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Spiritual Understanding - The Mystic Poets

Updated on August 30, 2017
Source

Mysticism is Based on The Experience

“The eye through which I see God is the same eye through which God sees me; my eye and God's eye are one eye, one seeing, one knowing, one love.” ~ Meister Eckhart, Christian mystic poet
Meister Eckhart relates the fundamental foundation of mysticism and the poetry it inspires.

Mystic poetry is not doctrinal, it doesn't teach, or proselytize. Esoteric lyricists span centuries and several continents. Many never met each other, never read each others work, but the experience they relate is eerily comparable. Mystic poets are of every religion and no religion. Their common bond is shared experience of life, love, the transcendent, the divine...God.

Mystical musings, spiritual sonnets, often speak of that which we call God as an objective, impersonal existence and an intimate, deeply knowing, friend/lover...at the same time. Both ubiquitous and almost imperceptible simultaneously. A wisp of knowing, and a whirlwind of feeling synchronously. Mysticism exists in the dichotomies...Rumi says:

“Knock, And He'll open the door
Vanish, And He'll make you shine like the sun
Fall, And He'll raise you to the heavens
Become nothing, And He'll turn you into everything.”

God is in the pain and the ecstasy, the silence and the commotion, the restful sleep and the insomnia nights...the devotion and the apathy.

Coleman Barks reading 'What Was Said To The Rose' - by Rumi

Text of Coleman Barks Reading - 'What Was Told, That'

Jalal al-Din Rumi, 1207 - 1273

What was said to the rose that made it open was said
to me here in my chest. 

What was told the cypress that made it strong
and straight, what was

whispered the jasmine so it is what it is, whatever made
sugarcane sweet, whatever

was said to the inhabitants of the town of Chigil in
Turkestan that makes them

so handsome, whatever lets the pomegranate flower blush
like a human face, that is

being said to me now. I blush. Whatever put eloquence in
language, that’s happening here.

The great warehouse doors open; I fill with gratitude,
chewing a piece of sugarcane, 

in love with the one to whom every that belongs!

Source

Kabir Poem

THE river and its waves are one
surf: where is the difference between the river and its waves?
When the wave rises, it is the water; and when it falls, it is the same water again.
Tell me, Sir, where is the distinction?
Because it has been named as wave, shall it no longer be considered as water?

Within the Supreme Brahma, the worlds are being told like beads:
Look upon that rosary with the eyes of wisdom. - Kabir
~ Translated by Rabindranath Tagore

Meister Eckhart - 'Expands His Being'

All beings
are words of God,
His music, His
art.

Sacred books we are, for the infinite camps in our souls.

Every act reveals God and expands His being.
I know that may be hard
to comprehend.

All creatures are doing their best
to help God in His birth
of Himself.

Enough talk for the night.
He is laboring in me;

I need to be silent
for a while,

worlds are forming
in my heart.

This Meister Eckhart poem voices the sweet spot of esoteric lyricism. Life, living, is the focal point of experience for God. That God experiences through us, all life.

Rumi

Source

The most well known and beloved of the mystic poets is Rumi, a Sufi mystic of the thirteenth century. Rumi's work didn't tax the mind, it was best enjoyed by the heart. His work had layers of comprehension according to the spiritual experience of the reader. Rumi was accesible to spiritual novices, yet it engaged old, experienced theologians. Anyone could bask in the glow of Rumi's lyrical melody. Rumi's words exquisitely expressed what many find inexpressible.

Rumi's poetry has endured seven centuries, it has survived translation. It bridges cultures and religious doctrine. It is eloquent in its simplicity and profound in its depth.

Mystical Poems of Rumi 1

This is love: to fly to heaven, every moment to rend a hundred veils;
At first instance, to break away from breath -- first step, to renounce feet;
To disregard this world, to see only that which you yourself have seen6 .
I said, "Heart, congratulations on entering the circle of lovers,
"On gazing beyond the range of the eye, on running into the alley of the breasts."
Whence came this breath, O heart? Whence came this throbbing, O heart?
Bird, speak the tongue of birds: I can heed your cipher!
The heart said, "I was in the factory whilst the home of water and clay was abaking.
"I was flying from the workshop whilst the workshop was being created.
"When I could no more resist, they dragged me; how shall I
tell the manner of that dragging?"

