a community of lovers
Rumi’s words speak to my heart of Love, Oneness and Interconnectedness.
Rumi in his works, it seems, is consistently challenging the notion of separateness. The Quran tells us that God created all creation from a single soul.
The greatest lie that we tell ourselves is that we are somehow separate from each other and separate from what we perceive to be our Highest Truth (whether that be God, the Tao, Brahma, or our Higher Self). From this sense of separation, it seems, much of the ills of our world ensue: If the Higher Truth is only a transcendent reality or a myth and not something that is closer than our ‘jugular vein’, and if others are somehow distant and disconnected to us then how we treat others and our world ceases to be personal or sacred.
Come close…closer…even closer!
How long will this hindrance last?
If you are me and I am you,
What is this separation between you and me?
The Judeo-Christian and Islamic traditions uphold that human beings are made in the image of God. Sufi-inspired Bollywood lyrics say: Tujme rabb dikta hai (‘In you I see God’). Certainly, in so many beautiful people I know I recognize the attributes of the Divine. Islam recognizes at least 99 attributes of the Divine, which count Mercy, Love, Truth, Generosity, Justice, Majesty and Compassion amongst them.
Sufism teaches that our purpose in life is to polish the mirrors of our hearts through remembrance of the Truth, so that our hearts (and we) may become the reflectors of Divine qualities (latent within). Just as individually we have the capacity to reflect qualities of the Divine, so too collectively.
I know that it’s so often the selfish whims and desires of my ego which stand in the way of my togetherness with others, and which cloud the mirror of my heart. I guess it is also my ego which stands in the way of my Rabb and I.
Rumi seems to be saying that we should surrender to the notion that we are the ‘light of God’; we are inherently valuable, invaluable. There is then no need to struggle, to compete, to prove ourselves…Just be.
We are the light of God, we are God’s mirror.
So why do we struggle with ourselves and with one another?
Why does one light escape from another?
Come, release yourself from this ego.
Our true strength is in our togetherness, in our collectiveness, our coming together, our recognition of each other.
Live in harmony with everyone;
Be friendly with everyone.
If you are by yourself,
You are only one drop, one speck;
Whereas when you bond and unite with everyone,
You are an ocean, you are an ore.
I find myself pondering, at times, the difficulty of putting important emotions and feelings into words, and how differently – even when we are from similar backgrounds – we might individually present or interpret an emotion or a happening. I am always reminded of the limitations of language which can only ever really be a signpost to the feeling or thing we describe.
I am reminded of the story of the group of men herded into a dark room with an elephant. Each comes out with a different interpretation of what is inside the room. The one who feels the elephant’s ear believes it is a fan. Another, who feels his trunk, believes it is a tree.
Our true guide, it seems to me, must be experience. Words can lead the way or awaken the desire within to seek the Truth.
I have this feeling that there is this one stream of revelation from which all true seekers are filling their cups.
We all left the same hand, and when we are no longer limited by our physical bodies, we’ll find that the same spirit runs through us all…
There are many languages but all are the same meaning.
Water in different cups becomes one when the cups are
broken and they run as one.
[Divan-e Shams-e Tabrizi: 3020]
— Fatimah Ashrif
 Quran – Nisa 4:1
 Quran – Qaf 50:16
 Arabic word meaning ‘Lord’, ‘Sustainer’,’ Cherisher’, ‘Nourisher’, ‘Educator’. Used in the Quran to refer to God.
Buddha – Meganne Forbes
Painted Elephant – Michael Freeman