When a new year dawns so do fresh hopes and dreams for our life’s journey. Sometimes we renew old vows with ourselves, and establish them not as resolutions but as permanent laws to govern our worldviews and so on. Other times, we choose a different path.
I have decided to do things differently for myself this year. I have set no resolutions. I usually do see them through, (unlike the 30% odd Americans who are said to abandon theirs by the end of January, according to a study done recently by some uppity folks over there) so my decision is not based on fear that I will not fulfil them. Rather, it is because I have one main wish for this year: words and magic.I have been blessed to be able to read many books this summer. I will be doing short reviews for many of them this month, if all goes well. The first I point you to is Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet. I find it appropriate as a first post for this year, as it has so many words and magic that have blessed many generations since it was first published in 1923.
The book begins with the introduction of a prophet, Almusafa, “a dawn unto his own day” (9) and a man who had dwelt amongst the people of Orphalese sharing his wisdom. In this introduction he has his heart set for other lands, but before he leaves, the people of Orphalese approach him with a request to share his pearls with them for the last time. These pearls of wisdom are the focus of The Prophet.
Gibran (1883-1931) was born in Lebanon, and in addition to having the gift of writing, was an artist, philosopher and poet. His words are more than poetic: they are so spiritual in the manner that they are expressed that one cannot but conclude that they are Divine – the soul’s own poetry.
The Prophet is a masterpiece for its timeless wisdom on everything: love, sorrow, time, children, freedom, crime and punishment, just to name a few. Who can forget his beloved words taken from the chapter on children: “Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, And though they are with you yet they belong not to you,” (23) ?
The book also includes drawings done by Gibran. They are as mystical and spellbinding as his words are. I highly recommend it. It deserves a rating of 5/5. One of the most beautiful passages within the book is that on love. It is included below for your reading pleasure. I pray for you to receive your heart’s desires as much as I hope for my own.
To words and magic, words and magic, words, magic, words, magic…
‘When love beckons to you follow him, Though his ways are hard and steep. And when his wings enfold you yield to him, Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you. And when he speaks to you believe in him, Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north winds lay waste the garden. For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning. Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun, So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth. Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself. He threshes you to make you naked. He sifts you to free you from your husks. He grinds you to whiteness. He kneads you until you are pliant; And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred for God’s sacred feast. All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s heart. But if in your fear you should seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure, Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor, Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears. Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself. Love possesses not nor would it be possessed; For love is sufficient unto love. When you love you should not say, “God is in my heart,” but rather, “I am in the heart of God.” And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course. Love has no other desire but to fulfil itself. But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires: To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night. To know the pain of too much tenderness. To be wounded by your own understanding of love; And to bleed willingly and joyfully. Wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving; To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy; To return home at eventide with gratitude; And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.”
– Khalil Gibran, The Prophet