Community of Spirits - Rumi (translated by Coleman Barks)
There is a community of the spirit.

Join it, and feel the delight

of walking in the noisy street

and being the noise.

Drink all your passion,

and be a disgrace.

Close both eyes

to see with the other eye.

Silent Pondering

Source

Rumi - 'Only Breath'

Not Christian or Jew or Muslim, not Hindu

Buddhist, sufi, or zen. Not any religion

or cultural system. I am not from the East

or the West, not out of the ocean or up

from the ground, not natural or ethereal, not

composed of elements at all. I do not exist,

am not an entity in this world or in the next,

did not descend from Adam and Eve or any

origin story. My place is placeless, a trace

of the traceless. Neither body or soul.

I belong to the beloved, have seen the two

worlds as one and that one call to and know,

first, last, outer, inner, only that

breath breathing human being.

Thank You

To see a world in a grain of sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour. ~ William Blake


I thank you for reading this celebration of contemplative, esoteric...mystical poetry.


One Love,

Duane Townsend

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    • Duane Townsend profile image
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      Duane Townsend 21 months ago from Detroit

      Taopi...you didn't blather on at all. You said it beautifully. Thank you.

    • Taopi profile image

      Taopi 21 months ago

      Quote: "Many never met each other, never read each others work, but the experience they relate is eerily comparable."

      Oh yes!

      Alighting upon your essay this evening, I realized how much I echoed the sentiment of "non-doctrinal" in a response recently offered on the Q & A forum. Mysticism, being an intuitive response to the Great Mystery, and as has happened now and again in my own experience, works like a thread from one stitch to another. It is a humble weave that has once again illustrated itself and I am deeply pleased to have discovered this hub just now. Poetry is the flower of intuition, that which must be intuited as much as beheld, much like symphonic composition. Perhaps this is why Mysticism feared by some...the venture into intuition.

      Anyway, I have a tendency to blather on, so will simply say thank you.

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 23 months ago from Australia

      Diane

      the essential views of the various religions are not that different. The essential teachings of love and compassion are in all of them. You just haven't read them yet.

    • Duane Townsend profile image
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      Duane Townsend 23 months ago from Detroit

      Dianetrotter,

      My comment was a simple, honest, reflection to you. This Hub thread is about something I wrote, something you couldn't or wouldn't engage in a gracious manner. You seem to take offense to this Hub and it's subject. Your every comment here is about what kind of Christian you are. You even said:

      " I am a Christian and believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to the Father. If it isn't true, then Christianity is a lie. There is no way to combine it with these other philosophies."

      As a man that has studied and pondered Jesus's words (along with many other ancients)...your stance is antithetical to what Jesus taught.

      Also...make no mistake Diane, this is my comment thread. I will reply at my pleasure to whatever anyone says here. And I will not delete any comments that are on topic, whether I like them or not.

    • dianetrotter profile image

      G. Diane Nelson Trotter 23 months ago from Fontana

      Geez Duane! I thought we discussed this a couple of months ago. I was attempting to stay out of this until Sam addressed me. I responded to him and then Oztinato. Now, you! What you see as pride and intolerance are a result of my steadfast belief in what I do believe. You have total control over my comments and others' comments to me. You have the power to delete them.

      I am not judgmental and will have to be prayerful about rather or not I am prideful. If I am, I wholeheartedly apologize. If believing that the Bible, every word, is the inspired Word of God that should be taken as a whole and not treated as a smorgasbord, I'm guilty. I don't think that everyone can be right when views are so radically different. I can't treat my professional life that way and don't think there are many people that can.

      Again, I will consider the pride issue but am not ashamed of my faith.

