Posted on April 1, 2017


In love, nothing exists between heart and heart.
Speech is born out of longing,
True description from the real taste.
The one who tastes, knows;
the one who explains, lies.
How can you describe the true form of Something
In whose presence you are blotted out?
And in whose being you still exist?
And who lives as a sign for your journey?

Rabia al-Basri

The exquisite poetry of Rabia al-Basri was brought to my attention by Rohit Parikh. I particularly like the lines The one who tastes, knows; the one who explains, lies.

My problem with mystical literature used to be that I thought the experiences it describes can only be had after years of training. I created distance between the authors (exalted beings) and myself (mundane muddlehead). But now I can see that that is completely false.

For a first class mystical experience, the only thing you have to do is stop talking, allow yourself to become quiet, and start paying attention. When you thus investigate your world by simply looking, your whole world picture starts to change. It is not a big deal, and yet it is everything. Suddenly you can recognize in the lines of Rabia al-Basri your own experience.

We all get tastes of that, all the time. When you can share these glimpses into the absolute with others, being together with them becomes bliss.