Unconditional Love, Kabir, and Rumi's Tavern This is simply a quick note to say that I genuinely appreciated Mark's sentiments..... My favorite poet is Rumi and he often argued that no matter what we may say intellectually, life is lived mostly (and most magnificiently) through the heart, through love. I think if we can confront contradiction and paradox directly and still love (openly, but not blindly; maturely, but not naively) someone and something without rationalization, without ideological work (in sum, just love regardless of conditions), then life can be truly lived to its fullest.... It may also be that spirituality begins precisely when we have accepted the contradiction and not tried to sweep it under the proverbial carpet...... And like Rumi, we may fly on those very wings of intellect and rationality upon the carpet of direct experience..... It reminds me of the classic story that is often told of Kabir and his chief disciple, Dharam Das. The following is a paraphrased version: One day Kabir wanted to test his disciples (to see who really loved him, versus some "image" of him), so he walked directly with a bottle of colored water that looked like wine to a bad section in town. Kabir was acting drunk and going to a prostitute's house! One by one his disciples left him, some muttering to themselves, "Our Master has gone off the path." All of his disciples left him because they thought that their master was a fraud. Except for one disciple, that is..... Dharam Das. Kabir goes into the prostitute's house and spends the night (the story says nothing went on), only to wake-up the next morning and see nobody but Dharam Das. Kabir inquired, "Where have all the devotees gone?" Dharam Das replied, "They left Master." Then Kabir said, "Why, then, have you stayed?" Dharam Das replied, "Where else could I go?" "You are my master, and I am your disciple. You told me that you loved me unconditionally. Why should I not show you the same love in return?" As the narrative goes, Kabir then appointed Dharam Das his successor. Not because he rationalized his guru's actions (pre-rational), but because he accepted his master for whatever he was (quite rational--something we do for our own children, brother and sisters). Now, naturally, this does not get the "guru off the hook," but it does speak volumes about what we are really trying to accomplish with our chosen religions/gurus. I think loving someone for both their good and bad characteristics (but not condoning their mistakes) is truly admirable. I think once we can accept our gurus as human beings, we have made a huge leap forward in terms of rationality. It may be precisely then, when we have accepted the existential consequences of rationality/modernity, that something trans-mundane or trans-personal may arise. In honor of Mark's uplifting post, I lift my coke (I don't drink alcohol) at Rumi's Tavern.......