May 12, 2014
This is the kind of thing that can change your day and maybe — if you’re not careful, that is — even transform your life. Like all true art, it challenges, penetrates appearances, and calls upon what is true and universal within and among us all.
Rumi was a great Persian poet and mystic of the 13th century. His work is still valuable to us today because, like every true visionary, he transcended belief and dogma. Poetry such as Rumi’s is frightening to the violent, rigid, and tyrannical ideologies that still dominate that region of the Earth. A later visionary poet, Kabir, had a message for people who carry such weapons of affiliation within them:
Go over and over your beads, paint weird designs on your forehead, wear your hair matted, long, and ostentatious, but when deep inside you there is a loaded gun, how can you have God?
True artists and genuine philosophers have neither gun nor God: they are in a state of what Alan Watts called “spiritual poverty.” They have no burdens, no baggage of fixed or derived ideas to impede their movement. They have no demands, no expectations, no goals to achieve; they know that, as Krishnamurti said, “the moment you want to become something, you are no longer free.” So they just live as they are, with no masks to blind them.
We can’t, of course, be that all the time; nor would we want to be so annoyingly perfect and consistent. The truly free person is not an avatar of realization but a student of release. Letting go is not a passive act: in fact, it is daring, courageous, and original in every being who makes that conscious choice to open the fist of claim.