The carved silver
on your ring finger
is a mark
of our union.
And the open spaces
around the etched words
are for your hands
to find mine
in times of need.
In every fidgeting whirl,
and unconscious touch –
I hear your heart
And for each spin
the ring completes;
I whisper a blessing…
just like a prayer wheel
turning in the wind.
In every second of the touch
I am a reminder to simply be…
I saw someone wearing a ring with the chant “Om Mani Padme Hum” carved into it. The poem developed from the ring being a way of centering oneself. It was so complimentary to the intent of the chant that I could almost feel the poem writing itself. These are the words that it spoke. 🙂
There’s this tale one of my grandmothers would often reiterate. She’d say that whenever we ask a question of life; the answer comes to us in our sleep and stays by our side till we figure it out. As a young girl who obsessed over fairy godmothers and guardian angels, I found it soothing. I embraced the idea of having a clearer line of communication with life than just hindsight. So none of this was new to me or surprising when my meditation teacher reinforced the same belief. She as well as my grandmother however, failed to inform me how annoying it could become when you don’t comprehend the message.
For a while now, there’s a song that will pop into my head completely unanounced. I could be completely immersed in whatever I’m doing and before I know it, I’m humming. I could be walking about aimlessly, and there it is; acting as my most faithful companion. There I am, talking to someone and it’s twirling around in my head. I hadn’t heard it in forever and then one day, when I wake up in the morning, it’s all I can think of. And I don’t remember having asked a question of life. So it’s akin to you seeing a big red circle around the date on the calendar and having no recollection of why you put it there. But you know it’s crucial…that’s what the red circles are for. So you think, really hard about everything that you possibly could have found urgent. And then you ask all the people who you think might have an inkling. When no answers come forth, your search becomes more frantic, less effective.
So before I became completely inefficient, I took a breath to ask for the message to come to me in another way. For life to atleast give me an additional clue. But I don’t see it coming, and I don’t know if the song will somehow abate. What I do know is that when I tell my young ones the story of how life communicates, I’m going to emphasize on how much of it feels like a puzzle. I’m going to reiterate that when you’re not completely ready for the answers you seek, they do come to you, but perhaps they’re in a language you are yet to learn to speak.
Few writers approach writing with the simplicity that is Gibran. When I have children and I seek to imbue in them, a sense of ethics and morality, I shall turn to Gibran for their bedtime stories. His parables are sparsely worded and yet, each one of them carries a far greater wealth of wisdom than your average novel.
Unlike other philosophers that I’ve read, Gibran doesn’t explain his ideas or thoughts. Infact, it wouldn’t be far-fetched for me to say that he doesn’t even state them. He picks up common, everyday occurrences of life and weaves into them, the wisdom of the ages. His ambiguity is what makes him suitable for re-reading. Based on the reader’s current perspective and cognitive abilities the stories can transform from mundaneinstances of life to springboards for analyzing human fallacies and emotions.
Many of his tales in The Wanderer are centered around seeking oneself. Gibran doesn’t stress on how we should focus on understanding ourselves; he simply redirects ones thoughts towards finding oneself. He writes a tale of a child playing hide and seek with his nurse and by the end of the tale, you’re not just smiling at the childish game being played, or remembering instances from your childhood – you’re doing all of that as well as being led down the path of spiritual enlightenment. And that is how Gibran redirects you from a moment in the present to a memory in the past and a pensive future.
The Wanderer also stresses on the abundant human emotions and our inability to distinguishone from the other. He personifies love and sorrow and in less than a hundred words, he tells you their entire story and encapsulates all their ambivalent emotions. He also leads you towards a leap of understanding of how they’re different faces of the same coin.
Gibran doesn’t stress on religion or religious ideas. He stresses on humanity, emotions and the contradictions that exist in the vast spaces of a human mind. He forces you to look within and find the answers that are hidden in the pages. And if that isn’t enough of a commendable endeavour, he tops it off by leaving you calm and at peace with yourself.
Read this when you’re looking forward to hours of musings and introspection. It’s the perfect book for a solitary holiday.