    • Duane Townsend profile image
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      Duane Townsend 23 months ago from Detroit

      Dianatrotter...I sense a lot of steadfast religious pride in your comments. I also feel an intolerance from you, an intolerance for thoughts and views that are different than yours. You've been congenial about it...but even congenial intolerance is intolerance.

      Jesus warned against both pride and intolerance.

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 23 months ago from Australia

      Diana

      and what of the Good Samaritan? A man of a different religion held up by JC as a perennial ideal. One of the most detailed of JCs stories. He didn't need to repent or convert as he was already "there". No excuses please for religious intolerance: it is a basic human right to practice a religion without persecuting others.

    • dianetrotter profile image

      G. Diane Nelson Trotter 23 months ago from Fontana

      Hi Sam Shepard! Don't worry about me. I'm fine enjoying my Christian life. If you should want to hear about it, look me up. Happy New Year!

    • Duane Townsend profile image
      Author

      Duane Townsend 23 months ago from Detroit

      Sam Shephards...very well stated. Thank you.

    • Sam Shepards profile image

      Sam Shepards 23 months ago from Europe

      Dianetrotter, mysticism is not really about thinking or believing what God is or should be. It is more about being (consicousness) itself or God if you like. That is why it is more like a knowing. 'You' are the experiencer, the experiencing and the experienced. It is all one, the seperate 'I' does not exist in God. Or 'is', Being that. It's not a dualistic way of thinking. We are brought up to try and understand the view of a church, system, some scriptures of thinkers (that is culture, created). Which is mostly a materialistic way of thinking. They are pointers that point at something, but they are not it and will never be able to be it. Looking at it from one side. We always create it by words. We mostly try to find God outside, we divide, we create wars, endless manifestations, all in God.

      Meister Eckhart removes the wall of the church, between 'you' and God. Yes he was condemned for some of these things, but only by people, by other thinkers. That is how people and cultures survived as seperate identities, holding on to frameworks and casting out those who do not.

    • Jewels profile image

      Jewels 2 years ago from Australia

      It is lovely to read these poems, Meister Eckhart, Rumi and Kahlil Gibran are up there as my favourites. They hit the spiritual essence of heartness and create beautiful spaces. Poetry can pass so much.

    • Duane Townsend profile image
      Author

      Duane Townsend 2 years ago from Detroit

      Indeed Nell Rose....the common thread.

      Thank you

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 2 years ago from England

      Hi Duane, love poetry and the feelings, I believe all religions are based on the fact that we know 'something' is there, so mix them up, put them together its all the same thing, if only the world would know it!

    • Duane Townsend profile image
      Author

      Duane Townsend 2 years ago from Detroit

      Dianetrotter,

      I don't know what you read...but it wasn't me. Because I wouldn't have said anything of the sort.

      I say this with all sincerity and respect, I think your religion has blinded you.

      Please feel free to keep following me and commenting on my Hubs, but please do so with an open, inquiring mind. That's what most of my writing is about...exploration of ideas. Exploring ideas is where growth happens.

      Thank you for reading.

    • dianetrotter profile image

      G. Diane Nelson Trotter 2 years ago from Fontana

      Well I don't know how I got on this thread. It is possibly from something else you wrote and I commented on it.

      It caught my attention that all God's are same or all religions have the same God. I was encouraged to read the literature. There would be way more material than I could read in a sitting. That's why I asked for specifics ... from sources. I wouldn't tell anyone to "just read the Bible" because it's impossible to read the whole Bible and continue a discussion at the same time.

      I'm sorry I bothered you guys. I'll check. It's possible that I followed you after reading something. I'm not sure.

    • Duane Townsend profile image
      Author

      Duane Townsend 2 years ago from Detroit

      So what is it Dianretrotter?

      Someone presents thoughts and ideas about God that you're uncomfortable with, so you flood the comments sections with bible verses?

      That accomplishes what?

      I fail to see what your purpose is here, no, seriously, you're a staunch Christian, we get that. Is there anything else that you could bring to the discussion but bible verses and an intractable temperament?

      Everything there is to know about God is NOT contained in the bible, God is in the experience of life and living, daily.

