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Within The Heart Of Hearts

A Story Of Mystical Love


Within the Heart of Hearts A story of mystical love

LLEWELLYN VAUGHAN-LEE


CONTENT INTRODUCTION 1. SEARCHING

2.

LOVE’S CALLING

3. LONGING 4. THE OPENING OF THE HEART 5.

THE BELOVED IS WAITING

6.

THE SOUL AWAKENS

7.

LIFE CALLS TO THE SOUL

8.

THE SOUL’S LOVE AFFAIR

9. THE DARKNESS OF LOVE 10. MYSTICAL ONENESS 11. OPENING THE EYE OF THE HEART 12. LOVE’S ECSTASY 13. LIFE’S LOVE AFFAIR 14. BEING ATTENTIVE TO LOVE 15.A TRUE HUMAN BEING 16. LOVE’S CARAVAN


INTRODUCTION The mystical journey is the greatest undertaking we can

ever make, a journey inward into the heart of hearts, the mysterious core of our own being. On this journey we will encounter the depths of the darkness within us, of our fears and failures, and then a light and a love beyond imagining. We are taken by love to love, into the pain, the tenderness and then the unbelievable bliss of oneness with the divine. This is humanity’s greatest secret, hidden within each of us. Since the very beginning there have always been those who are drawn to follow love’s calling, to make this impossible journey into the center of the heart. Some of these travellers became called Sufis (the name possibly referring to their white woolen garments, sûf, or an indication of their purity of heart, safâ). And some of them have left signposts of their journey, poems and stories of their heart’s opening, of the transformations wrought through the power and pain of the love along the mystical way. This little book, following some of those signposts, takes us through some of the stages of the journey on this secret path within the heart. The poems in these pages point to an unfolding story. In its more familiar form, this is the narrative of the mystical journey that takes us from the experience of separation to the oneness of union with God—a journey, as those who have been taken on this path have told us, that passes


through longing, struggle and pain, as well as bliss. But underneath this story lies another, less-told one, not about a journey, but about a relationship. Mystical life can be seen as an unfolding inner relationship between the soul and its Beloved. This relationship is always present, though it is hidden by life’s outer activity, by our ego, by the mind and its thoughts. It is a relationship of love: the love affair with the Beloved that is always alive in the core of our being, within the heart of hearts. Its story is the story of the mystic’s gradual opening, as she steps into the arena of the heart where this love affair is taking place, into a fuller and fuller experience of the love that is always present. The poems that follow speak to this inner love affair. They tell of the nearness, the sweetness as well as the suffering of love. This is the one story of divine love within all that exists, that spins the heart as well as the sun and the stars. And it is also our own intimate love affair, the passion of our own soul. This book, with its poems and images, is designed to be experienced as a series of meditations, like a medieval book of hours. It is hoped that the reader will allow these meditations to unlock the secret of the hidden story of love they point to, so that once again we can hear what the Beloved is saying, come to know how much we are loved.


SEARCHING


We

are all of us searching for love, for the intimacy, closeness, tenderness we may remember from when we were in our mother’s arms or may have glimpsed in a lover’s embrace. Or we may know it just as a sense of something we always wanted, something missing from our life. This love is at the core of our being, and yet we search for it everywhere, so often causing our self pain in the process, losing our way, becoming entangled in our desires and all our images of love. Then, one day, something makes us turn away from the outer world to seek this truth within us. It could be a painful tragedy, the loss of a loved one, or just a deep feeling that there must be more to life than the play of outer events, than the buying and selling we call life. Though we may not recognize it yet, love has taken hold of us. In the end a person tires of everything except heart’s desiring soul’s journeying sultan, saint, pickpocket; love has everyone by the ear dragging us to God by secret ways I never knew that God, too, desires us Rumi1


Whatever form it takes, our search for love always begins with love’s calling, a calling that comes us from the depths of our own self—even if we seem to hear it from the outer world. Love calls us to come Home, back to where we really belong. But how many roads must we first travel until we turn to look within our own heart, where our Beloved is whispering our name? It is only much later that we realize our Beloved was always with us, nearer to us than we ever knew.

