When I imagine what it might be like to “be in the vibration of love,” a vast landscape appears in my heart with dusty dirt paths, meandering rivers, and deep valleys, where dervish Yunus, separated from his Dost (Friend), flows through like a surging stream, a surge not of his own making, yet his heart beating to the heartbeat of its Essence, the Source of Life, Love:
Burning, burning, I wander, bloodied by love,
neither wise, nor insane.
See what love has done to me.
One moment a breeze, then dust upon the road,
sometimes a babbling brook.
See what love has done to me.
[Yunus Emre, translated by Kabir Helminski]
How would one understand the state of a lover, when Love and the lover are intermixed? When Love takes over, whatever is left of the lover becomes a slave to the heartbeat of Love:
There comes a moment of happiness,
then one of weeping.
The next moment like winter—long and dark,
the next like a birth—
flower gardens and fine vineyards appear.
In another moment he rises to the heights,
in the next he is beneath the earth.
In one moment he’s a drop,
in another he’s boiled over into an ocean.
[The Drop that Became the Sea: The Lyric Poems of Yunus Emre, translated by Kabir Helminski and Refik Algan]
The way Yunus describes his experience of being in Love makes me feel like that vast landscape I imagine him surging through, might as well be the surface of an ebru (marbling) tank: a mirage of infinite spectrum of colors, shapes, and movements drawn on water, floating to an invisible rhythm at the hands of a master artist. This astonishing and mysterious beauty draws Yunus near and invites him in. Without hesitation, Yunus drops his robe behind him and jumps into the tank. Yunus knows the tongue of all the colors floating on the surface, and moves to the same rhythm of the Essence that bubbles up and manifests itself as swirls and shapes on the surface of this world of ebruli (one with mixed colors). Yunus becomes more than just the surface when he jumps into the ebru tank. He breaks through the mirage of shapes on the surface, reaches the Essence underneath, and soaks It up until there is no Yunus left, and he is all Essence, appearing as Yunus.
Since you have perceived the dust of forms,
perceive the wind that moves them;
since you have perceived the foam,
perceive the ocean of Creative Energy.
[Mathnawi VI, 1460–65, The Rumi Collection, translated by Kabir and Camille Helminski]
Since the beginning of this month, an invitation to offer a poem for Sheb-i Arus sent this heart on a journey. First, it was Yunus visiting with his Truth-telling words in my mother tongue, which arrived in a pounding rhythm that spoke right into my heart. Waking up to this rhythm still pounding in my chest, I could not remember the words, but their meaning was hidden in the rhythm of their arrival, which left a deep imprint, forever altering my heart. The rhythm of Yunus’ words kept ringing in my ears, and pounded my heart like a coppersmith’s hammer, leaving me rather bewildered for days.
On another day, just like those zig-zagging swirls on the face of an ebru, my dreamy ride in the flow of Love, suddenly changed winds, turning into the storm of a heartbreak with all the anger, sorrow, and confusion it brings with it… The calm waters I was just playing in were now the waves of an ocean crushing on top of my head. In this agonizing moment, somehow I was also observing myself and all that was going within and around me in a state of astonishment about how the rhythm of Love can turn life upside down. With these thoughts in mind, while drafting an email to a friend for advice, Yunus visited again. This time as a manifestation of the autocorrect function of my iPhone, which changed “you” into “Yunus.” I remember making eye contact, smiling to the name, and bowing with deep love, all the while feeling this deep smile arising from the depths of my heart. Of course, this ordeal I was going through was also the face of Love. At that moment, I realized why my heart was being pounded to the rhythm of Love: to expand it, and to make space for the opposites to coexist in the space of my little heart, within the infinite realm of the Heart. Love greeted love, and invited her Home.
Then, came the invitation for this one to put her reflections on paper for this month’s theme: “Be in the vibration of Love.” I smiled again to Love for confirming, through my teacher’s words and invitation: “By the way, if you have not noticed, this is what is happening to you.” In a time of sorrow, my heart responded with certainty and a smile that was coming from somewhere deeper. With that loving smile, sadness and anger terrorizing my heart looked like bullies whose mothers just walked into the room. Because of this blessed invitation, I was able to notice that we are all in that ebru tank with Yunus, flowing from one state to another, knowing and trusting with certainty that just like the calm waters that give us joy, the crashing waves pounding us are also Love.
May it be Love, that sinks our boats rocking to the rhythm of life on the surface, into the essence of Oneness:
Love is honey for the grown-up
and milk for children:
for every boat it is the last weight
that causes that boat to sink.
[Mathnawi VI, 3998, Love’s Ripening: Rumi on the Heart’s Journey, translated by Kabir Helminski and Ahmad Rezwani]