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In Rumi's Garden



                                In the world of common sense,
                                                yes is yes,
                                              and no is no.
                                          To the Taoist sage,
                                     yes and no are identical.

                                                                -- Jos Stabbert

My Al Anon sponsor has assigned me the task of reading the first 164 pages of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.   I have been struggling with the chapter (4) addressed to agnostics.  In this chapter, in what appears to be his solidifying argument the author (Bill W.?) cites what he takes to be the assumption of the agnostic (but really of the atheist.)

"...Were our contentions true, it would follow that life originated out of nothing, means nothing, and proceeds nowhere."

Certainly a nihilistic statement: ...nothing, ...nothing, ...nowhere.  But it seems to me that i have read statements like that somewhere before, and it wasn't in Feuerbach or Dawkins.  I am reminded of many of the mystics of many religious traditions including neo-Platonic Christians.

Perhaps that is why the author of The Cloud of Unknowing discouraged "ordinary" Christians and even "ordinary" monks from reading his book, whose intended audience was a single reader for whom he was spiritual director,  He probably feared that his heart's passionate reaching out for contact with God who was beyond reason and beyond words would be mistaken for nihilism or atheism.  "God cannot be known, he can only be loved."

I cannot say that yes and no mean nothing because i live in a world of illusion where words are supposed to mean something and where people as wise as Taoist sages have warned us that words can give life and  words can kill.  I am not a mystic, i have not crossed over into Rumi's garden.  I live in a world where saying yes when no was called for or vice versa is dishonest and selfish.  But i need to remind myself that there is a world, or at least a world view, where compassion and selflessness prevail and where yes and no are identical.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 14th, 2016 02:49 pm (UTC)
I was wondering when you would get to the chapter and verse (pardon the pun) of Al Anon, Chapter 4.
Aug. 14th, 2016 08:47 pm (UTC)
I am not sure what you mean by Al Anon Chapter 4?
Aug. 20th, 2016 12:45 pm (UTC)
I thought you said your AlAnon friend had you read their book, and you were struggling with Chapter 4 of that book.
Aug. 20th, 2016 03:09 pm (UTC)
Ah, yes. Chapter 4 in the "Big Book" ("We Agnostics") Well, Bill W. was an American Upper Middle Class Evangelical Protestant. Few people understood in 1939 how much we are influenced by nationality, class, and socialization. He was actually pretty broad minded and open minded for his place and time. But "The Little Duck" answered all my questions. :)
Aug. 16th, 2016 04:42 am (UTC)

'Tis said, the pipe and lute that charm our ears
Derive their melody from rolling spheres;
But Faith, o'erpassing speculation's bound,
Can see what sweetens every jangled sound.

We, who are parts of Adam, heard with him
The song of angels and of seraphim.
Out memory, though dull and sad, retains
Some echo still of those unearthly strains.

Oh, music is the meat of all who love,
Music uplifts the soul to realms above.
The ashes glow, the latent fires increase:
We listen and are fed with joy and peace.
Aug. 16th, 2016 04:56 am (UTC)
Yes! I am sorry to say that my ear for the nuances of music is practically deaf. I love poetry, but adding music to it just confuses me and isolates me from the rest of the congregation.

But i do believe that music, next to silence, is the closest thing we have to the "language" of the universe..
Aug. 16th, 2016 08:30 am (UTC)
Aye, twas a poem by Rumi, one of the best Lovers of God twist'saed of the universe of man.

Rumi breaks me heart, and makes me spirit weep, for I know he sees forth true from Adam unto me and you.

A great force indeed

Aug. 21st, 2016 08:38 pm (UTC)
Aye. I have considered leaving you, in order to save you from the charms of the distortionations, but instead I have decided to remain.

You have pleased me now. You and I are human being, and we are deaf, and lucky, for yet still there is song.
Aug. 21st, 2016 10:36 pm (UTC)
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )



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