Sep 06 2019

Abu-Said Abil-Kheir – Beg for Love

Published by at 9:21 am under Poetry

Beg for Love
by Abu-Said Abil-Kheir

English version by Vraje Abramian

Beg for Love.
Consider this burning, and those who
burn, as gifts from the Friend.
Nothing to learn.
Too much has already been said.
When you read a single page from
the silent book of your heart,
you will laugh at all this chattering,
all this pretentious learning.

— from Nobody, Son of Nobody: Poems of Shaikh Abu-Saeed Abil-Kheir, Translated by Vraje Abramian

/ Image by greenzowie /

All of my life I have dealt with anxiety. At times quite severe. When I was younger, I used to twist myself into convoluted states of pretense to convince myself that it wasn’t there. Or I would mask it behind anger — someone or some situation must be to blame for my tension. At a certain point I grew tired of my evasions and I simply accepted the patterns of anxiety in my life. I made friends with it. And in befriending it, I came to know it better.

While the anxiety patterns are generally reduced in my life these days, I can’t say that they are entirely gone. When anxiety shows up, I sit with it and we talk. As I relax out of my reflexive resistance, I learn more about myself. The anxiety in its way is a teacher. It tears holes in the latest social facade I’ve begun constructing. Instead of imagining that the anxiety points to something being “wrong,” which implies that something must be fixed in a state of desperation, I tend now to relate to anxiety as an accent in the awareness — and as an intense sensation. Anxiety can seem physical at times and, as a sensation, it burns.

When anxiety appears the first thought is, What’s wrong? I go through a rapid assessment of the daily elements of my life: my current projects as a computer programmer, my income, my work with the Poetry Chaikhana, recent conversations with my wife, chores that need to be done, am I meditating enough, how is my health… The list expands to be as long as my anxiety-controlled mind wants to make it. But, if nothing truly worthy of concern emerges in that first quick self-assessment, what I’ve learned to do is stop shredding my life up in search of the “problem” and just sit with that burning sensation of anxiety itself and let it reveal what it has to say in its own way.

Nine times out of ten I find that it is not about practical life issues and, instead, it has shown up to tease and chide me as it highlights some ego pattern I hadn’t recognized in the midst of my daily busyness. It burns and stings until I remember, Oh, yes, I am not that neat, two-dimensional figure I once again had begun to imagine myself to be. When I let go of that cardboard cutout version of myself, the heat of the anxiety consumes it and, satisfied, it dissipates, leaving me somehow more fully myself.

So in my idiosyncratic reading of this poem by the great Abu-Said Abil-Kheir, when he talks about burning as being “gifts from the Friend,” I relate to it in a highly personal and visceral way. I hear in his words how the intense, often painful experiences in life can be embraced as a cleansing process that in some alchemical sense refines us, ushering us into a deeper sense of self.

Nothing to learn.
Too much has already been said.

The real path is not about thinking or book learning, but about falling silent and opening ourselves to the intense transformative energies already at work in our lives. That’s when we enter that most holy of places, the heart.

When you read a single page from
the silent book of your heart,
you will laugh at all this chattering,
all this pretentious learning.

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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13 responses so far

13 Responses to “Abu-Said Abil-Kheir – Beg for Love”

  1. Frances Daleon 06 Sep 2019 at 10:39 am

    After the learning comes the unlearning.

  2. Emily S.on 06 Sep 2019 at 11:46 am

    Beautiful. Thanks for sharing your insight, experiences, and personal connection to this poem.

  3. Olga T.on 06 Sep 2019 at 12:34 pm

    I am wondering if something vital is not a little lost in the translation of this poem.
    The poet is definitely thankful that he is able to love to such a degree. Needles to say, one can get close to the Friend / Creator only if one can love so passionately. Some of us are still working on loving our Neighbours…

  4. mystic meanderingon 06 Sep 2019 at 2:31 pm

    I love this: “accepting the patterns in our lives” I’m learning this too, as I also have had pretty intense anxiety all my life. I’ve recently returned to a more dedicated “meditation” practice, where I sit with the body and become aware of the sensations and where I’m holding anxiety, tension, stress, anger, etc. – as the remnants seem to be held in the body. Interesting how that helps smooth those intense energies out. But I’m also finding that truly it is reaching the depths of Silence within that really dissolves a lot of it… It’s also where I find the Love, in the deep Silence of just Being – allowing everything to be as it is… _/\_

  5. Marina Fickon 06 Sep 2019 at 10:13 pm

    Thank you for sharing your experience with anxiety. It was so helpful.
    I’ve been receiving the poems and commentries for a couple of years now, and it has given me much insight and guidance on my own journey. A new world opened for me in getting acquainted with poetry. Your input and hard work is much appreciated.

