Beginning Steps to Authentic Love
Today, although I didn’t mean to—and it was the furthest thing from my mind and intention—I hurt the soft and tender heart of a very dear friend.
Life gets busy, and we are so often focused elsewhere, and not on the quality of our precious relationships at each moment. So often I unknowingly trample on those who are dearest to me, because I’m thinking of tomorrow. Or, even worse, sometimes in distraction or abstraction, I’m thinking of a higher realm of love to which I have little access at this point in my realization.
I love this piece by Persian poet Hafiz c. 1320 to 1389, although I cringe to think that the man in the story could be me. Could he be you sometimes also?
Once a man came to me and spoke for hours about
“His great visions of God” he felt he was having.
He asked me for confirmation saying
“Are these wondrous dreams true?”
I replied, “How many goats do you have?”
He looked surprised and said,
“I am speaking of sublime visions
And you ask
And I spoke again saying
“Yes, brother- how many do you have?”
“Well, Hafiz, I have sixty-two.”
“And how many wives?”
And he looked surprised, then said,
How many rosebushes in your garden?
How many children,
Are your parents still alive,
Do you feed the birds in winter?
And to all he answered.
Then I said,
“You asked me if I thought your visions were true
I would say that they were if they made you become
More kind to every creature and plant
That you know.”