And He is with you with you in your search when you seek Him look for Him in your looking closer to you than yourself to yourself. Rumi2


LOVE'S CALLING


Love calls to us in so many ways. It draws us away from the outer world with its attractions and entanglements, into a lifetime’s search for union with the divine that is waiting within our own heart.

Because we are each unique, we will experience this calling in our own unique and special way. But however it happens, the journey Home always begins because we are called, because we are desired, because we are needed. We never set out on the mystical journey from our own intention. It always begins as a response to love, to the call of our Beloved. Our longing comes always in answer to the Beloved’s longing for us. By his own powers no one can find the way that leads to Him; Whoever walks towards Him walks with His foot. Until the beam of His love shines out to guide the soul, It does not set out to behold the love of His Face. My heart feels not the slightest attraction towards Him Until an attraction comes from Him and works upon my heart. Since I learnt that He longs for me, longing for Him never leaves me for an instant. Maghribî 3


LONGING


Longing

is the pain of separation awakened within the heart. The Beloved knocks on the door of our heart and calls to us to return Home. Then nothing in life seems quite right; we feel something missing but we do not know what. A dull ache begins to force itself upon our attention. Slowly the outer world loses its attraction, and it starts to dawn upon us that we want something else. Then the spiritual search begins. We meditate, pray, aspire, look for a teacher, and as we do so the ache in the heart starts to burn; the longing grows. The more we aspire, the more we blow upon the flames in the heart. The tears that we cry are the homesickness of the soul, and these tears point out the path. Longing is the feminine side of love—the cup waiting to be filled. Love has a masculine side, “I love you,” and a feminine side, “I am waiting for you. I need you.” Sadly our culture has forgotten this doorway of devotion, and the lover is often left stranded, not ever knowing the real nature and purpose of the longing that tugs at the heart. It is easy to think that this discontent of the soul is a psychological problem or the result of an unhappy relationship. But the Sufi knows this pain is the sweetness of love’s poison, and is often the most direct way Home, as it bypasses the mind and all of its distractions and arguments. It is a call direct to the heart.


Rabi‘a, one of the first Sufi mystics to stress the love that exists between the mystic and God, knew the potency of this pain, and the one cure for it: The source of my grief and loneliness is deep in my breast. This is a disease no doctor can cure. Only union with the Friend can cure it. Rabi‘a4


THE

OPENINING OF THE

HEART


Love and longing open the heart. This is one of the mysteries

of the mystic way, how our heart is awakened by our Beloved by both the sweetness of a lover’s touch and the sorrow of love’s seeming absence. Long before there were Sufis, the lovers of God experienced and wrote of how the Beloved knocks on the door of the heart, how love’s presence and then absence entwine to make us cry out to our Beloved from the very depths of our being. This most primal cry of the heart, this love-sickness, is what draws us back Home.

I sleep but my heart waketh: it is the voice of my beloved that knocketh, saying, Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled: for my head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night.... I rose up to open to my beloved; and my hands dropped with myrrh, and my fingers with sweet smelling myrrh, upon the handles of the lock… I opened to my beloved; but my beloved had withdrawn himself, and was gone: my soul failed when he spake: I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer. The watchmen that went about the city found me, they smote me, they wounded me; the keepers of the walls took away my veil from me.


I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if ye find my beloved, that ye tell him, that I am sick of love. The Song of Solomon5


THE BELOVED IS WAITING


Full of the soul’s homesickness, we search for our Beloved.