  6. Carolon 07 Sep 2019 at 3:45 am

    Thank You, Ivan

    Another poem that touched my heart. Your commentary is so insightful and I found
    mystic meandering blog and do so appreciate reaching the depths of Silence within.
    allowing everything to be as it is. . .

  7. Ron Potteron 07 Sep 2019 at 5:03 am

    Thanks for your commentary. Insightful and practical, it is ‘walking in our shoes’ wisdom and a real help.

  8. Annaon 08 Sep 2019 at 6:04 am

    One day a man of the people said to Zen Master Ikkyu: ‘Master, will you please write for me some maxims of the highest wisdom?’

    Ikkyu immediately took his brush and wrote the word ‘Attention.’

    ‘Is that all?’ asked the man. “Will you not add something more?’

    Ikkyu then wrote twice running: ‘Attention. Attention.’

    ‘Well,’ remarked the man rather irritably, ‘I really don’t see much depth or subtlety in what you have just written.’

    Then Ikkyu wrote the same word three times running: ‘Attention. Attention. Attention.’

    Half-angered, the man demanded: ‘What does that word “attention” mean anyway?’

    And Ikkyu answered gently: ‘Attention means attention.’

    Hi Ivan,

    In this beautiful,
    still summer day,
    no comments,
    no mental concepts,
    no opinions,
    “no counter points,
    no disagreements”…:)

    I would like to say something
    completely wordless and silent…
    Probably the best way is haiku, as always…:)

    last summer rays
    the silent Sound of
    love and harmony

    Have a peaceful, gently attentive day!

  9. mystic meanderingon 08 Sep 2019 at 11:43 am

    Hi Ivan – Just had a very intense morning with deep sadness and have to add this addendum to what I said before… Maybe it’s not about “dissolving” what hurts – our feelings, our emotions, etc. I think sometimes “meditation” can be like trying to put a bandaid over the pain so it won’t hurt, essentially trying to “spiritualize” the pain, anxiety, etc. Maybe the real deal is just to feel what we are feeling – just facing what we need to face, and just embrace it while we go *through* it… I think this is also what you said in your commentary… with Gratitude… MM

  10. Ivan M. Grangeron 09 Sep 2019 at 7:46 am

    I think you have it just right, mystic meandering. It’s not so much about dissolving or avoiding or even overcoming those difficult, intense feelings, but working with them, understanding them, claiming them in a sense and integrating them within our larger selves. We become more complete and rich beings that way, more fully ourselves. Also, through the courageous integration of these difficult currents, we gain access to spiritual reserves that we might not have otherwise known were available to us. This all becomes the gift we can then share with the world.

    Sending you love and a warm hug across the ethers. ~Ivan

  11. Mystic Meanderingon 09 Sep 2019 at 8:46 pm

    Thank you Ivan… I appreciate the love and hugs… and your message 🙂 _/\_

  12. marrobon 10 Sep 2019 at 5:19 am

    ! turned on the radio after reading this poem & commentaries – music helps when I
    scrub floors….and what comes on but The Beatles “Let it BE”. I laughed out LOUD,
    now I’m smiling , trying to be grateful for everything. Thank you.

  13. Annaon 10 Sep 2019 at 8:45 am

    Hi Ivan

    just read marrob’s post and his laughter was contagious, I started smiling too,
    just without a reason, just grateful to Universe for the life and the air we all are breathing,
    and beautiful sun, warming our hearts…

    hey, friend, isn’t time for more joyful poetry and talking?

    Love and hugs! 🙂

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