To The Daily Sun,
This Christmas season, when Christians celebrate the birth of the Christ — the powerful personification of love — I have been saddened by the hatred, fear, and polarization that seems to characterize our national conversation and behavior.
The following poem by Rumi was brought to my attention recently. Rumi was a visionary, poet and mystic from the Sufi tradition, which is connected with the Islamic faith. His works have been translated into many languages and it is said that he is one of the world's most favorite poets. In the words of one Sufi teacher, Sufism is "a science through which one can know how to travel into the presence of the Divine, purify one's inner self from filth, and beautify it with a variety of praiseworthy traits" (Ahmad ibn Ajiba). But this wise and luminary poet could have easily have been a Christian mystic, a Buddhist monk who spent years in the "presence of the Divine," or a spiritual seeker from any number of other religious and spiritual traditions.
During this season where Love is more palpable, and shown through giving and tolerance, and prayers for peace are expressed out loud, I offer this Rumi poem as food for thought:
Every war and every conflict
Between human beings has happened
Because of some disagreement about names.
It is such an unnecessary foolishness,
Because just beyond the arguing
There is a long table of companionship
Set and waiting for us to sit down.
What is praised is one, so the praise is one too,
Many jugs being poured into a huge basin.
All religions, all the singing, one song.
The differences are just illusion and vanity.
Sunlight looks a little different
On this wall than it does on that wall,
And a lot different on this other one,
But it is still one light.
We have borrowed these clothes,
These time-and-space personalities,
From a light, and when we praise,
We are pouring them back in.
- Category: Letters
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