This is a selection of what was shared at the weekly online meditation – due to zoom technical difficulties, we were unable to record the call.
Love, Breath, Body
~ Khadim Chisti
The seven heavens and earth and everything within them glorify Him. There is nothing in existence that does not glorify Him in praise but you do not comprehend their glorification. Truly, He is Gentle, Forgiving.”
If there had not been love, how would there have been existence?
[Mathnawi V, 2012–14]
You did beat water and earth together:
from water and clay You did mold the body of Adam.
[Mathnawi II, 696]
This body is a tent for the spirit, or like an ark for Noah.
[Mathnawi II, 465]
Our body is an instrument of awareness to experience existence. We only exist by being breathed by our Sustainer; the breath of Love. Our body is a sanctuary for the soul/spirit for a determined time. Rumi says, “Consider the body to be the rind and the spirit to be the core.”
The body has sense perceptions. When we engage in ritual prayer we begin by doing ablutions to purify these senses. We purify the heart through prayer, fasting, beautiful deeds, and silence. The heart is the home of spiritual perceptions to be discovered and developed.
We have some knowledge of the body and its mystery. Science has discovered that cells have intelligence and communicate with each other, always longing to be in balance, “to glorify Allah.”
Imagine our bodies as instruments of the Divine Making. Each distinct, yet alike. An instrument needs care. An instrument’s service is in the beauty it creates in relationship with the one who plays and cares for it. To fulfill its purpose it must be treated with respect and tenderness and kept in tune. It may be in service to its owner, but treated heedlessly without the right relationship it cannot fulfill its purpose; its own unique and beautiful sound. The body fulfills its purpose in service of the Beloved.
Following momentary appetites and desires or unhealthy habits draws us away from this attunement. Attunement is not dependent on robust health but rather discipline, listening, practice, consent, love and longing to be near our Sustainer.
Our bodies are profound teachers if we listen. Often through a health crisis, illness or chronic conditions the rind becomes transparent and Allah’s beautiful attributes become revealed and lived.
The core of every fruit is better than its rind:
consider the body to be the rind,
and its friend the spirit to be the core.
After all, the human being has a goodly core;
seek it for one moment
if you are of those inspired by the Divine Breath.
[Mathnawi III, 3417–18]
The days of the body are increased by the spirit:
look what becomes of the body when the spirit departs.
The range of the body is an arm’s length or two,
yet your spirit soars in the infinite…
Each of us is given the experience of a body for a time, to be a sanctuary for the breath of Love. Life is full of trials and suffering and of great beauty and love. My mom died on March 27 of this year. She was 101. She had a love for being alive and with all her trials and suffering she knew love was the way. I was with her for her last breath. It was an in-breath. I bathed her in rose water with gratitude and tenderness for this body that had been her earthly container for so many years. I felt overwhelmed with love for the One who is our Sustainer and Owner of all.
I end with a poem from our beloved Rumi about thankfulness.
Giving thanks for abundance
is sweeter than the abundance itself:
Should one who is absorbed with the Generous One
be distracted by the gift?
Thankfulness is the soul of beneficence;
abundance is but the husk,
for thankfulness brings you to the place where the Beloved lives.
Abundance yields heedlessness;
hunt for bounty with the snare of gratitude to the King.
[Mathnawi III, 2895–97]
May we be absorbed with the Generous One and be inspired by Divine Breath.
And the poem that was shared by Camille Ana:
With Your sweet Soul, this soul of mine
has merged as water does with wine.
Who can part the water from the wine,
or me from You when we combine?
You have become my greater self;
how can smallness limit me?
You’ve taken on my being,
how shall I not take on Yours?
Forever, You have claimed me
that forever I may know You’re mine.
Your love has pierced me to the depths,
its ecstasy entwines both bone and nerve.
I rest as a ney laid upon Your lips;
as an oud I lie against Your breast.
Breathe deeply in me that I may sigh;
Strike upon my strings and tears glisten.
Sweet are my tears and sweet my sighs;
worldly joys I return to the world.
You remain in my inmost Soul
whose depths the mirrored heavens reflect.
O pearl in this mussel shell:
O diamond in my darkest mine!
In You, this honey is dissolved,
O milk of life, so mild, so fine!
Our sweetnesses, all merged in You,
sweeten infant smiles.
You crush me into rose oil, drop by drop;
nor do I complain beneath the press.
In Your sweet pain, pain dissolves;
for I, Your rose, had this intent.
You bade me blossom on Your robe,
and made me for all eyes Your sign.
And when You pour me upon this world,
it blooms in Beauty, fully Divine.
[Ghazel, The Pocket Rumi, tr. by Camille Helminski and William Hastie]