Ibn Arabi (1165-1240)
Mysterious and subtle are the ways by which the Beloved One looks for us and loves us. Yet we must let the senses open, so that we can listen, and let our heart melt through the pain of longing, the sorrow of life, the beauty that leaves us without breath, wondering in awe, responding as an echo of our true Essence, when the seeker and the sought are revealed as one and the same.
The following poem was written by a great Sufi mystic born in Spain, Ibn Arabi, and it is a delicious expression of that search coming from the Deep, not from our small, self-concerned selves that never seem to be really satisfied:
I have called you so often and you have
not heard me.
I have shown myself to you so often and
you have not seen me.
I have made myself fragrance so often, and
you have not smelled me,
Savorous food, and you have not tasted me.
Why can you not reach me through the
object you touch
Or breathe me through sweet perfumes?
Why do you not see me? Why do you not
Why? Why? Why?
For you my delights surpass all other
And the pleasure I procure you surpasses
all other pleasures.
For you I am preferable to all other
I am Beauty, I am Grace.
Love me, love me alone.
Love yourself in me, in me alone.
Attach yourself to me,
No one is more inward than I.
Others love you for their own sakes,
I love you for yourself.
And you, you flee from me.
You cannot treat me fairly,
For if you approach me,
It is because I have approached you.
I am nearer to you than yourself,
Than your soul, than your breath.
Who among creatures
Would treat you as I do?
I am jealous of you over you,
I want you to belong to no other,
Not even to yourself.
Be mine, be for me as you are in me,
Though you are not even aware of it.
Let us go toward Union.
And if we find the road
That leads to separation,
We will destroy separation.
Let us go hand in hand.
Let us enter the presence of Truth.
Let it be our judge
And imprint its seal upon our union
Quoted by Lewellyn Vaughan Lee in his wonderful work Catching the Thread, p-145, and by Henry Corbin in Creative Imagination in the Sufism of Ibn ‘Arabi, pp. 174-175.