Everywhere, we look for love, until one day a door within the heart opens and we discover that our Beloved was always present within, waiting for us. The minute I heard my first love story I started looking for you, not knowing how blind that was. Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere. They’re in each other all along. Rumi6 Then begins a love affair more intimate than we could even imagine. So often, all one wants is to turn away from the world and go within one’s heart to where the Beloved is waiting. O God, the stars are shining: All eyes have closed in sleep; The kings have locked their doors. Each lover is alone, in secret, with the one he loves. And I am here too: alone, hidden from all of them— With You. Rabi‘a


Having an inner relationship with the Beloved is one of

the secrets of the mystical journey. This is very foreign to our extrovert, rational culture. But the mystic discovers that what develops within the heart is the most real and intimate relationship one can ever have. In all other relationships one’s lover or partner is another person—however close, there is still a quality of separation. But mystical love is a love affair that happens on the inside—one’s Beloved is within one’s own heart. This is the terrible and beautiful vulnerability of the mystic, and part of the power of this divine love affair. How can one resist the intimacy of such a lover, or the suffering when we cannot feel its presence? This is the secret that burns within the heart of the lover: Love whispered a secret in my ear, now my mind is a fugitive, and my heart nowhere to be found in this ocean of pain. “My secret will be a secret,” the Friend said. “Your bloodied shirt no one will see, when the heart bleeds.” “No one will wake with your moan late at night, the smoke from your heart, burning in this fire, no one will detect.” Abu Sa‘id


Through the passion and power of this love, we are gradually

taken deeper and deeper to the root of our being— from the fleeting world of the ego into the eternal reality of the soul. The real love affair that awakens within us is actually that of the soul with God. God loves the soul and the soul loves God.


THE SOUL AWAKENS


Love

and the desire for love awaken the soul. We may think that it is the ego, the “I,� that awakens and begins the journey. But the Sufis have always known the deeper truth that it is the soul itself that awakens. This is one of the most joyous events that can ever happen to us, as the soul awakens from the dream of life into the spiritual dimension of its real nature. What is this precious love and laughter Budding in our hearts? It is the glorious sound Of a soul waking up! Hafiz7

In our daily life, and even in our images of the spiritual path, we are completely identified with our ego, the sense we have of our own separate, individual self. But this self is only a small part of what it means to be a human being, and there comes a moment on the journey when the spark of divine light that has been hidden within the heart ignites and the soul wakes up. This is our divine nature, our real Self, the true wonder of our being—the real spiritual journey, the real transformation, belongs to it. It is the soul that is called back to God, the soul that makes the return journey.


The soul is the lover, the real wayfarer on the path; you and I are just a small participant in this great mystery. And once the soul is awakened our whole being is filled with the joy of being completely alive.


LIFE CALLS TO THE SOUL


When

the soul wakes up our life changes completely. I remember the moment when this happened to me, the moment I awoke from the grey world of my upbringing into a joy and light that I had not even known existed. It was the same world and yet completely different—the sunlight sparkled on the water of the river near where I lived, the songs of the birds and the colors of the flowers were vibrant and full of light. I had never experienced the world like this. It was all speaking to me, calling to me, wanting to be seen and heard. This was a world that was a miracle, and it was present all around me, every moment of the day. Both I and the world were awake. Once the heart is awakened and you glimpse this continual miracle, you know the Beloved is calling to you, not just within your own heart, but also in all the colors and fragrances of creation, in the beauty that divine love has created, the wonder that we call the Earth. Then the only question is, why have we forgotten? Why did we go to sleep and miss this constant revelation? Why have we not been hearing the voice of our Beloved since the moment we were born into this world? This presence was always there, has always been within and all around us, secretly calling us towards union.


Dearly beloved! 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 hear me? Why? Why? Why? Ibn ‘ArabĂŽ 8


THE SOUL‘S LOVE AFFAIR


The essence of this journey is a love affair, a love affair

between the soul and God. It embraces the whole world, and yet nothing is more intimate, because our Beloved is so near to us, “nearer to you than yourself… than your breath.” Love is the primal source that purifies and transforms us, that draws us always towards union. But it is important to recognize that this is not the love we know from our relationships and personal longings. This love is a fire that burns us, a passion that purifies and then destroys us. Sometimes in a human relationship we may taste for a moment the depths of such a love, its ecstasy and its danger. But divine love is all- consuming; in it we lose everything, all images or any sense we may have of our self. Everything we think or believe to be of value is destroyed, dissolved, lost. It is a love affair that begins with a kiss, a kiss that tastes like wine and intoxicates the soul. Through this kiss our heart is opened. And so begins the ancient process of the annihilation that frees us from the false self, the limitations of the ego and personality. The lover has only herself to offer, and this is love’s sole demand: that we lose our self, allow our self to be taken completely and utterly. Mystical love is no idealized romance, but a real passion that requires total commitment, a total giving of oneself to an unknown, invisible Beloved.


