As my broken shoulder mends (at a rate described as ‘amazing’ and ‘astonishing’ by my consultant and physio respectively) I am able to do more and more with my left hand and arm – I’m a leftie, so it’s important! – I’m bit by bit picking up my creative threads. There are some exciting developments brewing.
Nonetheless, I’ve been feeling down in the dumps about my creative hiatus. My hands fell this morning on a little book I have* of extracts from the love poems of Rumi, described on the cover as, “The great Sufi saint who embraced God through the path of love.” I opened it upon words which resonated strongly with my present state of spirit – and body.
“Whether slow or speedy, he who seeks will find.
Always apply with both hands the pursuit,
For search is an excellent guide.
Though lame and limping,
Creep ever towards the goal.
Now by speech and now by silence,
Now by smell and now by sound,
Catch from every quarter the senses of the king.”
Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī
Rumi’s king is, of course, God. I like this line: “Now by speech and now by silence, …”
I have long found silence to be more powerful than speech, … yet I so rarely practise it.
The great spiritual leaders all practised silence. It could be said to have been the first act of ministry of Jesus, who, straight after his baptism by John, went into the wilderness for 40 days and nights (wrestling and conquering satan); and in Luke 6:12-13, Jesus “went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, he called his disciples to himself; and from them he chose twelve whom he also named apostles.”
It seems from the above examples, that silence – withdrawing from the world – is something to do before making important decisions. Well, it makes sense.
I’ve been contemplating this and seeking ways of getting more silence into my life. More on this another time. Meanwhile, I hope the Rumi quote resonates and comforts.
*The Love Poems of Rumi by Philip Dunn, (c) The Book Laboratory 2002; Andrews McMeel Publishing, Kansas City