The mystical journey is the greatest undertaking we can ever make, a journey inward into the heart of hearts, the mysterious core of our own being. On this journey we will encounter the depths of the darkness within us, of our fears and failures, and then a light and a love beyond imagining. We are taken by love to love, into the pain, the tenderness and then the unbelievable bliss of oneness with the divine. This is humanity's greatest secret, hidden within each of us.
Since the very beginning there have always been those who are drawn to follow love's calling, to make this impossible journey into the center of the heart. Some of these travellers came to be called Sufis (the name possibly referring to their white woolen garments, sûf, or an indication of their purity of heart, safâ). And some of them have left signposts of their journey—poems and stories of their heart's opening, of the transformations wrought through the power and pain of the love along the mystical way. This little book, following some of those signposts, takes us through some of the stages of the journey on this secret path within the heart.
The poems in these pages point to an unfolding story. In its more familiar form, this is the narrative of the mystical journey that takes us from the experience of separation to the oneness of union with God—a journey, as those who have been taken on this path have told us, that passes through longing, struggle and pain, as well as bliss. But underneath this story lies another less-told one, not about a journey, but about a relationship.
Mystical life can be seen as an unfolding inner relationship between the soul and its Beloved. This relationship is always present, though it is hidden by life's outer activity, by our ego, by the mind and its thoughts. It is a relationship of love: the love affair with the Beloved that is always alive in the core of our being, within the heart of hearts. Its story is the story of the mystic's gradual opening, as she steps into the arena of the heart where this love affair is taking place, into a fuller and fuller experience of the love that is always present.
The poems that follow speak to this inner love affair. They tell of the nearness, the sweetness, as well as the suffering of love. This is the one story of divine love within all that exists, that spins the heart as well as the sun and the stars. And it is also our own intimate love affair, the passion of our own soul.
This book, with its poems and images, is designed to be experienced as a series of meditations, like a medieval book of hours. It is hoped that the reader will allow these meditations to unlock the secret of the hidden story of love they point to, so that once again we can hear what the Beloved is saying, come to know how much we are loved.