Sep 30 2020

Awhad al-Din Kirmani – Swept Away

Published by at 4:31 pm under Poetry

Swept Away
by Awhad al-Din Kirmani

English version by David and Sabrineh Fideler

At first, the way of your love
seemed easy.

I thought I’d reach
your union
with speed.

After taking a few steps,
I found
the way
is an ocean.

When I stepped in,
a wave swept me away.

— from Love’s Alchemy: Poems from the Sufi Tradition, Translated by David Fideler / Translated by Sabrineh Fideler


/ Image by mikebaird /

I love what this poem has to say about the spiritual path…

At first, the way of your love
seemed easy.

I thought I’d reach
your union
with speed.

At the beginning, when we first decide to explore the path of spirit, it can appear all too easy. We imagine we just need to profess a certain belief, join a certain group, read a certain scripture, pray a certain way. Do that, and everything is assured.

Sadly, this is where much of the religious world stays stuck. This approach too often leads to narrow minds and constricted hearts.

After taking a few steps,
I found
the way
is an ocean.

But when we take those first steps beyond that overly simplistic notion and begin to explore more deeply and sincerely, we come to an honesty with ourselves. That honesty overwhelms us, if we let it, by showing us the immense path ahead. So much to strive for within ourselves, so much suffering in the world to soothe… Seeing this, how can one hope to attain heaven, or wholeness, or peace?

In that moment, the best response is one of courageous determination… without expectation. We commit to the patient inner work and outer service, not because of some immediate spiritual “payoff” of enlightenment or fixing of the world’s wrongs, but because, simply, that is what is needed. It is what the heart requires of us, so why do anything less?

Head lowered, we put our shoulders to the task. That’s when the work works on us — challenging, overturning, refining.

At some point, we stop holding back. The effort ceases to be effort and it becomes rhythm, instead. We begin to dance in the waves of the ocean we once feared.

When there is less “doing,” there is less “me” doing it. Laughing, looking around, there is no “me” there, just the movement of the waves endlessly kissing the shoreline.

When I stepped in,
a wave swept me away.


Recommended Books: Awhad al-Din Kirmani

Love’s Alchemy: Poems from the Sufi Tradition Awhad al-Dīn Kirmānī and the Controversy of the Sufi Gaze


Awhad al-Din Kirmani

(1163 – 1238) Timeline
Muslim / Sufi

Awhad al-Din Kirmani was an important Persian Sufi teacher and poet. His philosophy and miraculous abilities drew many students to him.

His teachings were both celebrated and controversial. One of his well-known tenets was the idea of shahid bazi or what is sometimes called the Sufi gaze. He taught a practice of learning to recognize the beauty of God through the contemplation of beauty within the physical world, stating–

I gaze upon forms with my optic eye,
Because the traces of spiritual meaning are to be found in forms.
This is the world of forms, and we reside in forms,
The spiritual meaning cannot but be seen in forms.

More poetry by Awhad al-Din Kirmani

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3 responses so far

3 Responses to “Awhad al-Din Kirmani – Swept Away”

  1. Anna M.on 30 Sep 2020 at 11:48 pm

    A warm smile and a hug…:)
    …and a big
    YES!

    May we all ride the waves of changes
    with peace, patience and gratitude,
    attuning to the new coming rhythm…

    “Transition states of consciousness emerge when perceptual markers disappear.
    And when this occurs you enter a null zone in which your old reality no longer exists,
    or has changed radically, while your new reality has not yet come into existence.

    As human beings we have an innate ability to be both aware of and operate within
    the confines of perceived time and space while simultaneously being aware of and
    drawing upon resourceful states of consciousness
    that transcend the confines of our embodied existence.”

  2. Ambaon 01 Oct 2020 at 11:00 am

    Much too often we leave unattended that
    Ocean inside and say no to Reality.
    What is Real anymore?
    The Ocean inside or
    The sensuality that grabs eyes?
    Love to all,
    Amba

  3. Anna M.on 03 Oct 2020 at 7:26 am

    I have re-read the poem and your commentary again, and my attention was attracted of your sentence, that makes perfect sense for me:

    “We commit to the patient inner work and outer service, not because of some immediate spiritual “payoff” of enlightenment or fixing of the world’s wrongs, but because, simply, that is what is needed.”

    Could we say, we started slowly and gradually to remember,

    Who we are,

    Why we come here on Earth,

    What is our mission…

    Yes, we was committed as volunteers…
    and we have a mission…and we KNOW what is need to do…

    but this is another long, long theme…

    Is this makes sense for you?

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