines it in our own way. Some take this individual definition so absolutely and personally that they secretly desire to kill anyone who hears this word differently.
These “killers” are lazy and violent – lazy, because they’re unwilling to think beyond their own internal conflicts – and violent because, if they did, they’d just get bored, and forget about what was upsetting them.
The truth is, people who don’t know what they truly believe resist thinking and get angry when urged to do so – like being rudely awakened in the morning when they should have already been up and around –“Why are you bothering me?” “Do you want me to kill you for disturbing my sleep?”
This is why, for some, the word “God” bears a similar loaded charge to “Gun” – they don’t appreciate being closely questioned about what they don’t know – especially if their reluctance centers on religion.
So, addressing a person and asking them what they really mean about “God” can be dangerous.
That being so, how do you think it might go to try to wake up seven billion people and ask them, spiritually, what they truly understand? After all, Socrates tried this on a much smaller scale – and it didn’t work out too well for him!
The poet “drowns” himself in beauty –
But this can never happen in the West – in the land of logical thinking.
The poet greets a flower on the dining room table
Which his wife placed there that morning – just before he arose.
The internet, on the other hand, never contains actual beauty
Because whatever’s there –
Isn’t real –
And, since only the real is vulnerable to dying, only the real can truly be beautiful.
So, wake up – put down your iPhone –
Beauty, as the essence of God, is waiting everywhere – just for you.
Like I said, wake up, little one –
Then, wake up again!
Because beauty resides only in that second awakening.
The poet has “drowned” himself in beauty –
But, unfortunately, he’s asleep – and completely unaware of it –
This kind of “waking sleep” constitutes normal quotidian activity –
A mental “mirror” reflecting infinite numbers of digital mirrors –
But never, ever, an actual flower!
So, this all-encompassing electronic world, completely empty of natural beauty,
Will always be a world of splintered minds.
First, there’s the “self” our mother celebrates –
A mother who loves her child –
This self is like a hard rubber ball
Rolling and bouncing around borderline realities.
Next is an incipient “God” self – which is aspirational –
The person we would like to become –
Prayers floating out ahead of us
Accompanied by whispered dreams – nearly coming true –
Which culminates in the “beloved” – essentially, your “true self.”
Then, finally, one day, we might even begin thinking about attempting the ultimate goal –
A no-thing who’s equally a non-persona –
More beautiful than beauty –
So much so that it stuns our eyes.
In this experience, we discover the kind of joy
Allowing us to forget who we are – or, even, who we ever were –
Revealing a beauty we haven’t been able to imagine –
A beauty we might actually achieve if we were “God”
Or, perhaps even, “God’s” God.
When men are free to be beautiful And women become inspired by the bravery of Alexander –
When men start reflecting on the beauty of their surroundings And women train night and day for competitive contests –
When men write poetry about their love of the natural world And women burn with desire for stellar accomplishments –
Is the time when men and women will start switching roles – And, then, switching back again – Especially since such roles will no longer exist – Nor the traditional hierarchies either – And people’s historically stubborn egos will disappear forever.
When everyone becomes free enough to be their “true self” They’ll also be free to ask what God would do – and then, actually, do it!
This is the spiritual space Jesus embodied himself, Then perfected, and, subsequently, died for!
Now, two millennia later, it’s become somewhat easier to achieve – Not, of course, a “gimme” – But, certainly, more possible Now than then!
Emptiness can be glamorous because, existentially, it’s so free! Some people want it, demand it, and at times live only for it.
Emptiness – (a long drum roll) – And then, suddenly, “Bang” – you’ve become a new being – Surprising even yourself!
God spends nearly forever helping us on this particular path – You can feel God as God comes closer – Suddenly, you awake, become stimulated, and then “turned on” – Aware that “This is your time!”
Time to tumble down a long hill into reality – Time to draw a “picture” that resonates With anyone who ever glances up – And in.
So, there’s the heart you’ve mostly been unaware of – Beating while you’re still sleeping – But when this heart finally awakens you’ll be denied nothing – Because the first step on the way to the Kingdom of God Is no different from the last – Since God can “hear” you – regardless of whether you’re near or far!
Rumi is talking here about the “true self” –
While “humans” are egos with no idea who they really are –
So, the day a human can remove “herself” from herself –
Is like throwing a key away that no longer fits the lock
Like being surprised by a kiss that touches only air
Or a play marriage that children solemnly enact.
After one stops claiming their human ego –
What’s left is God – and nothing but God.
Perhaps it may take you a long while to accept this –
Perhaps you’ll hear friends and neighbors muttering, “How dare you!”
And yet, there’s no going back – given what little’s left behind.
It’s true that, at this point, one has no alternative
But to continue going forward and claim God for oneself!
Especially, given that God is free, you might well decide – why not you too?
Why not escape your narrow ego commitments and become free yourself?
God freely fills the night sky with bright and pulsing stars –
Also, God’s always free to laugh – any time and any place –
And, God as a child, one day, became Jesus
Willing to die “ugly” on a cross.
Since no one has ever been able to kill God however –
Whenever they have tried, the result has only been infinitely more God!
Countries are like big shoes and little shoes
Walking around –
Some without too much direction and others with almost none at all.
Countries are also like lips
Some used to mock, others to kiss –
While the rarest of all can sometimes even be poetic.
Some countries have long memories and others almost none at all –
The latter due to centuries of unacknowledged crimes against others.
People themselves can also be like shoes, lips, or memories –
But, in spite of that, all are capable of dancing when the music starts.
When the music starts, there is no “I” and no “you” –
There’s only a “whee” caught up in accelerating circles of joy.
Logically, this means that dancing should be more popularly encouraged –
Whether in culture, play, or spirituality.
The elderly keep time by nodding along –
Tapping their toes.
The children, however, run riot – attempting to imitate the adults’ complex steps
As well as all their motions and emotions –
Resulting in a wild, yet oddly calm, frenzy of joy.