Monday, August 15, 2011


Companions on the path were discussing this question: 
What is your experience of God’s presence?
One spoke these words: “I don’t know much, but this is what I do know.
God’s presence is there in front of me, 
a fire on the left, a lovely stream of water on the right.
One group walks toward the fire, and then into the first, 
another toward the sweet flowing water. 
No one knows which are blessed and which are not.
Whoever walks into the fire appears suddenly in the stream. 
A head goes under the water’s surface, 
and then that head pokes out of the fire.
Most people guard against going into the fire, and so end up in it. 
Those who love the water of pleasure and make it their devotion 
are cheated with this reversal.
The alchemy goes further. 
The voice of the fire tells the truth saying, I am not fire. 
I am fountainhead. Come into me, and don’t mind the flames.
If you are friend of God, fire is your water. 
You should desire to have a thousand set of mothwings 
so you could burn them away, one set a night.
The moth sees light and goes into the fire. 
You should see fire and go toward the light.
The fire of God is world-consuming. Water is world-protecting. 
Somehow each gives the appearance of the other.
To your ordinary eyes what looks like water burns, 
and what looks like fire is a great relief to be inside.
You’ve perhaps seen a magician make a bowl of rice 
seem like a dish full of tiny worms, or with one breath 
make the floor seem to swarm with scorpions.
How much more amazing is God’s alchemy.
Generation after generation lies down in death, defeated, they think, 
but its like when a man and woman 
lie down together encircling each other in love.
Just one split second of God’s mind 
can change the whole nature of comfort or pain.
That splinter of divine Intelligence is the Real Substance.
Fire and water themselves are mere accidents, 
done with temporal smoke and mirrors.
Its all alchemy.”

—arranged from Rumi

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