October 8, 2021

This Poem from the Sufi Philosopher Ibn Arabi Taught me what Love really Means.


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What is love?

What does this four-letter word mean?

Poets and artists have regularly tried to find its meaning throughout history. We’ve painted it, written it, and cried it. We’ve put it into words, on canvases, and on flying banners. We’ve felt it. We’ve lost it. Then we’ve found it again.

But we’ve also divided it. I love this color but not that shade. I love this vegetable but hate that fruit. I love this movie but hate this scene. I love this person’s character but hate his ideologies. I love summer but hate winter.

At the end of the day, we constantly find ourselves living in duality. For every acceptance, there is rejection. For every infatuation, there is indifference.

Consequently, we feel puzzled. How can I feel love in all its depth, yet also experience its opposite? Are aversion and love related? What lies beyond my indifference and repulsion?

Yesterday, while I was reading Rumi, I came across a poem for the great Sufi philosopher Ibn Arabi. In a few words, the Sufi mystic explained to me everything I ever needed to learn about love. I felt so full of information that I closed the book and went about my day, thinking about how true and flawless this poem is.

Love knows no color, no shape, no system, no religion. It knows no boundaries or limits. Love only knows itself and grows within itself.

I hope this poem inspires you the same way it has inspired me:

My heart holds within it every form,
it contains a pasture for gazelles,
a monastery for Christian monks.
There is a temple for idol-worshippers,
a holy shrine for pilgrims;
there is the table of the Torah,
and the Book of the Koran.
I follow the religion of Love
and go whichever way His camel leads me.
This is the true faith;
this is the true religion.


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