Saturday, November 23, 2013
putting my hands on a pot, on a broom,
in a wash pail.
I tried painting,
but it was easier to fly slicing
— رابعة العدوية القيسية
This snippet of poetry comes from Daniel Ladinsky's playfully luminous Love Poems From God. Rābiʿah al-Baṣrī was an 8th century Muslim Sufi poet and saint. She left behind no writings, but like the Christian desert ascetics of the 4th and 5th centuries, her sayings and stories were kept alive.
My class has been arguing about the validity of mystical experiences. Not so much does anyone have them, the conversation centered more around whether mystical experiences that are deliberately sought out are "real"? Is it a mystical experience if you took psilocybin (with the intent of triggering a mystical experience) or mescaline or LSD or...? What about fasting? or meditation? or the sleep deprivation of long vigils?
Or working in the kitchen? Doing the dishes as Teresa of Avila or slicing the potatoes?
Is it acceptable to put yourself in the way of God?
Posted by Michelle at 10:33 AM