I was out in the garden this afternoon looking for flowers to photograph. I came across the first “Forget Me Not” flower of the season. I rarely take photos of these flowers, due to them being so small. I was really happy with this photo though, the leaves with the raindrops gave it a real feeling of prettiness. According to an ancient legend, a knight about to get married, dressed in his armor, was taking a ride along a river with his fiancée. His fiancée saw an extremely beautiful bunch of blue flowers rocking on the waves, and asked her paramour to pick them up. As he reached over to get them, the knight slipped and fell into the river.
The heavy armor hindered him from swimming and he started sinking into the water, but not before throwing her the blue flowers and shouting: “Don’t forget me!” This beautiful flower came to be known as Forget-me-not, associated in the language of flowers with true love – the love that never dies.
The Opening of Eyes
That day I saw beneath dark clouds
the passing light over the water
and I heard the voice of the world speak out,
I knew then, as I had before
life is no passing memory of what has been
nor the remaining pages in a great book
waiting to be read.
It is the opening of eyes long closed.
It is the vision of far off things
seen for the silence they hold.
It is the heart after years
of secret conversing
speaking out loud in the clear air.
It is Moses in the desert
fallen to his knees before the lit bush.
It is the man throwing away his shoes
as if to enter heaven
and finding himself astonished,
opened at last,
fallen in love with solid ground.
Wouldst thou know my meaning? Lie down in the Fire See and taste the Flowing Godhead through thy being; Feel the Holy Spirit Moving and compelling Thee within the Flowing Fire and Light of God. —Mechthild of Magdeburg, born 1210? – 1297?
The Flowing Light of the Godhead 6.29
When speaking of Mechthild Of Mechthild, we struggle in vain to compose any image at all. She was only “Mechthild” not “Saint Mechthild” or even “Blessed Mechthild”, and she had no official biographer. We know almost nothing about her except what she tells us in her own book, and that is only enough to let us sketch the roughest outlines of her life. Here are just a few more poems from this delightful soul. She is speaking again of the ‘Lord of the Dance’ who resides in her own soul. This will be my last post on the topic of Christian Mysticism for now.
“SOUL: Ah, Lord, love me passionately, love me often, and love me long. For the more passionately you love me, the purer I shall become. The more often you love me, the more beautiful I shall become. The longer you love me, the holier I shall become here on earth.
GOD: That I love you passionately comes from my nature, for I am love itself. That I love you often comes from my desire, for I desire to be loved passionately. That I love you long comes from my being eternal, for I am without end and without a beginning.”
– Mechtild of Magdeburg
The sweet dew of the eternal Trinity gushed forth from the fountain of the everlasting Godhead into the flower of the chosen maid [Mary]; and the fruit of the flower is an immortal God and a mortal man and a living hope of eternal life. And our Redeemer became a Bridegroom. The bride became exhilarated at the sight of his noble countenance.
Under this immense force she loses herself. In this dazzling light she becomes blind in herself. And in this utter blindness she sees most clearly. In this pure clarity she is both dead and living.
The longer she is dead, the more blissfully she lives. The more blissfully she lives, the more she experiences. The less she becomes, the more flows from her. The richer she becomes, the poorer she is. The deeper she dwells, the more she expands. The deeper her wounds become, the more violently she struggles. The more loving God is to her, the higher she soars. The more radiantly she shines in the reflected effulgence of the Godhead, the closer she approaches him. The more she labours, the more contentedly she rests. The more quiet her silence, the louder she calls. The more his desire grows, the more extravagant their wedding celebration becomes. The narrower the bed of love becomes, the more intense are the embraces. The sweeter the kisses on the mouth, the more lovingly they gaze at each other. The greater the distress in which they part, the more he bestows upon her. The more she consumes, the more she has. The more humbly she takes her leave, the sooner she returns. The more ardent she remains, the sooner she bursts into flame. The more she burns, the more beautifully she glows. The more God’s praise is spread abroad, the greater her desire becomes.
Tell me where did the Redeemer become the Bridegroom?”
Pretty intense! What an extraordinary visionary she was. If that isn’t making love to God, I don’t know what is! Sexuality and spirituality, body and soul as one. – J.M.
Wonderful you tube sharing a short bio
on – Mechtild of Magdeburg.
Delightful website offering Christian Saint Icons.
Odd, but true, that many Western readers prize Rumi’s work less as a moral lodestar and resource for merging with the Absolute, and more as a vehicle for illuminating our own highly secular age. Although, to be sure, these readers also are drawn to the ecstatic and transcendental qualities of the great mystic’s work. Western admirers tend to extract Rumi from his historical context and embrace him as one of their own. Not a few have seized on his poetry as a springboard for their own creative expressions, including New York clothes designer Donna Karan, who just a few years ago, unveiled her spring line of fashions while musical interpretations of Rumi’s work by the health writer Deepak Chopra played in the background. Composers Philip Glass and Robert Wilson have written “Monsters of Grace,” an operatic extravaganza that can be enjoyed with three-dimensional viewing glasses and a libretto of one hundred and fourteen Rumi poems interpreted by American poet Coleman Barks.
Quick-thinking American entrepreneurs seem to devise new means to capitalize on Rumi’s soaring popularity nearly every month. Recently, several versions of “Rumi cards,” a new method of fortune-telling, combining snippets of the poet’s work and aspects of the Tarot, have appeared in U.S. bookstores. And, for those who peruse the World Wide Web, it is possible to dial up “rumi.com” and be informed that, “In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful, Jalalu’ddin Rumi.com is coming soon.”
