Discourse 66

Discourse 66

Siraj al-Din said: “I was speaking to someone
about a problem when something within me
began to ache.”
Rumi said: That something is put in charge of
you to prevent you from speaking when you
should not speak. Usually it is so subtle that it
goes unnoticed, but when you feel that yearning,
compulsion and pain, then you know there is
something in control. For instance, you enter a
pool of water and the softness of the flowers and
fragrant herbs reach you, but when you get to the
other side thorns prick you. Then you realize that
one side is a thorn-bed and pain, while the other
side is a flowerbed and comfort. These differences
affect us through our emotions, yet they are clos
er to us than anything external.
Hunger and thirst, anger and happiness
all these are invisible, yet they affect us more than
anything we can see. For if you close your eyes,
you can no longer see the perceptible, but this will
not drive hunger away. In the same way, spice in
hot dishes, sweetness and bitterness in foods,
these cannot be seen, yet their taste has a much
stronger effect upon us than how the food looks.
Why do you worry about this body? Why are
you so attached to it? You live without it. You are
always without it. When nighttime comes you
forget it, but once the day arrives you are
absorbed in your body’s affairs. But you are never
truly with the body, so why tremble over its con
cerns. You are not with it for a single hour, but are
always elsewhere. Where are you, and where is
the body?
“You are in one valley, and I am in another.”
This body is a great deception.
Pharaoh’s magicians paused for an instant, like
a speck of dust hanging in the air, and gave up
their forms, for they knew they lived apart from
the body, and the body was not them. In the same
way, Abraham, Ishmael and all the prophets and
saints, having paused, were indifferent to whether
the body existed or not.
Hajjaj, who smoked hashish, once shouted,
“Do not move the door or my head will fall off!”

He thought his head was disconnected from his
body and stayed in place only through its connection
to the door. It is the same with all people
we think we are connected with the body and
depend upon it for survival.

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