The Lord is in Me

by Kabir

English version by Andrew Harvey
Original Language Hindi

The Lord is in me, and the Lord is in you,
As life is hidden in every seed.
So rubble your pride, my friend,
And look for Him within you.

When I sit in the heart of His world
A million suns blaze with light,
A burning blue sea spreads across the sky,
Life's turmoil falls quiet,
All the stains of suffering wash away.

Listen to the unstruck bells and drums!
Love is here; plunge into its rapture!
Rains pour down without water;
Rivers are streams of light.

How could I ever express
How blessed I feel
To revel in such vast ecstasy
In my own body?

This is the music
Of soul and soul meeting.
Of the forgetting of all grief.
This is the music
That transcends all coming and going.

-- from Perfume of the Desert: Inspirations from Sufi Wisdom, by Andrew Harvey / Eryk Hanut

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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

I spent much of my 20s in semi-retreat, meditating and fasting. I kept looking for more remote places to live. Thankfully, I have an adventurous wife who was a bit of a vagabond herself at that time. We moved up into the mountains of Colorado for several years until we decided we weren't built for the intense winters up there. So why not go the opposite direction? We moved to Maui and rented a small ohana (cabin) up along the slopes of Haleakala. When I wasn't working, I'd walk barefoot among the eucalyptus forests with my two dogs. I discovered a small cave hidden among the trees, not far from our place. It was just big enough for me to sit upright in. I'd hike there, sit and meditate, while my dogs roamed or napped nearby.

I don't think of myself as claustrophobic, and this cave wasn't deeply recessed, but feeling all that rock and earth, all that dense... silence, above my head and pressing in at my shoulders, would trigger an instinct to hop out and take a gulp of air. Meditation in a cave, within the embrace of the earth, can be like sitting with death, buried. Or in the womb, waiting to be born. Yet it is so profoundly quiet. When the body finally settles down and the sparks of mind calm, I would become so sweetly still and rooted.

Winter doesn't have the same meaning in Hawaii as it does in much of the world, but it was there, in winter, my 32nd year, during a moment of spiritual desperation, that some part of me just... opened up. The person I normally thought of as "Ivan" ceased to be. And I was flooded with the most amazing sense of bliss and radiance. It rained down like cool water from above. Then it was like a flood. Then a warm fire glowing majestically in my heart. Everything, all the world, was quietly seated in my heart. That soft sound ringing at the base of the skull became a music that filled my awareness.

It was as if all my life I'd been a tight, cramped bud and assumed that was my nature. Then, in an instant, I'd blossomed -- and found I was an entirely different, open being.

What stunned me most was that this heaven was flowering within me, not in someone else, not somewhere else. I knew what an unfocused mess my life -- Ivan's life -- was, so how had this come to me? ...But it hadn't come to me. It's simply what we are, what the whole universe is, beneath the surface appearances.

I remained steadily in that blissful space for several months. Normal social interactions, work, these were a challenge at first, but I slowly began to reconstruct an Ivan-like mask as a way to more easily interact with the world. I didn't feel it was my role to remain withdrawn and floating in bliss. So I let it become a game, pretending to be Ivan. After a while, I noticed days when I wasn't pretending anymore. Sometimes you wear a mask, sometimes you imagine yourself to be the mask. It's now been more than ten years, with normal life dramas and the occasional crisis. Most days I am Ivan -- a likable, intelligent, slightly flakey guy. Then some days I rediscover myself seated in such immense bliss where no simple identity can contain me.

I left my cave. We left Maui and returned to Colorado (but not back up into the mountains). I think of this as when I returned to the world. Or maybe it was my first time entering the world, since I'd spent my whole life up until then trying to run from it. I brought with me my love of poetry, my love of the human journey, and some extra bliss to hand out when no one's looking...


Try re-reading this poem by Kabir now--

The Lord is in me, and the Lord is in you...

When I sit in the heart of His world
A million suns blaze with light...

Listen to the unstruck bells and drums!

Rains pour down without water...

To revel in such vast ecstasy...

I hope you can see that language like this is not simply an artistry of lovely words. This uplifting imagery is a technical language, very precise, describing something very real.

This is the blossoming that every soul craves as the natural expression of its nature.

Recommended Books: Kabir

The Longing in Between: Sacred Poetry from Around the World (A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology) The Enlightened Heart: An Anthology of Sacred Poetry Perfume of the Desert: Inspirations from Sufi Wisdom Islamic Mystical Poetry: Sufi Verse from the Early Mystics to Rumi Songs of the Saints of India
More Books >>

The Lord is in Me