This is a South Indian story about soap:
Soap is the dirt we buy. We introduce it to the dirt we have, and the two dirts are so glad to see each other they come out and mix! They swim together in the warm pleasurable water and, at just the right moment, the washer lifts the cloth of our true being free of both soap and dirt.
Mystical poetry and other practices may function this way, as soap that dances with what disturbs our clarity. Then at some moment they drop away and leave us clean, ready to be worn again.
~The Essential Rumi
Spiritual experience is a modest woman
who looks lovingly at only one man.
It's a great river where ducks
live happily, and crows drown.
The visible bowl of form contains food
that is both nourishing and a source of heartburn.
There is an unseen presence we honor
that gives the gifts.
You're water. We're the millstone.
You're wind. We're dust blown up into shapes.
You're spirit. We're the opening and closing
of our hands. You're the clarity.
We're this language that tries to say it.
You're joy. We're all the different kinds of laughing.
Any movement or sound is a profession of faith,
as the millstone grinding is explaining how it believes
in the river! No metaphor can say this,
but I can't stop pointing
to the beauty.
Every moment and place says,
"Put this design in your carpet!"
Like the shepherd in Book II,
who wanted to pick the lice off God's robe,
and stitch up God's shoes, I want to be
in such a passionate adoration
that my tent gets pitched against the sky!
Let the beloved come
and sit like a guard dog
in front of the tent.
When the ocean surges,
don't let me just hear it.
Let it splash inside my chest!