The day started with a dialogue on Love and Death with my dear friend, Deepa Gulrukh Patel, the International Coordinator of the Sufi Order and a brilliant teacher. I opened with a story I learned from Reb Zalman and his wife, Eve Ilsen, called “The Source of Beauty,” which explores the themes of love and death. The dialogue was oriented around the following poem by Hazrat Inayat Khan, beloved by both of us:
I have loved in life, and I have been loved. I have drunk the bowl of poison from the hands of love as nectar, and have been raised above life’s joy and sorrow. My heart, aflame in love, set afire every heart that came in touch with it. My heart has been rent and joined again; my heart has been broken and again made whole; my heart has been wounded and healed again; a thousand deaths my heart has died, and thanks be to love, it lives yet. I went through hell and saw there love’s raging fire, and I entered heaven illumined with the light of love.
— Hazrat Inayat Khan, “Alankaras,” Vadan
In the evening, I headed down Chairfactory Road to an informal get together with some of the younger murids at the home of the Abode's director, Alia Wittman.
It was a great evening, the best of my trip, so far. This is where I want to be—talking informally about Sufism and what matters to people over pizza and dessert! Is there anything better?