My joyby Rabia al-Basri (Rabia al- Adawiyya)
English version by Charles Upton
Original Language Persian/Farsi
My joy --
My Hunger --
My Shelter --
My Friend --
My Food for the journey --
My journey's End --
You are my breath,
My abundant wealth.
Without You -- my Life, my Love --
I would never have wandered across these endless countries.
You have poured out so much grace for me,
Done me so many favors, given me so many gifts --
I look everywhere for Your love --
Then suddenly I am filled with it.
O Captain of my Heart
Radiant Eye of Yearning in my breast,
I will never be free from You
As long as I live.
Be satisfied with me, Love,
And I am satisfied.
|-- from Doorkeeper of the Heart: Versions of Rabia, Translated by Charles Upton|
This is a beautiful poem of love and devotion to God. Several layers of meaning when you read it from a mystical point of view...
"My joy --"
The Divine is experienced as an ecstatic joy, a delight not easily put into words.
"My Food for the journey --"
This may sound odd but, in the blissful state, there is often a deeply satisfying sense of nourishment and fulness in the belly. This is why God is sometimes compared with food.
"You are my breath"
There is a certain point in the mystical experience in which the breath grows deep, slow, and full. It is as if your body is no longer breathing; instead, breath is simply moving through you, a living breath.
"I look everywhere for Your love -- / Then suddenly I am filled with it"
In most spiritual practice, there is effort, a striving to look everywhere outside of yourself for the connection with the Divine. But suddenly all of your efforts fall away and you discover the Divine One is already within you.
"O Captain of my Heart"
Although subtle phenomenon can seem to be located in many parts of the body, the point of awareness eventually settles into the heart. The heart is experienced as the center, the seat of awareness, the place from which consciousness lovingly witnesses everything while, at the same time, the heart contains everything that exists.
"And I am satisfied."