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Ramadan is in the minds and lives of so many, and will remain so until Sunday May 24th. For this reason we open with an amazing poem by Rumi (Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī) about Ramadan. Written about 800 years ago, it’s as fresh as if it was written today.
Also a radiant and lyrical work called Whistling Swans, by Mary Oliver… it includes more than a nod to Rumi. You will find A Prayer at a Time of Fasting, and some offerings from The Buddhist Order of Interbeing.
This week we are also giving you a link to a delightful cartoon (intended for children) sent to us by Ruth Urbanovicz, IFCG supporter and acclaimed organic gardener. It’s a film is entitled Laudato Si, and contains an environmental message from Pope Francis: Here’s the link:
Stay in touch, stay well. We truly hope that you find some comfort in Words of Connection.
RUMI ON RAMADAN
O moon-faced Beloved,
the month of Ramadan has arrived.
Cover the table
and open the path of praise.
O fickle busybody,
it’s time to change your ways.
Can you see the one who’s selling the halvah—
how long will it be the halvah you desire?
Just a glimpse of the halvah-maker
has made you so sweet even honey says,
“I’ll put myself beneath your feet, like soil;
I’ll worship at your shrine.”
Your chick frets within the egg
with all your eating and choking.
Break out of your shell that your wings may grow.
Let yourself fly.
The lips of the Master are parched
from calling the Beloved.
The sound of your call resounds
through the horn of your empty belly.
Let nothing be inside of you.
Be empty: give your lips to the lips of the reed.
When like a reed you fill with His breath,
then you’ll taste sweetness.
Sweetness is hidden in the Breath
that fills the reed.
Be like Mary – by that sweet breath
a child grew within her.
Do you bow your head when you pray or do you look
up into that blue space?
Take your choice, prayers fly from all directions.
And don’t worry about what language you use,
God no doubt understands them all.
Even when the swans are flying north and making
such a ruckus of noise, God is surely listening
Rumi said, There is no proof of the soul.
But isn’t the return of spring and how it
springs up in our hearts a pretty good hint?
Yes, I know, God’s silence never breaks, but is
that really a problem?
There are thousands of voices, after all.
And furthermore, don’t you imagine (I just suggest it)
that the swans know about as much as we do about
the whole business?
So listen to them and watch them, singing as they fly.
Take from it what you can.
PRAYER AT A TIME OF FASTING
This is a moment of prayer
For those who experience hunger…
By faith or circumstance.
May that hunger pass
May the spirit of surrender
Be a stepping stone
To a moment of discovery
On the journey of life.
May compassion and sacrifice
Be companions to us all
And when the journey is made
May the ways of those gentle paths
So we can learn to trust…
That in life and death…
There is always love…
Love without end.
FROM THE ORDER OF INTERBEING
The Order of Interbeing is an international Buddhist community of monks, nuns and laypeople in the Plum Village Tradition founded between 1964 and 1966 by Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thích Nhất Hạnh.
What if our religion was each other. If our practice was our life. If prayer, our words. What if the temple was the Earth. If forests were our church. If holy water – the rivers, lakes, and ocean. What if meditation was our relationships. If the teacher was life. If wisdom was self-knowledge. If love was the centre of our being. Ganga White
A gatha is a verse recited (usually mentally, not aloud) in rhythm with the breath as part of mindfulness practice, either in daily life, or as part of meditation or meditative study.
The mind can go in a thousand directions.
But on this beautiful path, I walk in peace.
With each step, a cool wind blows.
With each step, a flower blossoms.
Thích Nhất Hạnh