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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Thirsty Man, the Wall, and the Water

On the bank of a stream there was a high wall
And on top of the wall a sad and thirsty man.
The wall prevented him from reaching the water
That he longed for passionately, like a fish.
Suddenly, he threw a brick into the water -
The sound of the water struck his ears like words
Spoken by a delicious and tender friend...
Because he was so happy hearing the water,
He began to tear down the wall and throw brick after brick.
The sound of the water seemed to be saying,
"What do you think you gain by doing this?"
The thirsty man replied, "I gain two things
And will never stop doing what I'm doing.
The first is that I hear the sound of water
Which is like an oboe to a thirsty man.
This sound's for me like the Angel of death's trumpet -
It awakens life in one who was dead! -
Or like the drum of thunder during the days of spring
That makes the garden bloom in all its glory,
Or like the days of almsgiving for a beggar,
Or the news of his freeing for a prisoner.
The second gain I get from doing what I do
Is that with every brick I tear down and throw
I come closer to the running water.
Every brick I take down makes the wall lower -
Lowering the wall is a way of reaching the water.
Destroying the wall's separation leads to Union."
Tearing off the carefully linked bricks is Prostration -
Didn't God announce, "Prostrate and approach Me?"
As long as the wall stands, it's an obstacle
To the one who bends his head in prayer:
You'll never completely prostrate to the Living Water
While you're not sprung free from the physical body.
The thirstier the man on the top of the wall is,
The quicker he tears down the bricks and tufts of grass.
The more in love with the sound of the water,
The greater are the clumps of brick he tears down.

RUMI

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