Welcome, traveler! Enter and take your rest...

Achaikhana is a teahouse along the legendary Silk Road pilgrimage andtrading route linking China to the Middle East and Europe. It is aplace of rest along the journey, a place to shake off the dust of theroad, to sip tea, and to gather together to sing songs of the Divine...

 Love came

by Abu-Said Abil-Kheir

English version by Peter Lamborn Wilson and Nasrollah Pourjavady

Love came
     flowed like blood
     beneath skin, through veins
emptied me of my self
     filled me
     with the Beloved
till every limb
     every organ was seized
     and occupied
till only
     my name remains.
     the rest is It.

-- from The Drunken Universe: An Anthology of Persian Sufi Poetry, Translated by Peter Lamborn Wilson / Translated by Nasrollah Pourjavady

/ Image by Fabrice Nerfin /

View All Poems by Abu-Said Abil-Kheir

I really like the visceral start to this poem.

Love came
     flowed like blood
     beneath skin, through veins

It's so physical, even slightly disturbing. Sheikh Abu-Said Abil-Kheir wants to literally get under our skin with those opening lines.

But what is it that has taken over the very blood and organs of our body? Love.

When deep mystics speak of love, they aren't talking about vague and all-too-fleeting emotional states. When we are truly flooded by that foundational love -- let's capitalize it and call it Love -- there is something very tangible that is experienced. It is physical. The whole body at every level, "every limb / every organ", every cell, in fact, suddenly feels alive in a way previously unknown. There is a powerful sense of alignment, as if each cell is an iron filing exposed to a powerful magnet, all lining up harmoniously along hidden lines of force. Something alchemical is happening in the body.

till only
     my name remains.
     the rest is It.

And the small self, what we might call the ego, seems to fade away. Although we are emptied, that isolated sense of self having vanished, we aren't left bare. Instead, we are filled up with something immense and all-embracing -- a sense of identity too open to be called "me." People may see the same face, use the same name, but those relate to the small self, when in truth only that vast loving presence remains, contentedly witnessing the world through our eyes.


To my many Muslim friends, Eid Mubarak!

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/ Photo by Daisuke Matsumura /

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