“Fasting” (Rumi)

There is a hidden sweetness in the stomach’s emptiness. We are lutes, no more, no less. If the soundbox is stuffed full of anything, no music. If the brain and belly are burning clean with fasting, every moment a new song comes out of the fire. The fog clears, and new energy

makes you run up the steps in front of you. Be emptier, and cry like the reed instruments cry. Emptier, write secret with the reed pen. When you are full of food and drink, Satan sits where your spirit should, an ugly metal statue in place of the Kaaba. When you fast, good habits gather like friends

who want to help. Fasting is Solomon’s ring. Do not give it to some illusion and lose your power, but even if you have, if you have lost all will and control, they come back when you fast, like soldiers appearing

out of the ground, pennants flying above them. A table descends to your tents, Jesus’ table. Expect to see it when you fast, this table

spread with other food, better than the broth of cabbages.

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