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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger
I sought her from myself,
she was there all along;
how strange that I
had concealed her from me.
These lines say so much. Spiritual seekers tend to look everywhere for the Divine -- by visiting holy places and teachers, through spiritual practices and austerities, through service -- but at a certain point we are surprised to discover that "she was there all along." The Divine, the living sacred source, is discovered to be present within us, within this very moment -- and most surprising of all, we recognize that It has always been there, that we have never been separate or apart from It. In truth, God is found to be the very Self of our self; we could never possibly be apart from That. Yet, how could we have missed this overwhelming truth of our own being? How could we have thought we were separate from God? "How strange that I / had concealed her from me."
There is so much depth and splendor in this selection from The Poem of the Sufi Way. The only other thing I'll point out is the general theme Ibn al-Farid here plays with: the psychic dilemma of how the dualistic state of the lover melts into the nondual unity of the Beloved. It is a dilemma because the normal consciousness can't conceive of it even when it is directly experienced. What can one say about "self" and "God" when the veil has been lifted and the two pour into each other as one?
To try to put this into the conceptualized world of words becomes farcical, and Ibn al-Farid plays masterfully with this:
Calling to myself from me
to guide me by my voice
to that part of me
lost in my search.
Me begging me
to raise the screen
by lifting up the veil,
for I was my only means to me.
I was gazing
into the mirror of my beauty
to see the perfection of my being
in my contemplation of my face,
And mouthing my name, I listened
and leaned toward me,
looking to one who could make me hear
mention of me in my voice,
Placing my hands
upon my heart,
hoping to hold me
there in my embrace,
Rising toward my breaths
pleading they would pass by me
that I might find
And what a perfect summation, the final line of this selection:
I, one with my essence.
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M. Granger's original poetry, stories and commentaries are Copyright ©
2002 - 2011 by Ivan M. Granger.
All other material is copyrighted by the respective authors, translators and/or publishers.