Spiritual Understanding - The Mystic Poets
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!
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'
are words of God,
His music, His
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
All creatures are doing their best
to help God in His birth
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.
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.
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.
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.
© 2015 Duane Townsend