desire, God, Kahlil Gibran, love, mystic, Mystic of the Month, poet, The Sophia Center for Spirituality, understanding, voice, winged heart
Last evening, at our Mystic of the Month gathering, I – and some of the attendees – reconnected with Kahlil Gibran, a mystical poet and “old friend” who lived from 1883 to 1931 and whose work was quite popular in the 1960s and ’70s. The most well-known of his books is The Prophet which contains 26 short, poetic essays on aspects and issues of life. It was a very meaningful text for those of us who grew up in the ’60s and I was happy to have a conversation about Gibran and his work.
The most meaningful part of the presentation, however, for me and the participants was the reading aloud of some key passages in a few of the essays. The process reminded me of how voice adds meaning to words. One of the women present spoke of the different interpretation she noted from her own previous understanding when I read a section. Hearing it aloud with my inflection made all the difference. So now I will copy a few lines of the essay on love and hope that in some places in the world there will be voices raised in praise of Love, bringing beauty and peace to this day.
When you love you should not say, “God is in my heart,” but rather, “I am in the heart of God.” And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course. Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself. But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires: to melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night, to know the pain of too much tenderness, to be wounded by your own understanding of love; and to bleed willingly and joyfully. To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving…
Dorothy Hathway Forbes said:
“But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires: to melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night, to know the pain of too much tenderness, to be wounded by your own understanding of love; and to bleed willingly and joyfully.”
Oh, my! If this isn’t echoed in St. John of the Cross, I’m reading his works incorrectly! It’s so sad that we in the western world have pretty much lost the beauty of language, music, and poetry that Gibran expresses in such a timeless manner.
Certainly, a remnant remains, but so much wisdom – in literature, at, music – has been pushed aside, even in liturgy, in favor of “efficiency”, an attitude of “oh, well, that’s good enough”, or “I don’t have enough time”. It might be better (if we are able) to travel, to see the cathedrals in other countries, listen to beautiful music that lifts us to a world so many don’t realize even exists. It might be an inspiration to slow down and try to do more. My mother and I took my children to Montreal when they were young teenagers to experience St. Joseph’s Basilica, Notre Dame in old Montreal, etc.; then to SPAC (numerous times!) to see the NYC Ballet and listen to the Philadelphia orchestra. They still remember, and they still seem to be “called” back to those uplifting performances and places…
Gibran brings a modern touch to language that incorporates the beauty of our Eastern origins with a message that’s timeless. So many of his books are out of print, a loss for everyone. Thank you, Lois…
Laura Ruth said:
Thank you for that Lois, that is beautiful.