subtle degrees of domination and servitude are what you know as love but love is different it arrives complete just there like the moon in the window desire only that of which you have no hope seek only that of which you have no clue love is the sea of not-being and there intellect drowns this is not the Oxus river or some little creek this is the shoreless sea; here swimming ends always in drowning a million galaxies are a little scum on that shoreless sea. Rumi9


THE

DARKNESS OF LOVE


“Nothing is possible in love without death,” says the Sufi. The soul’s love for God frees us from our self, and yet this freedom can seem like death, as we die to the person we think we are. Again and again we die to our limited sense of self in order to step into the vaster dimension of our being. This dying is what separates those who want security and stability from those who are reckless, crazy or driven enough to venture into the depths. What security is there for us here in her caravanserai when every moment camel bells cry, “Pack up the loads!”? The dark night, the fear of waves, the terrifying whirlpool, how can they know of our state, those who go lightly along the shore? Hafiz10

In the darkness evoked by divine love we encounter all of our fears and vulnerabilities, as our values and beliefs are dissolved or shattered. Those who are destined to live from the mystical core of their being live in a terrifying vulnerability.


This is the vulnerability of the heart—of living with the unknown and unknowable presence of the divine. The soul’s beloved is not a lover who likes to be defined or caught in any image. This is a lover who draws us ever deeper, pushes us always into the beyond, with a love that can be as violent and destructive, as it can be tender and comforting. Who will continue on this journey? Only the foolhardy, perhaps, the naive, and the desperate. Only the soldiers of the heart’s fortune and the shameless women of love’s bazaar. In love’s marketplace we are bought and sold, our most precious possessions scattered and deemed worthless. Drunken and desolate, intoxicated and helpless, we are taken by love to love. Addicted to longing, hungry for what is Real, we know neither our self nor the chaos that awaits us. We like to think we are spiritual seekers, lovers, wayfarers, but when we give our self away without conditions we have no name, for what is there to name? This is the dark side of mystical love that is an abyss beyond any name or place: You are a placeless fire All places burn away in, A whirlpool of Nowhere Drowning me deeper, deeper. Rumi11


MYSTICAL ONENESS


From within the darkness of this abyss, this place of terrible

desolation, the secret of mystical oneness is born. When we are stripped bare of any sense of self, even any image of the path, we come to experience the simple truth of love’s oneness: lover and Beloved are one. We were always one with our Beloved, though this knowledge was hidden from us. This is the primal truth within the heart: there is only love. In the Persian love story of Laylâ and Majnun, Majnun is made desolate and destroyed by his love for the unobtainable Laylâ, until he cares only for love and wanders the desert speaking his poems to the wind, emptied him of everything, even himself:

Who do you think I am? A drunkard? A love-sick fool, a slave of my senses, made senseless by desire? Understand: I have risen above all that, I am the King of Love in majesty. My soul is purified from the darkness of lust, my longing purged of low desire, my mind free from shame. I have broken the teeming bazaar of the senses in my body. Love is the essence of my being. Love is fire and I am wood burnt by the flame.


