A Serving of Dervish

Sufi whirling (or Sufi spinning) is a form of Sama or physically active meditation. Its origins are to be found in the practice of Sufi Dervishes of the Mevlevi order.

Darwīš is a spiritual guide of the Sufi Muslim ascete along their chosen path or Tariqah and are renowned for their extreme humility in austere poverty.

Several months ago, I received a manuscript from a prominent, award-winning English poet. His disillusion with the mainstream publishing status quo is palpable in our conversations and I offered to read a new collection rejected by his current publisher with the claim that there is a lack of funding.

The writing is light, yet not. The mood intimate and free of sentimentality and is everything his previous collections are not; public ownership of his heritage and identity. The poems play and pay tender homage to his Muslim background and speak with unapologetic joy and pride to its lessons in humanity. It is, in short, the very essence of a collection that will have standard poetry publishes running for the hills. It has me, in its stillness and quiet joy, with no intention of running.

And similarly, I have no intention of running from the sinister dark shadowy implicit accusations shaping the air around me here on Medium in recent days. I cannot own the paranoia of others. I can however own my intentions, my motives, my reasons for doing and choosing to celebrate the talents of others in ways of my choosing. What I will not own are the suspicious reactions that have sprung from nowhere: I am somehow predatory, or worse, a troll. I’ve had a pretty Dadaist year so far, but this takes Absurd beyond itself.

Being the recipient of whirling of negative notions grounded in nothing at all, is quite extraordinary and that it occurs at this particular point in my brand new journey as a spiritual guide, is beyond co-incidental and serendipitous. I can call it nothing but a beautiful lesson of insight about assumptions and today, instead of frustration, I feel an expanse of gratitude.

On the evening of this past Sunday, August 14th, in the midst of this unfurling Medium upheaval, I stood in the deepening midnight, and from my high rise vantage point, waited for the falling of Perseids’ stars. A bright glow with its own luminescent tail brushed low across the sky, just above the line of forest capping the nearby hillside. This came from that moment:

Bitter lemons and dark words to guess the woodwork grain

of moons, long lost beneath our tongues. Of willow woods

and cedar bark that hum their secretive tunes, deep to the lilt

of the breeze across the dips and bows of lilac hands; the old

red star beckons me back to our ancient dance. His fire now stilled

in blue and hues of who we used to be together: Your star, so bright

and clear, just fell across my horizon of dark trees to the musky rise

of the August moon, into long desires of languid suns, to all of which

we live, obliviously.

Osho spoke of enlightenment as a state that cannot be undone. I live in service of its ‘undo-able’ light, unapologetically, in gratitude and with humour, love and joy.

I choose to keep my Medium door open to sincerity. I am not shaped by suspicion and fear.

As for the poetry collection by the British poet, my admiration for his work notwithstanding, I adore this assemblage of poetic vignettes and will do what it takes to publish it, however fledgling, my independent press.