The insanity of love

How often do you feel disconnected?

Do you ever feel as if you do not belong?

In a previous post, I wrote about having introverted tendencies.  I suppose separating oneself from others can develop a person into an independent entity, which is necessary to survive once no longer part of our mother’s womb.  But just as we are realizing how unique we are from another person, we should not lose sight of what common characteristics we share with other people.  Moreover, it is okay to need someone.  You are not worth anything less if you do so.

Maybe it is explained better when Einstein wrote:  When we survey our lives and endeavors we soon observe that almost the whole of our actions and desires are bound up with the existence of other human beings. We see that our whole nature resembles that of the social animals. We eat food that others have grown, wear clothes that others have made, live in houses that others have built. The greater part of our knowledge and beliefs has been communicated to us by other people through the medium of a language which others have created…The individual is what he is and has the significance that he has not so much in virtue of his individuality, but rather as a member of a great human society, which directs his material and spiritual existence from the cradle to the grave.

Rumi suggests to melt ourselves away in order to become part of a union —  with people, the earth, and everything else that exists with us — in order to dissipate our individual suffering.  Nevertheless, Rumi also encourages us to befriend ourselves.

Sometimes we can also isolate ourselves in our problems and stresses in life.  The story of any person’s life I guess:

No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them in order that the reader may see what they are made of. — Kurt Vonnegut on writing.

I felt myself becoming disconnected, so a 4-day holiday in Portugal (Lisboa and Sintra) was very welcomed in order to reunite with some of the loves in my life.  It was my first time in the country and Lisboa reminded me of Lausanne, Switzerland and San Francisco, California, USA –namely the public transportation, cultural offers, its proximity to a large body of water, and of course the hills.  There was even a street in Lisboa that reminded me of a night walk I like to do when visiting San Francisco. Starting at the Orpheum theatre and heading to the direction of the Piers, the long walk provides encounters with intermittent trash on the ground and some unusual characters loitering about.  In another post I will write about the sins of Sintra and Lisboa — because of all the fabulous pastries to satisfy my ravenous sweet tooth.  It makes sense that a country known for making Port would be experts at producing desserts.

I hope you enjoy the interspersed travel photos as you read excerpts from a book I just finished reading called “Insane With Love”, which is filled with rubais written by Rumi.  Rubais can be thought of as a Persian form of haiku because short phrases represent greater meanings.  Rumi was born more than 800 years ago and composed greater than 1,700 rubais.  Let his ancient words inspire you today.

you are a volume in the divine book

a mirror to the power that created the universe

whatever you want, ask it of yourself

whatever you’re looking for can only be found

inside of you

you can’t untie this knot by listening to

fairy tales

you have to do something inside yourself

the smallest fountain inside of you

is better than a raging river outside

o my choice beauty

you’ve gone

but your love remains in my heart

your image in my eye

o guide on my winding road

I keep turning round and round in the hopes of

finding you

the secrets of the mind’s attainment

can only be found in madness

whoever has become insane with love

becomes the wisest one of us all

whoever gets familiar with the mysteries of

the heart

becomes a complete stranger to himself

I went to see my doctor:

“o doctor,” I said

“tell me the truth

what cure is there for a person like me who has

fallen hopelessly in love?”

he thought for a moment

and then advised me:

“annihilate yourself

and give up everything that exists”

dervishes should never be vain

conceit weighs as a heavy burden in their hearts

poverty and simplicity

are essential on the way to the beloved

pomp and splendor

are just thorns on that path

o one who is so alive with the soul of this world

shame on you?

why are you being like that?

don’t avoid love out of fear that you may die

die into love so that you may stay alive

what use is there for advice

now that I’ve fallen into your love?

“tie his feet down” they say about me

but it’s my heart that’s gone crazy

what’s the use of tying my feet?

joy doesn’t come because of sorrow

yet nothing but the pangs I feel for you in my heart

could ever cure me of my troubles

I was thinking to say this when we met

but when I finally saw you

I couldn’t even breathe

be a falcon in your effort

be a tiger in your strength

be an expert in hunting

be brave in war

don’t hang around with the peacock and

the nightingale

one’s conceited

the other talks too much

I’m so tired of this material world

with all its temporary things

it’s time to see the real beauty

but when I gaze at him

I see myself

and when I look at myself

I see him

I have not yet decided what my next read will be.  I was considering some poetry by Fernando Pessoa because of this picture I took in Lisboa:

A tribute

As much as I love poetry, I prefer not to read two poetry books in a row.

Lastly, a museum exhibit introduced me to the Proust questionaire in which its theme was “Tell me what you like, and I’ll tell you who you are”.  In the late 1800s, this type of questionaire was popularly used for fun and Proust believed that it provided a way to know someone’s true nature.   Additionally, it can give some insight as to what common values we have with others.  I quickly completed the Proust questionaire,  with the first answer that comes to my mind.  Try it yourself and / or  share it with others on your blog.

  1.  What is your idea of happiness?    Love
  2.  Where would you most like to live?  I’m still looking for my true home.
  3.  What is your favorite virtue?  I admire people who are patient.  I blame my impatience from the red highlights in my hair I inherited from my grandmother.
  4.  What are your favorite qualities in a man?  One who reads books.
  5.  What are your favorite qualities in a woman?  One who laughs
  6.  What do you most value in your friends?  Laughter
  7.  What is your biggest weakness?  Love
  8.  What do you enjoy doing most?  Listening to music
  9.  What is your most marked characteristic?  Multi-tasking
  10. What is your idea of misery?  Living somewhere with no culture.  For example, I could never live in a shopping mall.
  11.  If not yourself, who would you like to be?  Myself, because I am the only one who fully understands how to be me and I only know how to be myself.
  12.  What is your favorite color and flower?  Pink tulips
  13.  What is your favorite bird?  A swan – because they are born as ugly ducklings and well…you know the story.
  14.  Who are your favorite writers?  J. Saramago, Milan Kundera
  15. Who are your favorite poets?  Pablo Neruda
  16.  Who are your favorite musicians?  Too difficult to answer – I listen to a lot of varieties.
  17.  Who are your favorite artists?  Caravaggio
  18.  Who are your favorite heroes and heroines in fiction?  Haven’t found any.
  19.  Who are your favorite heroes and heroines in your life?  Mi abuela materna
  20.  Who are your favorite heroes and heroines in history?  Pablo Neruda, Che Guevera, Ghandi (after reading his autobiography)
  21.  What is your favorite food and drink?  An almond croissant and strong Vietnamese iced coffee (A pity I can’t find both at the same place)
  22.  What are your favorite names?  Male:  Alexand (my little brother’s name) and Female: Celestina (a character in a book by Fernando de Rojas)
  23.  What do you most dislike?  Unequal love
  24.  Which historical figures do you most dislike?  Franco, Hitler
  25.  What event in history do you most admire?  The events shown in the movie by Oliver Stone “South of the Border” .
  26.  What social movement do you most admire?  See above
  27.  What natural gift would you most like to possess?  Patience
  28.  How would you like to die?  In love
  29.  What is your present state of mind?  Sick because I’ve been running in the rain lately.
  30.  What is your biggest pet peeve?  Narcissism
  31.  Which fault in others do you most easily tolerate?  It still bothers me, but I can now tolerate being judged by how I look.
  32.  Which fault in yourself do you most easily tolerate?  I don’t know how to ask for help.
  33.  What is your motto?  Actions speak louder than words.