Action & Intention
Actions are the broad sweep across history,
Intention is the ghostly mist,
The intangible wisp behind
The pen and the sword,
Between what is done for your own vanity
And what is done for your God.
OLDER. As I get older, boy, do I get more circumspect. Or perhaps more introspect, peeling through the layers of my intentions. Because the truth is that it is very rare that I, your friendly neighbourhood sinner, is motivated by just one solitary reason.
CHAOS. Often I (and perhaps most of humanity) am in fact propelled by multiple motivations. For example, waking up this morning… why did I ever decide to wake up? Well, I simply HAD to wake up because I needed to go to the washroom. But I also felt a little hungry and was already planning my breakfast menu on the way to the washroom. By the time I have finished showering, I have planned my day up to noon time, when I may be on-call for a client. In the mix is thrown my chore to pick up Mikhail, my son, from school. A task I anticipate with visceral happiness.
GOD? So where is my intention for God? Where is the supposed oracle and prism of divine desire, through which I ought to live my days? I am sure (I hope), it is there somewhere, in the confusing jumble of my thoughts, my plans, my prejudices and my psychedelic murmurings.
RUMI. So you see, sunshine, this is me. A veritable chaos of intentions. Anyways, I actually have a point to make today in my normal ambling way. And this is it – Someone shared a posting on Facebook yesterday which said that, “Dear Sisters, when Rumi writes about ‘love’, he’s writing about God. Not about what you feel for the guy who won’t text you back.“
NOTRUMI. Well, I am not Rumi (obviously). Perhaps the anonymous commentator here is correct, and that Rumi is indeed talking about Divine Love in all those prose, and not chronicling some immature puppy love for eternity. But I do not think this labeling is necessarily useful. Because like all journeys, mustn’t we start somewhere on the Path of Love? Whether it is a love for an object, like a teddy bear or a book, to the romantic love for a man or a woman. Thus for me, the pitiable teenager’s yearning of a loved one, somehow refusing or unable to return a text message? That in itself is a circumstance pregnant with the analogy of true love and mortal failings. …Love is love surely, and indeed what distinguishes mortal love with Love of the Divine must be a question of degree and not the genus.
HUMAN LIMITATIONS. So it is well and fine that you may say Rumi is talking about Divine Love, but Rumi is also a human being. Thus, however we look at it, love, or Divine Love if you wish to call it, is ringed by our very human inadequacies, constrained as we are with our needs such as food, air, water, companionship and also our unfortunate forgetfulness.
And I do not think this mortal ‘limitation’ makes our protestations and claims of love for Allah Almighty any less meaningful. Indeed, I think Allah Most Beautiful created and planned it thus. A love full of romance and drama, yearning and petty human foibles, admirable moments of lucidity, forgivable moments of forgetfulness and distraction. This is my understanding of love in Rumi’s life. After all, did the great shaykh himself not say…
“Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn’t matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times… Come, yet again, come, come.”
So be not ashamed of your love, sunshine, however inconsequential, however timidly grasped. Had God wanted it any other way, the path would have been different for you and I.
wa min Allah at-taufiq
Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way