Love has moved in and adorned the house, my self tied up its bundle and left. You imagine that you see me, but I no longer exist: what remains is the beloved... Nizami12

Rumi, for whom the wandering dervish, Shams of Tabriz, was the sun that illumined and burned him, says the same in different words:

Love has come and it flows like blood beneath my skin, through my veins. It has emptied me of my self and filled me with the Beloved. The Beloved has penetrated every cell of my body. Of myself there remains only a name, everything else is Him. Rumi13


OPENING THE EYE OF THE HEART


The Sufis call awakening to the awareness of divine unity

“opening the eye of the heart.” When the eye of the heart is open the world reveals itself in a whole new way. If the eye of your heart is open In each atom there will be one hundred secrets. ‘Attâr And underlying all those secrets is the unity of divine love that is present within all of creation, now visible to the awakened heart. While our two eyes see the world of duality and separation, the heart sees the unity, the oneness of love that is all around us. With the eye of the heart, the lover comes to know the secret of divine oneness: that everything is the Beloved.

The existence of the beggar is His existence and the existence of the sick is His existence. Now when this is admitted, it is acknowledged that this existence is His existence and that the existence of all created things is His existence, and when the secret of one atom of the atom is clear, the secret of all created things, both outward and inward, is clear, you do not see in this world or the next, anything except God.

Ibn ‘Arabî


LOVE’S ECSTASY


Love lifts the veils that hide the reality of God’s living

presence within and around us. Within the heart of the lover lies the truth that there is nothing other than the Beloved. All sense of a separate self, the “I” upon which we built our whole life, is an illusion. It is lost, gone, abandoned on the shores of unity. The oneness of love dissolves us more and more, as, journeying deeper into the heart, we die again and again, and discover, instead of our self, a vast ocean of divine love that is ever more intoxicating. This inner world is an ocean without form, an emptiness, a silence deeper than any sound. From this source within our hearts love pours out of nothingness into being—“we come spinning out of nothingness scattering stars like dust” (Rumi)—exploding into the many forms of existence and yet remaining one, while endlessly and in every moment flowing back to the formless ocean of love that is its source. Through the eye of the heart the lover can see that the whole world is an ecstatic dance of love, because all of the universe is a love affair. Every atom is a lover longing for its Beloved, spinning in love, being the Beloved.


Oh daylight arise! Atoms are dancing, Souls lost in ecstasy, are dancing‌. They are all like madmen; each atom, happy or miserable Is passionate for the Sun of which nothing can be said. -Rumi 14

For the mystic, this ecstatic love affair that belongs to all creation takes place within the heart. From the first sip of the wine of love, our heart has been turned and turned, until we too are bewildered, intoxicated, drowned in love, knowing only the existence of our Beloved in the inner and outer worlds.


I am Without body and soul For He is One only Beloved First and Last Inward and Outward ‌. I drained this cup; there is nothing now but ecstatic annihilation were I ever other than this I regret being born ‌. O, Shams, I am so drunk! what can I say, but I am so drunk on love Rumi15


LIFE’S LOVE AFFAIR


Taken out of our self, we have been drawn into the mysteries

of love that are the home of the mystic. We have been called by love so that love can reveal its secret nature. When we return from these states of oneness, of intoxication, we regain the sense of a separate self—it is impossible to live in this world without it. But this “I” is fundamentally changed, and even amidst the dramas and demands of life we know in our heart that we are the oneness of love. And the love we come to experience is not a static state. It is ever-changing, sometimes annihilating all sense of our self in a void that can never be named, sometimes claiming us in the sweet tenderness of intimacy with a touch within the heart that reminds us of our love’s nearness, sometimes drawing us into the ecstasy of love’s embrace. Or it might reveal itself in the many forms of the outer world, in the eyes of a stranger, in a child playing in the park—in every single moment love is offering itself to us in one of life’s thousand colors, always new, always fresh. Our Beloved comes to meet us in so many ways, each different and yet always one. And in this never-ending meeting with the Beloved we come to know ourselves in a new way, as a part of this great love affair, this unfolding of divine love into being.


