“Only Breath” (Rumi)

Ah, true believers, what can I say? I no longer know who I am.

Not Christian or Jew or Muslim, not Hindu, Buddhist, Sufi, or Zen. I am not from the East or the West, not out of the ocean or up from the ground. Not natural or ethereal, not composed of elements at all. I do not exist.

I am not from China or India, not from the town of Bulghar on the Volga, nor from remote Arabian Saqsin. Not from either Iraq, the one between the rivers, or the one in western Persia.

Not an entity in this world or the next. I did not descend from Adam and Eve or any origin story. My place is the placeless, a trace of the traceless, neither body or soul. I belong to the beloved, have seen the two worlds as one, and that one call to and know, first, last, outer, inner, only that breath breathing human being.

Friends, when I taste love’s wine, the two worlds combine, and I have no purpose but this play of presences.

If I spend one moment outside you, I repent, and when I have a moment of closer rapport, I dance to rubble the ruins of both. Shams Tabriz, this friendship is all I say.

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