I have two ways of loving You:

by Rabia al-Basri (Rabia al- Adawiyya)

English version by Charles Upton
Original Language Persian/Farsi

I have two ways of loving You:
A selfish one
And another way that is worthy of You.
In my selfish love, I remember You and You alone.
In that other love, You lift the veil
And let me feast my eyes on Your Living Face.

-- from Doorkeeper of the Heart: Versions of Rabia, Translated by Charles Upton

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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

This brief poem by Rabia reminds us that simply thinking of the Divine is not enough, because in doing so we still retain ourselves. The busy mind perpetuates itself in thought while telling itself it is virtuously thinking of holy things. No, unselfish love of God is allowing ourselves to be completely vulnerable, hiding nothing, withholding nothing. In doing so, we allow the eternal presence to "lift the veil" and see us truly, intimately, as we are. And in being seen, we finally see. We perceive the Divine Face everywhere, and we ourselves are lost in that vision.



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I have two ways of