Jalil Gibran: My Soul Preached to Me
My soul preached to me and taught me to love that which the people abhor and befriend him whom they revile.
My soul showed me that Love prides itself not only in the one who loves, but also in the beloved.
Ere my soul preached to me, Love prides itself not only in the one who love, but also in the beloved.
Ere my Soul preached to me, Love was in my heart as a tiny thread fastened between two pegs.
But now Love has become a halo whose beginning is its end, and whose end is its beginning. It surrounds every being and extends slowly to embrace all that shall be.
My soul advised me and taught me to perceive the hidden beauty of the skin, figure, and hue, she instructed me to meditate upon that which the people call ugly until its true charm and delight appear.
Ere my soul counselled me, I saw Beauty like a trembling torch between columns of smoke. Now since the smoke has vanished, I see naught save the flame.
My soul preached to me and taught me to listen to the voices which the tongue and the larynx and the lips do not utter.
Ere my soul preached to me, I heard naught but clamour and wailing. But now I eagerly attend Silence and hear its choirs singing the hymns of the ages and the songs of the firmament announcing the secrets of the Unseen.
My soul preached to me and instructed me to drink the wine that cannot e pressed and cannot be poured from cups that hands can lift or lips can touch.
Ere my soul preached to me, my thirst was like a dim spark hidden under the ashes that can be extinguished by a swallow of water.
But now my longing has become my cup, my affections my wine and my loneliness my intoxication: yet, in this unquenchable thirst there is eternal joy.
My soul preached to me and taught me to touch that which has not become incarnate; my soul revealed to me that whatever we touch is part of our desire.
But soul instructed me to inhale the scent that no myrtle or incense emits. Ere my soul preached to me, I craved the scent of perfume in the gardens or in flasks or in censers.
But now I can savour the incense that is not burnt for offering or sacrifice. And I fill my heart with a fragrance that has never been wafted by the frolicsome breeze of space.
My soul preached to me and taught me to say, “I am ready” when the Unknown and Danger call on me.
Ere my soul preached to me, I answered no voice save the voice of the crier whom I knew, and walked not save upon the easy and smooth path.
Now the Unknown has become a steed that I can mount in order to reach the Unknown; and the plain has turned into a ladder on whose steps I climb to the summit.
My soul spoke to me and said, “Do not measure Time by saying, ‘There was yesterday, and there shall be tomorrow.’ ”
And ere my soul spoke to me, I imagined the Past as an epoch that never returned, and the Future as one that could never be reached.
Now I realize that the present moment contains all time and within it is all that can be hoped for, done and realized.
My soul preached to me exhorting me not to limit space by saying, “Here, there, and yonder.”
Ere my soul preached to me, I felt that wherever I walked was far from any other space.
Now I realize that wherever I am contains al place; and the distance that I walk embraces all distances.
My soul instructed me and advised me to stay awake while others sleep. And to surrender to slumber when others are astir.
Ere my soul preached to me, I saw not their dreams in my sleep; neither did they observe my vision.
Now I never sail the vessel of my dreams unless they watch me, and they never soar into the sky of their vision unless I rejoice in their freedom.
My soul preached to me and said, “Do not be delighted because of praise, and do not be distressed because of blame.”
Ere my soul counselled me, I doubted the worth of my work.
Now I realize that the trees blossom in Spring and bear fruit in Summer without seeking praise; and they drop their leaves in Autumn and become naked in Winter without fearing blame.
My soul preached to me and showed me that I am neither more than the pygmy, nor less than the giant.
Ere my soul preached to me, I looked upon humanity as two men: one weak, whom I pitied, and the other strong, whom I followed or resisted in defiance.
But now I have learned that I was as both are and made from the same elements. My origin is their origin, my conscience is their conscience, my contention is their contention, and my pilgrimage is their pilgrimage.
If they sin, I am also a sinner. If they do well, I take pride in their well-doing. If they rise, I rise with them. If they stay inert, I share their slothfulness.
My soul spoke to me and said, “The lantern which you carry is not yours, and the song that you sing was not composed within your heart, for even if you bear the light, you are not the light, and even if you are a lute fastened with strings, you are not the lute player.”
My soul preached to me, my brother, and taught me much. And your soul has preached and taught as much to you. For you and I are one, and There is no variance between us save that I urgently declare that which is in my inner self, while you keep as a secret that which is within you, but I your secrecy there is a sort of virtue.
_____________________________From Gibran’s Thoughts and Meditations