From spiritual training we learn that one of the best ways to engage the mind, heart and soul to a topic is through engaging in poetry and storytelling. We can learn a lot from poems and stories, the hidden gems they contain and the inspirational nuggets they enlighten us with. Below some lessons.
Water and Air
Water that’s poured inside will sink the boat While water underneath keeps it afloat. Driving wealth from his heart to keep it pure King Solomon preferred the title ‘Poor’: That sealed jar in the stormy sea out there Floats on the waves because it’s full of air, When you’ve the air of dervishood inside You’ll float above the world and there abide…
(Poetry of Rumi)
When your soul is awakened on the deluded world’s shore,
An aching for the beloved will you feel deep within your core,
At night restless and lonely will you feel,
And in the day incomplete and full of impatient zeal,
Until you try to manage your heart using your head, a most useless way,
In an anguishing state of true love for the beloved do you constantly stay.
Then you will journey out to seek the beloved, as if looking behind each star,
Sometimes tracking nearby and sometimes scouting far,
You remain in the company of family and friends but yet feel so alone,
Settling for temporary companionship, yet the beloved you cannot clone,
Until you reach the point of giving up all hope, a soul under strain,
The journey of true love to the beloved fills you with pain.
Now with an experienced but unready soul the beloved will come to you,
You will embrace as one breathe, each pain replaced with a thousand fold of joy so true,
You will discover that the beloved was inside you all along,
True love knows no time and place, it embraces all so strong,
So ready mind body and soul to the beloved now you completely commit,
The union of true love with the beloved to it you submit.
The Light of Love
When love descends on you as if from a rain cloud
Embrace its light, don’t be so proud
Open the layers of your heart, open all seven
For you have been sent a precious gift from heaven
The light of love is like the moon when it’s whole
It borrows rays from your very soul
And projects a light back so pure and true
This is the radiance of love that ascends from you
The King and The Old Woman
There once lived a very wealthy and powerful King. His kingdom stretched from the deserts in the East to the mountains in the West. He had amassed mountains of jewels, gold and silver. He wore the finest silk and sat upon a throne of gold. Traders from far away lands would cross the desert and pass through his kingdom trading in all sorts of goods. He often received visitors from all regions of the Middle East, from the Indian provinces and other lands in Asia. He also enjoyed good relations with the Spanish speaking nations with much interaction taking place with them.
One day he sat contemplating on his favorite Persian rug. He had achieved much yet he still felt he needed more inspiration in order to grow in a more meaningful way. Where could he obtain the answer to this question? he asked himself. So he called his advisors to his court and asked who was the most prosperous and learned in all the land. Maybe he could learn something from this person. His advisors answered in unison ‘You are your majesty. No one can match your material growth. All look to you to learn from, what could you possibly have to learn from others?’ He asked his advisors how the people felt towards him. Again they answered the people would love to possess all that he possessed. He dismissed the advisors for the day not wanting to show he didn’t believe them. There was a feeling he had inside that made him feel quite not right. How could he feel so empty when he possessed so much, he thought?
So later that day he decided to sneak out of his palace and view things for himself. Dressed as a commoner, he moved through the city gates and entered the markets below. He came upon an old poor woman baking some bread. She would often make bread and sell it to visitors to the market. He asked her how she was to which she responded positively. Surprised he asked how she could be so happy in her poor condition. She laughed and explained that she was the lucky as everyday she was able to make the finest bread in the land. Traders who took pity on her would everyday give her the finest flour and grains from all corners of the land. The mixing of these ingredients would make the bread very tasty and unique. The King enquired why she mixed the ingredients rather than making bread from only one type of ingredient. She smiled and replied with mixing and blending she was able to produce more in terms of quantity whilst also making it good quality.
Seeing her sincerity and innovative behavior moved the King. He requested for a taste of the bread. She obliged. The taste was indeed delightful. Curious he now enquired on her views of the King. ‘He has a great amount of material treasure but is blind to the cultural treasure around him. He has conquered the land but not the hearts of the people within it. Every day I see people from different backgrounds and corners of the Kingdom come together and exchange goods, ideas and emotions, whilst he sits in his ivory tower counting coins. What a fool to look for his spiritual kingdom while seated on his throne! Life is about finding a balance between many different influences, some of them conflicting. To penetrate people’s hearts one needs to embrace their cultures and blend them in to something greater’. She drew a diagram in the sand to explain. The King felt ashamed. He said farewell to the old lady and quickly slipped back to the palace.
The next morning armed with a new intent and more becoming garb, the King took his advisers to the market and ordered that all decisions were now to be made with input from the people in the marketplace. They were to embrace the colorful cultures of those around them. This would also ensure more productive decisions were made that would benefit all. The King also again approached the old lady and asked her to counsel his advisors so that they could shed their ‘yes man’ style for something more truthful. ‘Are you not surprised that I am the King?’ he asked her. ‘No’ she replied. ‘You are the only one who had not tasted my bread till yesterday, so I knew who you were’ The King then asked why she had given him such an honest opinion the day before, ‘Did you not fear my reaction?’ He asked. Again she replied in the negative. ‘A real King is true to himself and his Kingdom, you needed to see how unbalanced you were’ The King smiled. He knew a new era of growth was at hand…