    • dianetrotter profile image

      G. Diane Nelson Trotter 2 years ago from Fontana

      Thank you Larry and Duane. I try to be sensitive to others feelings. On the Internet it is difficult to see how messages are received.

      No God is not a small God. He is a jealous God and does not want His children to have any other gods before. The first of the 10 Commandments is reiterated throughout the Bible.

      Speaking of Samaritans, if you are familiar with the Samaritan women who met Jesus at the well, you can see that Jesus is offering her living water after which she will never thirst again. Jesus is the living water. After she left Jesus, she went back to her city to tell others about the man who knew all about her. Full text in John 4:

      13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

      This is where she went back to tell:

      28 Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” 30 They came out of the town and made their way toward him.

      Jesus, Himself, is that Living Water.

      John 7:37-39New International Version (NIV)

      37 On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”[a] 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.

      He is a God we all can know, read about and talk to. From what I understand about mysticism, it's like God is in you and is whatever you think He is.

    • Duane Townsend profile image
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      Duane Townsend 2 years ago from Detroit

      Thank you Larry.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Beautifully written.

    • Duane Townsend profile image
      Author

      Duane Townsend 2 years ago from Detroit

      Dianetrotter,

      1. No one here is angry.

      2. By your view, everyone in the history of the world has it wrong but Christians.

      3. You present a very small God.

      That is my issue with your views on this. Stop with the emotional manipulation by calling others - angry - when others are not angry.

    • dianetrotter profile image

      G. Diane Nelson Trotter 2 years ago from Fontana

      I'm sorry I didn't know you wanted a response on the Good Samaritan. The ultimate question was "Who is his neighbor?" The Bible tells us 1) We should love God with all our hearts, souls, minds and strength AND 2) love our neighbors as ourselves. The somewhat rhetorical question is "Who is my neighbor?" We are all neighbors. "For God so loved the world (all people) that He send His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish." The Samaritans were hated by the Jews. The Samaritan was blessed for the concern that he showed. Christianity is not synonymous with "Christians." Anyone can say, "I'm a Christian." Our profession is evidence by our love for God and our neighbors. We are not perfect and should daily move toward God in our hearts. It had nothing whatsoever to do with the equality of religions. There are Muslim Christians, Jews for Jesus, etc. The Great Commandment of God is Matthew 28:19-20

      19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

      I'm on my way to work but there are many passages in the Bible that say Jesus is the ONLY way. Maybe all other religions are the same but Christianity is different because it says Jesus is the only way. I don't understand it but it makes people angry. Everyone has the right to believe it or not. I don't believe any other religion but I respect people's right to choose them.

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

      Diane

      I note you have not mentioned the Good Samaritan.

      This has never been responded to by any restrictively "Christian" person I have put it to. I think the reason why is self evident.

      For all eternity JC has given us this wonderful story to demonstrate the equality of religions. It is such a poignant and detailed story by JC that there is no need to embellish it.

    • dianetrotter profile image

      G. Diane Nelson Trotter 2 years ago from Fontana

      I learned about grace in the context of God's love for us. Grace being unmerited favor. Example: Ephesians 2:8-9 reads "It is by grace, through faith, that man is saved. It is not of yourselves. It is a free gift from God not by works so that any man can boast."

      Thank you for discussing it with me. Have a blessed week.

    • Duane Townsend profile image
      Author

      Duane Townsend 2 years ago from Detroit

      No Dianetrotter...

      It's not possible to 'teach' you grace is inherent in all. Grace, by it's very definition is not anything that is earned or achieved. Grace wouldn't be grace if it weren't universally available. If there is a 'test', or certain belief one needs to experience grace, then that's not really grace. It's an entitlement.

      If that requires 'proof' from me...sorry. There's nothing I could or would do to try to prove it to you.

      As I said in my previous comment, it's something remembered, a capacity recovered. Usually by benefiting from the grace of others, witnessing some profound act of grace, or spontaneously granting grace to someone.

