The Interfaith Contact Group

The Brighton & Hove Interfaith Contact Group


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Mystical Words to Transport Mind and Spirit

October 21, 2020

As the days get shorter and our freedoms become increasingly curtailed, it seems the perfect time to appreciate the possibilities of venturing far from the comfort of one’s own home, in spirit. Now is the time to allow one’s imagination to run riot with a good book, meditate, daydream while peeling the potatoes or listening to music… or by connecting to the soul with spiritual texts and poetry.


This week’s Words of Connection opens with a magnificent mystical text from The Book of Wisdom, written 50 years before the birth of Christ. It’s Solomon views on the virtues and nature of Wisdom. This is followed by a poem by the Sufi poet Mahmut Shabestari entitled Every Particle of the World is a Mirror. We follow this with two mystical readings from the East. The first comes from The Buddha, and is an observation on the illusory nature of the world. The second is by the Japanese Zen priest Ryushu Shutaku. We close with a poem by Carol Ann Duffy entitled In Your Mind; it’s a perfect reminder of the simple pleasure of daydreaming.

Stay strong, and stay well at this difficult time,

Thank you for your interest and support,

Chair IFCG


Wisdom 7:14

Therefore I prayed, and understanding was given me;
I called upon God, and the spirit of wisdom came to me.
I preferred her to sceptres and thrones,
and I accounted wealth as nothing in comparison with her.
Neither did I liken to her any priceless gem,
because all gold is but a little sand in her sight,
and silver will be accounted as clay before her.
I loved her more than health and beauty,
and I chose to have her rather than light,
because her radiance never ceases.
All good things came to me along with her,
and in her hands uncounted wealth.
I rejoiced in them all, because wisdom leads them;
but I did not know that she was their mother.
I learned without guile and I impart without grudging;
I do not hide her wealth,
for it is an unfailing treasure for men;
those who get it obtain friendship with God,
commended for the gifts that come from instruction.


Wisdom 23: 30

For in her there is a spirit that is intelligent, holy,
unique, manifold, subtle,
mobile, clear, unpolluted,
distinct, invulnerable, loving the good, keen,
irresistible, beneficent, humane,
steadfast, sure, free from anxiety,
all-powerful, overseeing all,
and penetrating through all spirits
that are intelligent and pure and most subtle.
For wisdom is more mobile than any motion;
because of her pureness she pervades and penetrates all things.
For she is a breath of the power of God,
and a pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty;
therefore nothing defiled gains entrance into her.
For she is a reflection of eternal light,
a spotless mirror of the working of God,
and an image of his goodness.
Though she is but one, she can do all things,
and while remaining in herself, she renews all things;
in every generation she passes into holy souls
and makes them friends of God, and prophets;
 for God loves nothing so much as the man who lives with wisdom.
For she is more beautiful than the sun,
and excels every constellation of the stars.
Compared with the light she is found to be superior,
 for it is succeeded by the night,
but against wisdom evil does not prevail.


Mahmoud Shabestari (1288 – 1340)


Every particle of the world is a mirror,
In each atom lies the blazing light of a thousand suns.
Cleave the heart of a
…a hundred pure oceans will flow forth.
Look closely at a grain of sand,
… the seed of a thousand beings can be seen.

The foot of an ant is larger than an elephant;
In essence, a drop of water is no different than the Nile.
In the heart of a barley-corn
… lies the fruit of a hundred harvests;
Within the pulp of a millet seed an entire universe can be found
In the wing of a fly, an ocean of wonder;
In the pupil of an eye, an endless heaven.

Though the inner chamber of the heart is small,
The Lord of both worlds
Gladly makes his home there.


The Buddha (563-483 BC)

Know all things to be like this:
A mirage, a cloud castle,
A dream, an apparition,
Without essence, but with qualities that can be seen.

Know all things to be like this:
As the moon in a bright sky
In some clear lake reflected,
Though to that lake the moon has never moved.

Know all things to be like this:
As an echo that derives
From music, sounds, and weeping,
Yet in that echo is no melody.

Know all things to be like this:
As a magician makes illusions
Of horses, oxen, carts, and other things,
Nothing is as it appears.


Ryushu Shutaku (1308-1388)


I sit at the moon-filled window
Watching the mountains with my ears,
Hearing the stream with open eyes.
Each molecule preaches perfect law:
Each moment chants true sutra:
The most fleeting thought is timeless,
A single hair’s enough to stir the sea.


Carol Ann Duffy


The other country, is it anticipated or half remembered?
Its language is muffled by the rain which falls all afternoon
one autumn in England, and in your
you put aside your work and head for the airport
with a credit card and a warm coat you will leave
on the plane. The past fades like newsprint in the sun.

You know people there. Their faces are
on the wrong side of your eyes. A beautiful boy
in the bar on the harbour serves you to drink – what? –
asks you if men could possibly land on the moon.
A moon like an orange drawn by a child. No.
Never. You watch it peel itself into the sea.

Sleep. The rasp of carpentry wakes you. On the wall,
a painting lost for thirty years renders the room yours.
Of course. You go to your job, right at the old hotel, left,
then left again. You love this job. Apt sounds
mark the passing of the hours. Seagulls. Bells. A flute
practising scales. You swap a coin for a fish on the way home.

Then suddenly you are lost but not lost, dawdling
on the blue bridge, watching six swans vanish
under your feet. The certainty of place turns on the lights
all over town, turns up the scent on the air. For a moment
you are there, in the other country, knowing its name.
And then a desk. A newspaper. A window. English rain.