The world is no more than the Beloved’s single face; In the desire of the One to know its own beauty, we exist. Each place, each moment, sings its particular song of not-being and being. ... Without reason, the clear glass equally mirrors wisdom and madness. Those who claim knowledge are wrong; prayer just leads to trance; Appearance and faith are mere lees in the Unknowing Wine. Wherever the Footprint is found, that handful of dust holds the oneness of worlds. This earth, burnished by hearing the Name, is so certain of Love That the sky bends unceasingly down, to greet its own light. Ghalib16


BEING

ATTENTIVE TO LOVE


What remains of the mystic, of the lover who has been

lost in this love? When our heart has been opened, the soul awakened, love’s call answered so completely, who is left? The Sufis say that after the state of oneness comes the station of servanthood. Something remains of the lover to be in service to the Beloved. This is then the work of the mystic—to follow the path of surrender and servanthood. I do not ask to see I do not ask to know I ask only to be used Sufi Prayer There are many forms of service, many ways to be used by love. But in our outer world of doing and action we often forget the simple work of just being inwardly attentive to love, just being here for the sake of the One who has claimed our heart.

Verily there are servants among my servants who love Me, and I love them, and they long for Me, and I long for them and they look at Me, and I look at them . . . Al- Ghazzali17


It is through this bond of love, and the simple inner attention of the heart, that the servant comes to know the needs of the Beloved, and how to instinctively act in service:

There was a ruler who had a servant for whom he cared more than his other servants; none of them was more valuable or more handsome than this one. The ruler was asked about this, so he wanted to make clear to them the superiority of this servant over others in service. One day he was riding with his entourage. In the distance was a snow-capped mountain. The ruler looked at that snow and bowed his head. The servant galloped off on his horse. The people did not know why he galloped off. In a short time he came back with some snow, and the ruler asked him, “How did you know I wanted snow?” The servant replied, “Because you looked at it, and the look of the sultan comes only with firm intention.” So the ruler said, “I accord him special favor and honor, because for every person there is an occupation, and his occupation is observing my glances and watching my states of being attentively.” Al- Ghazzali


A TRUE HUMAN BEING


The journey, this greatest of all adventures that has taken

us from separation to union, back to our real home, back to love, has drawn us deep within the heart, into its most secret chamber, what the Sufis call “the heart of hearts.” There, in the home of love’s most hidden secrets, we have lost all sense of our self in the primal knowing that we and all creation are one with our Beloved, and that all that exists springs from a formless inner emptiness vaster than our mind can ever grasp. Here in the heart’s home lies the very Truth of our existence, a Truth that cannot be named and yet belongs everywhere, is the center, the core of all that exists. And love itself has taken us here, into the heart of hearts, to reveal what was hidden. And love also returns us to the world. After that immersion in the boundless ocean of love, we come back to our lives, to the illusion of our separate existence. But we have been changed beyond anything we could have imagined. So much has been lost, left behind on the shores of this love. And yet, paradoxically, we have discovered there what it means to be alive, to be a real human being. This is the promise of divine love, the intoxicating wine that awakens the soul and takes us home. Amidst the ordinariness of everyday life, this is the great gift we can share.


Strive to become the true human being: one who knows love, one who knows pain. Be full, be humble, be utterly silent, be the bowl of wine passed from hand to hand. Al-Ansâri18


LOVE’S

CARAVAN


The

path of love belongs to our human heritage. For centuries, in different parts of the world, human beings have walked this ancient path, have felt the pain and bliss of divine love. It is said that once you have tasted just one sip of divine love, you will want nothing for the rest of your life but to have another sip, and another… It is the most intoxicating substance that exists, because it goes directly to the soul, reminding us of our real nature. Love is the greatest power in creation, and it takes us home within our own heart where the Beloved is always waiting for us. There, within us, we discover that this love, this divine presence, is also all around us. It is beyond all forms and yet within every form of existence. Every atom is spinning on an axis of love, every particle in creation is alive with love. This love is our essence and the essence of all creation; it is the oneness that underlies and animates all. We need nothing more than to follow love’s path. My heart has become capable of every form: It is a pasture for gazelles, And a monastery for Christian monks, And a temple for idols, And the Ka’aba of the pilgrims, And the tablets of the Torah, And the book of the Qur’an. I follow the religion of Love: Whatever path Love’s camel takes, That is my religion and my faith. Ibn ‘Arabî


