Feb 21 2019

Abu-Said Abil-Kheir – Love came and emptied me of self

Published by at 7:38 am under Ivan's Story,Poetry

Love came and emptied me of self
by Abu-Said Abil-Kheir

English version by Vraje Abramian

Love came and emptied me of self,
every vein and every pore,
made into a container to be filled by the Beloved.
Of me, only a name is left,
the rest is You my Friend, my Beloved.

— from The Longing in Between: Sacred Poetry from Around the World (A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology), Edited by Ivan M. Granger

/ Image by Olga-Zervou /

Long-time readers of the Poetry Chaikhana know that I have dealt with chronic fatigue/ME for a long time. It has generally been much better in the last couple of years — thankfully. My energies have been more steady and dependable for the most part. Still, it is something always in the background that must be carefully managed. Navigating my way through the activities of each day is often an exercise of careful strategy and measured choices.

I woke up this morning thinking about my journey along the way with that demanding teacher, and I returned to my commentary on this poem from several years ago. I share it again in the hopes that it is helpful to those of you who deal with difficult health issues or other challenges that can make life feel constrained. It’s easy to feel sorry for oneself, to rage at circumstance, to just give up. Or we can uncover hidden vistas within ourselves…


I have dealt with chronic fatigue on and off for years. As part of that pattern, I sometimes feel an intense sensation of tremors, even though my body is entirely still. Sitting on the couch with my wife, I’ll turn to see if she is shaking her foot, causing the couch to vibrate. But, no, she is quietly sitting there with no agitating movements. Each time this happens I’m surprised to find that nothing is actually shaking at all, neither my body nor the environment around me.

When the chronic fatigue symptoms are that strong I usually don’t have the energy to do a full day’s work, yet my body isn’t at rest enough to meditate either. What is a person to do who strives to be “spiritual,” when he can neither meditate nor take action? Interesting things happen at such moments.

When the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves can no longer be sustained, one option is to cling to the crumbling edifice and be injured by its collapse. Another option is to construct a new story. Or we can let all stories fall away. We can stop struggling to be either this or that. We can step beyond our stories. That is when we rediscover what we actually are. That is when hidden doorways open.
The little self is simply the sum total of all the stories we tell ourselves. When those stories fall away, the self becomes empty of itself. We then become a cup, empty and ready to be filled.

Of me, only a name is left,
the rest is You my Friend, my Beloved.

This is the hard wisdom that chronic illness teaches. Any life struggle—really any experience, pleasant or unpleasant—can be transformed into a teacher of wisdom when we stop taking it personally. Wisdom roots itself most deeply when we keep our hearts engaged and our eyes open in the midst of our shifting self-stories.

What can one do but stand in silent awe of the vision that emerges, showing us how much bigger we are than even our grandest stories?

Sending love!

Recommended Books: Abu-Said Abil-Kheir

The Longing in Between: Sacred Poetry from Around the World (A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology) This Dance of Bliss: Ecstatic Poetry from Around the World The Drunken Universe: An Anthology of Persian Sufi Poetry Nobody, Son of Nobody: Poems of Shaikh Abu-Saeed Abil-Kheir Love’s Alchemy: Poems from the Sufi Tradition
More Books >>

Abu-Said Abil-Kheir

Turkmenistan (967 – 1049) Timeline
Muslim / Sufi

Sheikh Abu-Said Abil-Kheir was one of the earlier Sufi poets. He lived more than two centuries before Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi, yet, like Rumi, much of his mysticism follows a similar path of annihilation in divine Love.

Abu-Said’s poetry ranges from the ecstatic and celestial, to struggles with abandonment. His poetry has an immediacy and even a sort of devoutly wry petulance that can draw comparisons with the great Bengali poet, Ramprasad.

Abu Said referred to himself as “Nobody, Son of Nobody,” to convey the mystic’s sense of having completely merged or disappeared into the Divine, leaving no trace of the ego behind.

He lived in Mayhana in what is modern day Turkmenistan, just north of Iran and Afghanistan in Central Asia.

More poetry by Abu-Said Abil-Kheir

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4 responses so far

4 Responses to “Abu-Said Abil-Kheir – Love came and emptied me of self”

  1. Annaon 21 Feb 2019 at 9:44 am

    Ohhhhhhhhh, Ivan,:(

    You think you are the only one who suffer from chronic fatigue from years.

    Most of the people around the world, including me, are in the same Process of transition.

    Have a look at the Ascension Process and the ascension symptoms, a lot of info at the Internet.


    Beautiful poem…makes me a bit smile,,,sometimes, walking at the street, people call me by name, I don’t stop, even don’t recognize already my name, neither the faces and names of these old known people…

    …like I live already in completely different reality…
    …like this reality with these people and my connection with them completely have dissolved

    …we all are changing and shifting every nanosecond…

    aren’n we?:)

    “You are all high entities walking on this planet, disguised as simple biological beings . . . and the disguise fools everyone – even you. This is the basis of “duality”.
    You are really two people. The “real you” is the high entity, whose power and knowledge each of you owns, and the “phantom” is the shell of humanism in lesson. The irony here is that you perceive the phantom as real, and the real you as the phantom. Many of you don’t perceive the real you at all! The biggest discoveries in lesson that you will make are concerning this duality.

    The biggest successes you will have in growth are based in understanding how the duality works, and finally gaining realization of the reversed “real” and “phantom” roles. Although you cannot see your higher self (for this would void the purpose of your lesson) you can gain a working knowledge and understanding of the reality of who you are.

    When this occurs, then you can take your power . . . and not before. Therefore, your area of discovery is that of self-awareness and the truth of duality within you, and how to enhance it.”


    I have to admit, that in the most hard moments of my journey, from years, I always have found peace, solace and warmth in your blog’s poems and commentaries from the heart. I am very, very grateful!


    Sending you a smell of the early spring, of something new, in the middle of winter, even the weather is shifting like us, or we are shifting the weather…who knows…

    Be well, dear friend, have a lot of sleep and rest, I am doing the same…only sleep and rest and the body is transforming by itself…There are moments when even I can’t up my finger, tremor too in the the whole body, but it is because we embody very high vibrations, energy, light…It is getting better….and better…

    Spirituality is not what we thought it is!

  2. Elaon 21 Feb 2019 at 11:26 am

    I am hundred percent healthy
    I am taken care of by the best medicines
    I am looked after by the Best Doctor from above
    I am a child of All Mighty Authority, therefore
    I am free from any kind of worries
    I am a true server of humanity
    I am smoothly flowing with the flow
    I am very peaceful and light
    I accept gratefully whatever it is
    I follow a great life style
    I find happiness just all around me
    I possess tremendous wealth of knowledge
    I have with me love and good wishes of all
    I have received everything in my life
    Every positive thought calms my nervous system
    Elevated thoughts stabilize me and my body
    God’s blessings fill strength in every cell of my heart

  3. Carolynon 21 Feb 2019 at 4:07 pm

    Great gratitude for such beauty, such wisdom, such courage. Namaste

  4. Olga T.on 22 Feb 2019 at 11:17 am

    Sometimes I don’t feel like getting up, but I do.
    Sometimes I don’t feel like working, but I do.
    Sometimes I do not feel like being nice, but I do.
    Sometimes I do not feel like reading a poem, but I do.

    Then I am glad I’ve done all this, otherwise,
    How would I have experienced the beautiful day?
    How would I have purchased the tasty bread?
    How would I have maintained my loyal friend?

    And most importantly,
    How would I have known what Abu-Said Abil-Kheir,
    And all others had to say,
    About the Beloved?

    Sometimes, you just have to do it,
    Despite your own inner or outer Self…

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