Hafiz had it right

I was searching for words this morning. I am a writer, I told myself. There are words for this. Then I asked myself, What is the ‘this’ I am trying to describe? From somewhere subconscious I recalled a poem. I did not remember the author or even the words, but I thought perhaps Rumi, or Hafiz. It took only a few moments of communing with Google to find it. Ahhh. Hafiz. Here is the poem:

I Have Learned So Much

I

Have

Learned

So much from God

That I can no longer

Call

Myself

A Christian, a Hindu, a Muslim,

a Buddhist, a Jew.

The Truth has shared so much of Itself

With me

That I can no longer call myself

A man, a woman, an angel,

Or even a pure

Soul.

Love has

Befriended Hafiz so completely

It has turned to ash

And freed

Me

Of every concept and image

my mind has ever known.


From: ‘The Gift’
Translated by Daniel Ladinsky

Isn’t it beautiful that love is the friend that freed Hafiz from every concept and image his mind had ever known? As I sat with that thought it became clear that love is the only thing that will ever free us. To love others is to accept them in all the ways they are different freeing ourselves from judgement. To love the earth is to protect and care for her freeing ourselves from the consequences of her demise. To love oneself is the ultimate freedom for out of that love comes the capacity for all other love.

The past few days my journey has been inward. The name of this village is Ubud. It means medicine. The essence of Ubud is fundamentally healing to the body, the mind, and the spirit. I have asked myself, why is this so? Is it about the thousands of offerings made daily? The scent of incense ever-present in the air? The constant rituals and ceremonies performed specifically to maintain balance in the spiritual realm? Every day hundreds of tourists parade the streets of Ubud. Every day another rice paddy is drained to make way for a new resort or villa funded by money from the West. But inside the walled compounds of Balinese family homes, life goes on as it has for two thousand years. These people have a way of accepting the new, adjusting to accommodate change, but remaining virtually unchanged themselves. They do this with a self-possessed dignity that defies explanation.

I don’t know the answer to my question. All my life I have believed that everywhere was basically the same as everywhere else. I have traveled and visited amazing countries. I have seen works of art and architecture that left me breathless. I have met wonderful people who genuinely cared for me.  Yet nowhere else has a place whispered to my heart entreating me to stay, to learn, to just be.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Diane Struble
    Apr 11, 2012 @ 01:59:22

    Although I can appreciate Hafiz first comments, I do not agree with his final one at all. I have no wish to lose my concepts and images. Some of them have been gained only with great effort, sometimes with sacrifice, some unbidden. Making judgements, and sometimes judging, but accepting and loving regardless is much my preferred way of living. It is founded upon the precept that we may disagree with the act, but yet love the person acting. There are some acts so horrible that even that philosophy will not encompass acceptance and I have no problem with that in my guidance system. Love is complex , sometimes giving freedom while also imposing responsibiilities and restrictions. Hafiz’ poetry is lovely, but not necessarily valid – at least for me.

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  2. writingforselfdiscovery
    Apr 11, 2012 @ 23:57:48

    Thank you for your observations, Di. I think you have described the final thought of the poem to perfection. Hafiz does not say that his concepts and images were lost, simply that he was freed from them. Your statement that “accepting and loving regardless” is your preferred way of living is, I believe, precisely his meaning. He is freed from the bondage of his concepts and images by the act of acceptance and love.

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