#4. The Vision.

This is yet another book by Kahlil Gibran, who, as I established previously, is one of my favourite writers. The subtitle is Reflections on the Way of the Soul, thus it is a collection of inwardly speech regarding the interior of the self. Please read on if you feel this may resonate with your being.
“I listened to the teachings of Confucius, imbibed the wisdom of Brahma, and sat beside Buddha beneath the tree of insight. And now I am here, wrestling with ignorance and unbelief.”

“I existed from all eternity and, behold, I am here; and I shall exist till the end of time, for my being has no end.”

“The sea sleeps not. And in the wakefulness of the sea is a balm for the spirit that does not rest.”

“‘Life without love is like a tree without blossoms or fruit. Love without beauty is like flowers without fragrance and fruit without seeds… Life, love, and beauty – three persons in one substance, independent, absolute, accepting no change or separation.'”

“‘Life without rebellion is like the seasons without spring. Rebellion without truth is like spring in a bleak, arid desert… Life, rebellion, and truth – three persons in one substance, accepting no separation or alteration.'”

“‘Life without liberty is like a body without spirit. Liberty without thought is like a disturbed spirit… Life, liberty, and thought – three persons in one substance, eternal, never – ending, and unceasing.'”

“‘Love and what generates it. Rebellion and what creates it. Liberty and what nourishes it. Three manifestations of God. And God is the conscience of the rational world.'”

“Lie down and resign yourself to your fate, O fearsome one.”

“Yesterday – and how remote yesterday is, yet how near – I went with my soul to the most great ocean, to wash away with its waters the dust and mire of the earth that had clung to us.”

“This is the deep sea, this is the mighty, terrifying ocean.”

“My soul and I departed from that great ocean and began to seek for the most great ocean.”

“For death most resembles a prophet who is without honor in his own land or a poet who is a stranger among his people.”

“Human beings cling to matter that is cold as snow whereas I seek the flame of love so that I might place it in my breast, where it will devour my ribs and destroy my insides. For I have discovered that matter kills painlessly, but love revives us through torments.”

“Human being separate into factions and tribes and adhere to countries and regions whereas I see my essence as foreign to ant one land and alien to any single people.”

“Human beings unite in destroying the temples of the spirit and cooperate in building the edifices of the body.”

“I crave my homeland for its beauty and love its inhabitants for their poverty.”

“I love my birthplace with some of the same love I shower upon my region; I love my region with a part of the love I bestow on my homeland; and I love the whole earth, because it is the place where humanity thrives, and sacred humanity is the spirit of divinity in this world.”

“Humanity is the spirit of divinity on earth. That divinity which walks among the nations and speaks of love, pointing towards the paths of life, while the people laugh and mock its words and teachings.”

“You are my brother, and both of us are the sons of a single, universal, and sacred spirit. You are my likeness, for we are prisoners of the same body, fashioned from the same clay.”

“Do with me what you will, for you are unable to touch my reality. Spill my blood and burn my body, but my soul will never feel the pain and you will never kill it.”

“I love you when you bow in your mosque, kneel in your temple, pray in your church. For you and I are sons of one religion, and it is the spirit.”

“I love you for the sake of your reality, which emanates from the Universal intellect.”

“Why do you forsake your wife and little ones, following death to a remote land for the sake of commanders who wish to buy high rank with your blood and great honor with the grief of your parents?”

“They say that the desire to survive requires an attack on the rights of others. And I say, ‘safeguarding the rights of others is the most noble and beautiful end of a human being.'”

“Egotism, my brother, was the origin of blind competition, and competition generated group loyalty, and group loyalty founded political power, which in turn became a motive for strife and enslavement.”

“True power is the wisdom that protects the universal, just, natural law.”

“Cast aside those who liken godliness to whimsy and who try to combine their greed for wealth with their desire for a happy afterlife.”

“Believe in the divinity of beauty, which is the beginning of your appreciation of life and the origin of your love for joy.”

“Observe the meekness of the child, the gracefulness of the youth, the power of the mature, and the wisdom of the aged; beauty is the charm of those who watch.”

“Rhapsodize about the narcissus of the eyes, the rose of the cheeks, the anemones of the lips; beauty is glorified by those who rhapsodize.”

“Yesterday we complained of time and feared it, but today we love and embrace it.”

“Yesterday we burned incense before graven images and immolated sacrifices before irascible gods. But today we light incense only for ourselves and offer sacrifices only to our own essences. For the greatest and most gloriously beautiful of deities has made his temple in our breasts.”

“How many are the days we spent lying about like sheep without a shepherd, nibbling at our thoughts and chewing our emotions, remaining hungry and thirsty.”

“How often we stood between waning day and onrushing night, mourning our fading youth, yearning for an unknown person, lonely for some obscure reason, staring at a dark, empty sky, listening to the groans of silence and nothingness.”

“Yesterday we were and today we have become, and this is the will of the gods for their children.”

