Rumi takes us on the odyssey of love in his poem Sublime Generosity. It begins…
“I was dead, then alive, Weeping, then laughing.
The power of love came into me,
and I became fierce like a lion, then tender like the evening star.”see full poem in The Essential Rumi, translations by Coleman Barks with John Moyne.
When the extraordinary power of love enters the solar plexus the world is suddenly turned upside down. What was higher is now lower. What is lower, higher.
In love’s youth it is wild in its ferocity, moving in one direction – up, up, up toward the stars, “needing to be tied up” as it flies oh so close to the sun, swept in the ecstasy of seemingly transcending the deep hunger for being “enough” to survive in this wild world which is, in the beginning, indistinguishable from our deep hunger for being whole, Holy, One, Home. The trajectory of death that inevitably awaits is unimaginable from here where only Light is seen, flight is felt. We are, after all, really going down, down, down.
Later, once our husks of attachment are annihilated, surrendered, let go through experience …. fantasy and doubt become tangible, clear. You are their witness now, not just for everyone else to see. They are your children that have been playing in your back yard the whole time, unattended, waiting to be claimed.
The image of the lion and the evening star are replaced in the poem by a featherless, “plucked chicken,” “the fool.” From here, the yearning for wings like Yours or even yours is painfully strong, tempered now by something.
When He tells you that you are now the candle “for this assembly” you are aghast with confusion as you exclaim, “I am no candle! I am [nothing but] scattered smoke!” I am nobody, nothing. Vapor.
He calls you a teacher, a guide, and this seems somehow backward. Upside down?
Knowing everything in your heart, He removes your unspoken yearning to claim His or even his or her wings. “You already have wings, ” He says. You hear this but you do not understand … yet. “Don’t you remember?”, you ask, “They melted in the sun.”
Later, you hear events say to you, “Don’t move. A sublime generosity is coming toward you.” And you listen. It feels like the first time you have ever truly listened. Every auditory hair of every cell in your body is standing now in full attention, ready. All wanting and need ceases along with their contradictory children. All sensory input stopped. The quiet makes you weep.
An old love says to you, “Stay with me.”
You say, “I will.”
And Mary weeps…you.