EPILOGUE: THE CLOSED CIRCLE OF LOVE


Our inner relationship with God, the Beloved, belongs to

life’s esoteric mystery. Within his or her own heart the mystic discovers the intimacy, nearness, tenderness of the Source of all that exists. The same Power that creates the sun and the stars is present within us, as a friend, a companion, a lover. This inner presence loves and knows us, and draws us ever closer into the oneness that is love’s nature. At the beginning, when we first hear this calling, we can hardly believe the existence of such a lover. We may read stories and poems, feel longing, but God or the Beloved still seems like a distant idea. We search and struggle, meditate and pray, until this idea becomes a living reality. And then one day we may discover for ourselves that At the beginning I was mistaken in four respects. I concerned myself to remember God, to know Him, to love Him and to seek Him. When I had come to the end I saw that He had remembered me before I remembered Him, that His knowledge of me had preceded my knowledge of Him, that His love towards me had existed before my love to Him and He had sought me before I sought Him. Bayazid BistamÎ


The simple truth is that we were always loved and sought. Even our longing was just a reflection of the Beloved’s longing for us. Life in all its forms was also calling to us, seeking us, reminding us of this love affair. For the Sufi, spiritual awakening is an awakening to this great love affair, this primal passion that is at the core of all that exists. And all we have to do is to listen, to hear love’s calling and in response to allow our self to be taken—to love and be loved. Then we discover the closed circle of love: that this love was always present just as oneness is always present. All we ever want is to be with our Beloved, to be merged deeper and deeper into union. This is love’s mystical gift that takes our soul to the placeless place that we call Truth.


Dearly beloved! 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 hear me? Why? Why? Why? For you my delights surpass all other delights, And the pleasure I procure you surpasses all other pleasures. For you I am preferable to all other good things, 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.


Dearly beloved! 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.


Dearly beloved! 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 For ever. Ibn ‘ArabĂŽ 19.


(Endnotes) 1

Rûmî, translated by Daniel Liebert, Rumi, Fragments, Ecstasies, p. 17.

2 Rûmî, “A Thief in the Night,” trans. Peter Lamborn Wilson and Nasrollah Pourjavady in The Drunken Universe, p. 105. (Catching the Thread, p. 30). 3

Maghribî , quoted by Cyprian Rice, The Persian Sufis, p. 79.

4

Rabia, Trans. Charles Upton.

5

Song of Songs, 5: 2, 5, 7, 8.

6

Essential Rumi, p. 106.

7

Hafiz, trans. Daniel Ladinsky, The Gift, p. 19.

8

Ibn ‘Arabi, Catching the Thread, p. 143-5

9

Trans. Daniel Liebert, Rumi, Fragments, Ecstasies.

10

Hafiz, Aspen White Cloud Press. Gray, E. (1995). The Green Sea of Heaven. 

11

Rumi, Light Upon Light, Andrew Harvey, p. 173.

12

Catching the Thread, p. 178.

13

Travelling the Path of Love, Union, p. ?.

14

Rumi, trans. Andrew Harvey, The Mystic Vision, p. 144.

15

Rumi, Fragments, Ecstasies, p. 61-62.


15

Rumi, Fragments, Ecstasies, p. 61-62.

16 Trans. Jane Hirschfield, The Enlightened Heart, ed. Stephen Mitchell. 17

Travelling the Path of Love, p. 132.

18

Travelling the Path of Love, p. 108.

19

Ibn ‘Arabi, Catching the Thread, p. 143-5

Within The Heart of Hearts by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee  

A Story of Mystical Love Within the Heart of Hearts is a journey into the mystical secrets of the heart. Designed to be read like a medieval...

Within The Heart of Hearts by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee  

A Story of Mystical Love Within the Heart of Hearts is a journey into the mystical secrets of the heart. Designed to be read like a medieval...

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