“You, my soul, rejoice in the afterlife before it even arrives, while this body suffers from life even while it lives.”

“In the quiet of the night Wisdom came and stood beside my bed, gazing at me like a doting mother. She wiped away my tears and said, ‘I heard the cry of your soul and came to solace you. Open your heart to me, that I might fill it with light. Ask me, and I shall show you the path of truth.'”

“‘You desire, O mortal, to view this world through the eyes of a god, and wish to comprehend the mysteries of the world to come by means of your human intellect; and that is the utmost folly.'”

“‘All that you see was and is for your sake. The numerous books, uncanny markings, and beautiful thoughts are the ghosts of souls who preceded you. The speech they weave is a link between you and your human siblings.'”

“‘The person you consider ignorant and insignificant is the one who came from God, that he might learn bliss from grief and knowledge from gloom.'”

“‘Advance and never halt, for advancing is perfection. Advance and do not fear the thorns in the path, for they draw only corrupt blood.'”

“‘From the land of India come wonders and marvels.'”

“‘He is still staring off into the depths of the sky, as was his habit, as though he sees among the planets the image of an unknown god.”

“‘All that spirits desire, spirits attain.'”

“‘Tonight our soul has an inclination toward poetry. Recite some.'”

“‘A poet is a bird of unearthly excellence, who escapes from his celestial realm and arrives in this world warbling. If we do not cherish him, he spreads his wings and flies back to his homeland.'”

“Life has borne us from place to place, and the fates convey us from one spot to another, but we only see the obstacles that stand in our way and hear only the voice that terrifies us.”

“Wisdom stands at the turn in the road and calls upon us publicly, but we consider it false and despise its adherents.”

“How beloved life is to us, and how remote we are from life.”

“When you complain of a misfortune to your neighbors, you bestow on them a piece of your heart. If they are kind-hearted, they thank you. But if they are small-minded, they despise you.”

“Progress lies not in enhancing, but in advancing toward what will be.”

“Art is a step from what is obvious and well-known toward what is arcane and concealed.”

“Some people encourage me to trust them, so that they may enjoy the delights of my forbearance.”

“The earth takes a breath and we are born, then exhales it and we die.”

“I wash my hands of a people who consider impudence to be courage and tenderness to be cowardice.”

“I wash my hands of those who imagine chattering to be knowledge, silence to be ignorance, and affection to be art.”

“It might be that for us to consider a matter difficult constitutes the easiest path toward it.”

“Contradiction is the lowest level of intelligence.”

“Beauty captivates us, but the greatest beauty sets us free even from its own essence.”

“Zeal is a volcano, on the peak of which the grass of indecisiveness  goes not grow.”

“The author creates from thought and emotion, and clothes them in words. The researcher creates from word to which he adds a little thought and emotion.”

“Knowledge cultivates your seeds and does not sow in you seeds.”

“Love is a happiness that trembles.”

“Lo, keep me away from a wisdom that does not weep, a philosophy that does not laugh, and a grandeur that will not bow its head before children.”

“My friend, poverty manifests the nobility of the soul, and opulence brings out its blameworthy tendencies.”

“Were poverty to be wiped out and sorrow to vanish, the soul would become a blank scroll save for characters that signify egotism and a love of aggrandizement and words that connote earthly appetites.”

“The hour that you spend, you the destitute, with your wife and little ones after you come from the fields is a symbol of the human family of the future, a token of the happiness of coming generations. The life that the rich pass among their assets is a contemptible life that recalls the burrowing of the worm in graves, it is a symbol of fear.”

“The power that you sowed, you the poor, which the rich and powerful have exploited, will return to you. For the law of nature is that things return to their source.”

“Coming generations will learn equality from poverty, and love from woes.”

“Indeed, I must elucidate the meaning of my spiritual being to my material being, and the secrets of my material existence to my spiritual existence.”

“The beginning of wisdom is the knowledge of the self.”

“But a man who combines in his person matter with spiritual essence, as I do, such a man is one of the miracles of the days and one of the prodigies of the night.”

“I have known my self and, yes, even the gods have known my self. Let my soul live and my essence subsist, let existence remain in being until my goal is fulfilled.”

“A solitary figure who arrays himself in simplicity, dines on grace, sits with nature learning to innovate, and keeps vigil in the quiet of the night, awaiting the descent of the spirit.”

“How long, humankind, how long O world, will you raise buildings to honor those who made a new crust for the earth out of gore, while you neglect those who bestow upon you their virtues, both when they greet you and when they part from you?”

“How long will you extol those killed and those who bend their necks beneath the yoke of enslavement, yet ignore those who pour out light from their pupils in the dark of night to teach you to see the glory of day and who spend their lives caught in the talons of misfortune so that the pleasure of happiness might not escape you?”

“And you, poets, life of this life: You have triumphed over the centures, despite the cruelty of the eons; and you have won the crown away from the haughty, despite the thorns of arrogance; you have taken possession of the hearts, and your dominion knows no end or cessation, O poets.”

