“Which is worth more, a crowd of thousands,
Or your own genuine solitude.
Freedom, or power over an entire nation?
A little while alone in your room
Will prove more valuable than anything else
That could ever be given to you.”
Aliza sits in her room, alone, contemplating these words that are living in the pages of Rumi – The Book of Love. Each word taking the space of her thoughts. She wonders, not for the first time, what Rumi meant in his poetry. To her, his words are a breath of fresh air in this chaotic world. She finds solace in his words knowing that each word relates to her, each poem is another way of bringing her closer to God.
Rumi is the man who walked the earth 800 years ago in the 13th century. A great Sufi, a mystical poet and a man of great spirituality whom the Sufi’s refer to as the Qutb meaning ‘the pole, of love’. Aliza contemplates on why he was referred to as ‘the pole’, could it be that he was as firm as a pole in his spirituality and never wavered to disbelief? Or is he the pole that stands tall in the waiting of his Beloved, Shamsi of Tabriz?
Aram walks in to the bedroom, interrupting her thoughts by saying,
“Aliza, what are you doing?”
She presents the book to him and says,
“Okay, you can carry on. I just wanted to tell you that Asher phoned from his trip and said that he misses you.”
At his words, Aliza rushes to his side and asks,
“Is he okay? Why didn’t you let me talk to him?”
“He’s fine, I couldn’t talk to him for long because there was hardly any reception.”
“He’s fine, really. Don’t look so sad.”
Aram holds out his arms and Aliza walks into them, taking all the comfort that lives in his arms. She missed Asher so much although he had only been gone for one day and would be back tomorrow. The pain of separation was unbearable but she knew that it was a part of life and Asher could not be with her all his life, he would have to leave her someday.
They stood there, holding each other for a while before Aliza breaks the silence,
“I think it is this pain of separation that I am feeling right now that causes Rumi to write his poems of longing for Shamsi of Tabriz and his yearning for God. Each soul faces this separation the moment they come into this world and it is this longing that is reflected in his poems. It is such a poignant and beautiful thing to be able to write about concepts which have so much depth to them using just a few words.”
“Yes but it is only through the pain of separation that we can feel the sweetness of the meeting.”
“You’re right. Maybe we are given the gift of separation so that we may feel gratitude in the moment when we finally get to meet our Beloved.”
Aram releases Aliza from his hold and walks over to the bed and picks up the book she was reading and opens it. He reads out the first poem that comes on the page,
“There are no edges to my loving now.
You’ve heard it said there’s a window
That opens from one mind to another.
But if there’s no wall, there’s no need
For fitting the window, or the latch.”
“That is my favourite poem.”
“It shows us that there is no need to build walls around our hearts and our minds. We should leave them open so that there is no need for a window. The light may shine freely into our hearts and minds without us having to open the window. Especially for me since I have lived behind walls for so long and it took me years to realise what I was doing to myself.”
“Do you think that there is a wall between us that requires a window?”
“You and I have broken down all the walls that existed between us in the beginning of our relationship. Those walls that were there due to circumstances. So no, I don’t think there is a need for a window because we have learnt to be open with one another through the tranquillity that has been placed between us by God.”
“I love you.”
“I love you, too.”
Aliza opens the book at a random page and reads,
“A thousand half-loves
Must be forsaken to take
One whole heart home.”
“Wasn’t the poem I just read on the same page?”
“Oh yeah, it’s right on top. What do you think? Is there some sort of connection between them?”
“Well, if you look at both of them, they both represent the concept of love. One talks about the entirety of love whereas the other talks about the thousands of half-loves.”
“I think the second one describes the half-loves that people experience, the love that is easy to fall out of, the love that doesn’t last very long. It is all these half-loves that take us in the direction of our whole heart, the love that is whole because our heart is whole. It is these half-loves that direct us, they show us the way of making our heart whole by destroying us, by causing us pain. So that we can see that it is this pain that makes our hearts whole, it is this pain that makes us truly appreciate the love that is whole. The kind of love that I have with you.”
“We do, don’t we? We are truly blessed. God has given us the Rizq (provision) of love.”
Aram and Aliza stare at one another as if they have never seen each other before. It is in this meeting of the eyes, with love, with sincerity and with respect that brings blessings between them.