Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Authentic Gift

I purchased “The Gift, Poems by Hafiz” translations by Daniel Ladinsky recently. I had for years been a fan, picking up stray poems here and there; I don’t know why I wasn’t prompted to buy one of the Hafiz books.

But I have it now, and love it. Even if

It
Makes me
Think
In a peculiar sort of
Rhythm and
Meter.

It puts my thoughts into a Hafiz-type meter, and even the words of my thoughts themselves seem affected.

I can’t read Hafiz
Without Weeping
I say to
Myself

Somehow,
These Words
Reach me on another level
My box of
Emotions
Opens wide

It is not so much
That I
Read
These poems
As I
Feel
Them.

I know there are those who quibble with Daniel Ladinsky’s interpretations (for interpretations are what he calls them, not translations); they say they are not authentic to the original.

To which I say, “Who cares?”

I respond to the words themselves, not to who wrote them.

A few years ago, many people fell in love with this:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

It was often incorrectly attributed to Nelson Mandela. Truth is, it was written by Marianne Williamson in A Return to Love. Oh, but it had so much more value when people thought it was written by Mandela!

I’ve seen the same happen over Oriah Mountain Dreamer. When they thought the writings were written by an old Indian man, they were treasures. But then they found out Oriah was a white middle class mom … oh no!

Phhbt, I say. Like the words or dislike the words for themselves.

And back into The Gift I go.

2 comments:

Elizabeth said...

A fair number of years ago, we used the Williamson words in our church's Coming of Age service. Listening to those words read by 8th and 9th graders was a wonderful experience. More than one person asked "Who is this Williamson? That was a marvelous reading." For our congregation, the words mattered quite well on their own.

Green Sufi said...

Amen Amen Amen!