    • dianetrotter profile image

      G. Diane Nelson Trotter 2 years ago from Fontana

      Hi Duane, I've never heard of those guys. I don't read history books. From a quick Google, it seems that Eckhart was around the 16th century and was accused of heresy.

      It is not my way Duane. It is God's Way. I don't think it is meant to be pretty but the truth. People have a choice to believe or not to believe. I don't disparage people because they don't believe as I believe. I don't mind having discussions with non-Christians and am mindful to respect every's right to have their own opinions.

      I am an educator and teach concrete concepts. I think it comes under philosophy to build one's own truth and be content. I wouldn't know how to teach the concept of grace being inherent in all. Is it possible to convince me that grace is inherent in all (not arguing - just wondering)?

      BTW, my initial interest was in the concept that all religions are the same.

    • Duane Townsend profile image
      Author

      Duane Townsend 2 years ago from Detroit

      DianeTrotter,

      I don't think I or Oztinato are trying to change your mind. We're both expressing that there are infinite ways to experience the eternal...the sacred.

      There are two Christian mystic poets referenced in this piece. Could even they expand your thoughts?

      Many spiritual seekers speak of that which we call "salvation", is not something granted to those that decide to believe the right book or teaching. But, simply a remembering of the grace inherent in all, regardless of religious belief or cultural conditioning.

      It's a beautiful thing that you've found a belief that provides you comfort and joy. It is not so pretty to read that you believe that your way is the only way for everyone.

    • dianetrotter profile image

      G. Diane Nelson Trotter 2 years ago from Fontana

      I read the Bible and see none of those phrases. I do see:

      Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved." Acts 4:12

      Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6

      Oztinato, I believe in the God who created heaven and earth. Hinduism did not exist before then because there were no Hindus or any people at all.

      Thank you for providing specifics I could address. I don't consider those consistent with salvation through Jesus Christ.

    • Duane Townsend profile image
      Author

      Duane Townsend 2 years ago from Detroit

      One God, infinite manifestations. One life, infinite expressions. One consciousness, infinite perspectives.

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

      The Hindus believe all religions are essentially the same. It may appear as if they have many gods but Hinduism has always claimed there is only one God. It predates Judaism in this belief by thousands of years. The same God manifests according to time,place,culture and circumstance as special teachers such as JC, Buddha etc. All barriers between religions are broken down. Just as Jesus praised the good Samaritan without any prejudice to his religion so the real hindu praises the good in other religions.

    • dianetrotter profile image

      G. Diane Nelson Trotter 2 years ago from Fontana

      Thank you for the suggestion Oztinato. I don't want to take a little of this and a little of that because I don't want to make my own truth. I am excitied about the gift of everlasting life. I hope others will be able to look forward to their future eternity.

      Can you tell me the specific part of Hinduism which is consistent with the Bible? I do like to ask questions!

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

      Diane

      I suggest you do an open minded study of other religions without feeling your faith is weakened by this. There are far more similarities between the various religions than differences. Hinduism in particular will clear up how all religions and all masters come from the same One God

    • Duane Townsend profile image
      Author

      Duane Townsend 2 years ago from Detroit

      Thanks for reading dianetrotter. You do understand that Jesus himself was not a Christian, right?

      Jesus was Jewish, he never renounced his Judaism, or declared a new religion.

    • dianetrotter profile image

      G. Diane Nelson Trotter 2 years ago from Fontana

      Thank you for sharing! I don't share the philosophy. I am a Christian and believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to the Father. If it isn't true, then Christianity is a lie. There is no way to combine it with these other philosophies.

    • Duane Townsend profile image
      Author

      Duane Townsend 2 years ago from Detroit

      Thank you Ozinato. Yes, there will be more Mystic poetry to come.

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

      Excellent excellent and excellent! If only all religions could share and enjoy the beauty and similarity of each other's scriptures and mystic poets. If only the atheist could stop obsessing about the OT and reach out to read other scriptures and beautiful mystical poems.

      I'd like to see this hub expanded further. Remember Kahil Gibran? And how exquisite are the Bahai poems!