Sunday, August 03, 2008

My Heart Leapt

It's funny how cliches so diminish their truth, that when you do experience a cliche, you're surprised to find its truth. For example, my mouth does open in surprise. However, until I read Darkly Dreaming Dexter, I did not realize that my jaw could or would drop open. It literally dropped, and then when I read further, it dropped more, and I suddenly realized my mouth was as open as my widest yawn.

(I read the entire thing standing in the aisle; I literally couldn't move, I was that stunned.)

Have you seen the show? I keep meaning to try it.

Today, I was reading a book by someone who mentioned Rumi.

My heart actually leapt, really jerked upward in my chest. I felt it. It bounced at the mere mention of Rumi's name. I had no idea a heart could actually move inside a chest, let alone jerk with emotion so that my breath caught in my throat, stumbled as if it had tripped.

I love Rumi's poems. Not like I love Star Trek or I love flowers, but I love Rumi's poems like I love my husband or I love my cats. If you've been to my MySpace page, you've seen my favorite Rumi quote:

"Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground." ~Rumi

I don't think it's possible to read Rumi's poetry and not feel your heart open and flood with love. They are the most beautiful words written ever. They are spiritual, but it's a spirituality all about the love of the Beloved, the Friend, the Divine. Another of my favorite Rumi poems:

There is a candle in the heart of
man, waiting to be kindled.
In separation from the Friend,
there is a cut waiting to be
O, you who are ignorant of
endurance and the burning
fire of love----
Love comes of its own free will,
it can't be learned
in any school.

Sufism fascinates me. I haven't read much on the subject: as much as it's always interested me, I've always turned away when I've read it was connected with Islam. (Nothing wrong with Islam. I just knew it wasn't the spiritual path for me.) But a little further reading showed that many Sufi believe Sufism is not constrained by any one religion: it is religion.

(I'm not trying to convert you, LOL. I'm just fascinated by different religions, and Sufism is one I don't know much about, so I thought I'd share some bits and pieces for their intellectual interest and beauty.)

"Sufism is a way of love, a way of devotion, and way of knowledge. Sufism is often described as a path, suggesting both an origin and destination. The aim of Sufism is the elimination of all veils between the individual and God."

"Sufism, which is without any religious obligations, regards spirituality as the religion of the heart. That religion is one wherein the unity of religious ideals is followed unconditionally in search of truth, without going astray in following the followers of the followers of the great religious reformers, whose messages have been altered beyond recognition through the centuries by those who confuse mysticism with fanaticism.

"Sufism is an attitude of inner sympathy towards all beliefs. All religions are Sufi religions as long as they recognize the limits inherent in any speculative interpretation of Truth. One might say that Sufism is a process leading to the widening of the horizon of the heart, so that Truth may shine within as a brilliant sun, illuminating all that is receptive of its rays of light."

"Some say to be pure means to be free from all evil thought, but in reality there is no evil thought; and if there is any such thought, which one could call evil or devilish, it is the thought of bitterness against another in his heart! If a drop of poison can cause the death of the body, it is equal to a thousand deaths when the heart retains the smallest thought of bitterness. In this legend the cutting open of the breast is the cutting open of the ego, which is like a shell over the heart. And the removing of that element means that every kind of thought or feeling against anyone in the world has been taken away, and the breast, which means the heart, is filled with love alone, which is the real life of God."

It seems to have quite a bit in common with Buddhism, (what do I know, though?). One site explained that while Zen meditation seeks to clear the mind, Sufi meditation seeks to clear the heart.

Fascinating stuff.

I think I am buying a book of Rumi poetry today. (*major cringe*)  And Eat, Pray Love (thank you, Melanie! I loved the beginning: I can't believe I've never read it! She's HILARIOUS and amazing!) Totally a guilty indulgence for me. But who needs food, when one can buy books instead? ;-)

What books have you bought, lately? Read any good poetry lately?

12 bonus scribbles:

Heather Harper 8/03/2008 02:12:00 PM  

Zen mind, Sufi heart... all very interesting, Spy. Thanks for sharing. :-)

Melanie Avila 8/03/2008 02:38:00 PM  

Yes, thanks for this post. :)

I'm glad you're enjoying EPL so far. I was cracking up on page 2 (the exception for the Italian twins) and never looked back.

Funny you ask about buying books. In addition to the 8 my mom purchased for me, a good friend said she wants to buy me some as well - that's another 3! Wowza!

spyscribbler 8/03/2008 03:02:00 PM  

Heather, I like that! Something to strive for.

spyscribbler 8/03/2008 03:03:00 PM  

Melanie, I was in the store, nodding and laughing on every page. I kept thinking, "Exactly!" and I kept laughing.

Brilliant book. Definitely!

Edie 8/03/2008 11:41:00 PM  

I love EAT PRAY LOVE. It's one of my favorite books from last year. I recently read 2 terrific books: The Pull of the Moon by Elizabeth Berg and Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn. The last one just won the RITA for Romanctic Elements!

For nonfiction, I'm reading Destiny of Souls by Michael Newton. I'm also reading an ARC of Jennifer Estep's JINX, which is coming out at the end of the month. Another fun superhero book. :)

Robin 8/04/2008 09:39:00 AM  

Interesting blog! I'm really glad I read it, so I don't order Sufi at a Japanese restaurant by mistake.
I'm reading "The Change" series by S.M. Stirling. It's terrific. I have it on my i pod and I listened to it during a long bike ride yesterday.

StarvingWriteNow 8/04/2008 12:10:00 PM  

I think "Dexter" would make even the most jaded reader's jaw drop. Sometimes I wonder, when I have a "moment" with a book if the writer experienced that moment while writing it! Hmm...

Stewart Sternberg 8/04/2008 01:56:00 PM  

I've actually read some Rumi and even rented a video about the poet. Fascinating. Also, I rented another video about the "Spinning Dervishes".

Poetry from other cultures and other times fascinate me. I am not a big fan of contemporary poetry, mostly because it seems that those who write poetry today do so without any knowledge of the artform. "I write what's in my heart, man..." Don't get me started.

spyscribbler 8/05/2008 08:08:00 AM  

Edie, Jennifer Estep is completely charming! I got busy, so I haven't had a chance to finish it yet, but it's high on my to-do list!

spyscribbler 8/05/2008 08:09:00 AM  

Robin, you're hilarious! I must check that out. I want an iPod so much I can't tell you.

spyscribbler 8/05/2008 08:10:00 AM  

Writenow, what a fascinating question! I suspect not, only because if you're seeing things through your character's eyes, then his reactions sort of feel "normal" to him, no?

But every writer must be different.

spyscribbler 8/05/2008 08:17:00 AM  

Stewart, that would drive me crazy, too! I find a lot of it has the passion, but the love, tenderness and passion towards words themselves doesn't come through.

That's what poetry is to me: the love of each word, carefully selected.

I netflixed a program on Rumi!