“I never lost a friend in the mists of the heaves say that I found him in the clarity of dawn.”

“You and I, O people, are trapped by the surface appearances of our situation, veiled from the unseen essence of our reality.”

“You and I are infatuated with the husk of ‘I’ and the superficialities of ‘you.’ For this reason, we do not perceive what the spirit has confined to ‘I,’ and what it has ensconced into ‘you.'”

“What can we do, when our arrogance makes us heedless of the truth that lies within us?”

“No, my brother, do not make inferences about the reality of a man on the basis of appearances, and do not take some saying or some deed of his as a token of his innermost essence.”

“Many a person you consider ignorant – because he lacks eloquence or speaks in a colorless tone – has an awareness that leads to wisdom and a heart that serves as a cradle of revelation.”

“And many a person you despise because of repulsive features or a vile livelihood nevertheless was a gift from heaven and a breath from God.”

“No, life is not on the surface, but hidden, and the visible world lies not in its husk but in its pith. People are summed up not by their faces but by their hearts.”

“Nor is a religion the sum of its outward manifestations, such as edifices, its rituals, and its traditions, but rather it lies in what souls harbor and in the intentions they form.”

“The essence of art is not the high notes or the low notes of songs, or the ringing of words in an ode, or the lines and hues of a picture that you see with your eyes. Rather, art lies in the silent, pulsating intervals between the high notes and the low notes. It lies in the feeling that steals into you from listening to an ode, a feeling that remains hushed, quiet, and alone in the spirit of the poet. It lies in the picture’s revelation to you, so that you see, while you are gazing at it, what transcends and is more beautiful than it.”

“Do not reckon me ignorant, then, before you probe my hidden essence, and do not imagine me a genius before you strip me of this acquired essence.”

“Call me not a lover until my love manifests itself to you with all the lights and fire it holds within it, and call me not carefree until you touch my bleeding wound.”

“I am the daughter of the elements, with which winter was impregnated and spring brought forth; and summer nurtured; and autumn put to sleep.”

“Be patient. Bewilderment is the beginning of knowledge.”

“I saw human beings condemn patience as cowardice, label forbearance laziness, and call kindness fear.”

“My soul gave me good counsel, teaching me to find the beauty concealed in a face, a color a complexion, and to gaze intently at what the people think ugly, until it shows me its comeliness.”

“Now I sip at silence and listen to its inwardness that chants songs of the eons, reciting praises of the sky, announcing the mysteries of the Unseen.”

“…and my solitude is my intoxication.”

“…touching something is half the task of comprehending it, and that what we grasp therein is part of what we desire from it.”

“…my once-cramped sense of touch is scattered everywhere, having metamorphosed into a fine mist that penetrates everything that appears from Being, so as to mingle with what has remained hidden from it.”

“My soul gave me good counsel, teaching me not to measure time by saying, ‘It was yesterday, and will be tomorrow.'”

“But now I know that in the brief moment of the present, all time exists, including everything that is in time – all that is eagerly anticipated, achieved, or realized.”

“I have learned that the place where I subsist is all places, and the space I occupy is all intervals.”

“Leave me, all of you. For my soul is drunk with love.”

“…see God’s likeness in my eyes and hear the echo of infinite songs in the breaths I take.”

“Behold, I have reached the peak of the mountain and my spirit has taken flight in the heavens of freedom and liberation.”

“I no longer hear anything but the anthem of eternity, which harmonizes with the desires of the spirit.”

“Wear not black out of sorrow for me, but, rather, put on white, rejoicing with me.”

“Speak not of my death with a lump in your throats. Rather, close your eyes and you will see me among you, now, tomorrow, and thereafter.”

“Do not convey me to the cemetery, for the crowding will disturb my peace and the rattling of bones and skulls will deprive my resting place of quietude.”

“Return to your homes and you will discover there what death cannot steal from me or from you.”

“Is this truly life? Is it a past that has faded, the traces of which have disappeared; a present that scurries to catch up to the past; a future without meaning, save when it passes by, becoming present or past?”

“This worldly life with all that it contains is a dream beside the awakening that we term death the terrible. A dream, but all that we see and do therein will live forever in God’s eternity.”

“There in the next world we shall see all the highs and lows of our emotional lives and the throbbing of our hearts. There we shall perceive the substance of our divinity, which now we revile, driven as we are by despair.”

“The immortal soul is never contented, for it desires perfection, and perfection is infinity.”

If you are interested in reading The Vision in its entirety, please check it out below.

Thank you for reading.

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  1. I agree.
    “There in the next world we shall see all the highs and lows of our emotional lives and the throbbing of our hearts. There we shall perceive the substance of our divinity, which now we revile, driven as we are by despair.”
    I believe in karma. What we give, we will get back. Wonderful words and thoughts shared.

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