Commercialism aside, the differences between the Islamic and Western view of Rumi probably become most apparent when exploring the subject of love, a central preoccupation of the poet’s work. Western readers have been captivated by Rumi’s frequent and masterful use of romantic imagery, which, coupled with the medieval lack of prudery have caused some to regard him chiefly as a “an erotic love poet”. Many are fascinated with Rumi’s mystic identification and all-encompassing spiritual love for his mentor Shams al-Din of Tabriz. Some construe this relationship as a conventional love affair, given Rumi’s frequent declarations of his overwhelming longing for Shams after Shams’ mysterious departure. Indeed, in 1998, the gay magazine The Advocate published a piece in which it was argued that Islamic scholars have obscured a likely gay relationship between the poet and Shams. Other Western readers are charmed by the lack of priggishness and the nearly Chaucerian quality contained in some of Rumi’s depictions of heterosexual couplings. Yes, odd indeed..
“For ages you have come and gone courting this delusion. For ages you have
run from the pain and forfeited the ecstasy. So come, return to the root of
the root of your own soul.
Although you appear in earthly form Your essence is pure Consciousness.
You are the fearless guardian of Divine Light.
So come, return to the root of the root of your own soul.
When you lose all sense of self the bonds of a thousand chains will vanish.
Lose yourself completely, Return to the root of the root of your own soul.
You descended from Adam, by the pure Word of God, but you turned your sight
to the empty show of this world. Alas, how can you be satisfied with so little?
so come, return to the root of the root of your own soul.
Why are you so enchanted by this world when a mine of gold lies within you?
Open your eyes and come --- Return to the root of the root of your own soul.
You were born from the rays of God's Majesty when the stars were in their
perfect place. How long will you suffer from the blows of a nonexistent hand?
So come, return to the root of the rootof your own soul.
You are a ruby encased in granite. How long will you decieve Us with this
outer show? O friend, We can see the truth in your eyes! So come, return to
the root of the root of your own soul.
After one moment with that glorious Friend you became loving, radiant, and
ecstatic. Your eyes were sweet and full of fire. Come, return to the root of
the root of your own soul.
Shams-e Tabriz, the King of the Tavern has handed you an eternal cup,
And God in all His glory is pouring the wine. So come! Drink! Return to the root
of the root of your own soul.
Soul of all souls, life of all life - you are That. Seen and unseen, moving
and unmoving - you are That.
The road that leads to the City is endless; Go without head and feet and
you'll already be there. What else could you be? - you are That.”
Kabir composed in a pithy and earthy style, replete with surprise and inventive imagery.
His poems resonate with praise for the true guru who reveals the divine through direct experience, and denounce more usual ways of attempting god-union such as chanting, austerities, etc. Kabir, being illiterate, expressed his poems orally in vernacular Hindi. His verses often began with some strongly worded insult to get the attention of passers-by. Kabir has enjoyed a revival of popularity over the past half century as arguably the most accessible and understandable of the Indian saints, with a special influence over spiritual traditions: Here are two of his estatic poems…
Oh friend, I love you, think this over
Oh friend, I love you, think this over carefully! If you are in love, then why are you asleep?
If you have found him, give yourself to him, take him.
Why do you lose track of him again and again?
If you are about to fall into heavy sleep anyway, why waste time smoothing the bed and arranging the pillows?
Kabir will tell you the truth: this is what love is like: suppose you had to cut your head off and give it to someone else, what difference would that make?
I talk to my inner lover, and I say, why such rush? We sense that there is some sort of spirit that loves birds and animals and the ants— perhaps the same one who gave a radiance to you in your mother’s womb. Is it logical you would be walking around entirely orphaned now? The truth is you turned away yourself, and decided to go into the dark alone. Now you are tangled up in others, and have forgotten what you once knew, and that’s why everything you do has some weird failure in it.
9 minutes long, the Secret of the Light, Chartres Cathedral , France.
You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. (Matthew 5:14, The Message)”
Lamp Of Love
– by Rabindranath Tagore
Light, oh where is the light?
Kindle it with the burning fire of desire!
There is the lamp but never a flicker of a flame—-is such thy fate, my heart?
Ah, death were better by far for thee!
Misery knocks at thy door,
and her message is that thy lord is wakeful,
and he calls thee to the love-tryst through the darkness of night.
The sky is overcast with clouds and the rain is ceaseless.
I know not what this is that stirs in me—-I know not its meaning.
A moment’s flash of lightning drags down a deeper gloom on my sight,
and my heart gropes for the path to where the music of the night calls me.
Light, oh where is the light!
Kindle it with the burning fire of desire!
It thunders and the wind rushes screaming through the void.
The night is black as a black stone.
Let not the hours pass by in the dark.
Kindle the lamp of love with thy life.
Photograph Source: Chartres FB. Page. with thanks…
“If with deep faith, devotion and love you can exclaim: ‘Mother, come to me, I cannot pass my days without you’, rest assured, the Universal Mother will spread out Her arms and clasp you to Her heart. Don’t look up to Her only as a mysterious refuge in your hour of distress. Keep
in mind, She is always very, very near as the Force that guides your life. She Herself is the supreme refuge of every sentient being. With this conviction proceed. She will take the brunt of your burdens from your shoulders and make them light.”