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Come, Come, whoever you are: 
Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. 
Ours is not a caravan of despair!

  -Jalaluddin Rumi

Writing poetry – cheap therapy!
All it costs is time,
And heart and some paper,
And it doesn’t have to rhyme!

     -Helena,  @VegyPower on Twitter, also @mysticpoetry

 April is National Poetry Month in the USA and this week’s #SpiritChat is devoted to Poetry!

 I’m delighted and grateful that Kumud asked me to co-host this week’s #SpiritChat.  Above are two poems with very different histories.  The first is from Rumi, a 13th-century Persian poet.  He’s the best-selling poet the USA.  The second is by me, an unknown!

 With these poems we invite you to join a poetic caravan of spirit for #SpiritChat, this Sunday, April 13, at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time.

 Share your original or favorite lines of poetry during the Twitter chat.  It doesn’t have to be “spiritual” poetry! (Some may say that all poetry is spiritual, and we’ll explore that.)

 You can post as much of the poem as will fit into a tweet, or entice us by posting a line and then the link to the entire poem.

 My poetry adventure began when I was in 3rd grade.  My teacher told me that she was asked to choose ONE STUDENT to participate in a haiku workshop.  She added, “I thought you’d appreciate it.”  I felt happy and surprised that she chose ME!  I didn’t know she knew me so well.  I enjoyed it very much, and, was hooked on haiku!

 Fast forward forty years:  I decided to “give back” by offering an after-school enrichment class called “Fun with Poetry” at an elementary school.  I wanted to ignite the spark of love for poetry, just as that haiku workshop did for me.  The emphasis was on FUN, with the hope that students would want to continue to read and write poetry.  I still have the notes of appreciation written by the parents of my poetry kids!

 In high school, I took an elective course in poetry. The truth is that I registered only because my then-boyfriend was a poet.  That relationship didn’t last but my relationship with poetry did!

 As a child, poetry for me was an art form.  As a young adult its role matured into an expression of the spiritual journey. 

I was introduced to the Sufi mystic poets Rumi, Hafiz, and Kabir in 1973 at age twenty-one, while reading the books of my spiritual teacher, Sant Kirpal Singh (1894-1974).  http://www.sos.org/page/rich-heritage.html  

He often quoted the Sufi mystics to illustrate a subtle idea.  Like them, he wrote poetry:

Like a lotus flower with its head above the muddy pool, we should live in the world and yet be out of it.

     -Sant Kirpal Singh

 These poems speak of the inner journey that each soul on the spiritual path eventually experiences.

My beloved teacher left this earth in 1974.  His son, Sant Darshan Singh (1921-1989) http://www.sos.org/page/rich-heritage.html  carried on the work of initiating seekers into a form of meditation called Surat Shabd Yoga (translation: “the yoga of putting one’s attention on the Inner Light and Music”). http://www.sos.org/page/meditation-connecting-with-our-soul.html

When the flowers of the church, mosque & temple gather together,
Spring will blossom forth in Your garden, O Lord.

     -Sant Darshan Singh

 Sant Darshan Singh had majored in Persian literature, and, like his father, was a poet.  He wrote traditional Sufi poetry in Urdu, and translated his verses into English.  He received the Urdu Academy Award for Poetry four times. His pen name was, simply, DARSHAN.  One of his verses is:

Poetry is the music of the heart,
And music is the poetry of the soul.

 I was blessed to have attended many of his programs in the 1980s during his visits to the United States.  These talks were intoxicating, lyrical events that included periods of silent meditation as well as poetry.  He cited his verses to illustrate the topic of the evening.

(Sant Darshan Singh is the author of a book titled, LOVE AT EVERY STEP: MY CONCEPT OF POETRY.)

From one of his poems:

Begin to live your life according to your aspirations
And step toward your chosen goal.
Life is not worth Its name
Unless we meet the challenge of the times.
Play on the instrument of the heart,
Even if it be broken.

My heart was, indeed, broken when Sant Darshan left this world in 1989.  His work is being carried on today by Sant Rajinder Singh, a spiritual Master who often speaks poetically:

There is a silken thread of love which connects each and every one of us.

And…

When we strip away the world and the mind, we find ourselves as a drop of love.

     -Sant Rajinder Singh

(You can learn more about Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj at the website of Science of Spirituality, www.sos.org.  and on twitter at @Global_SOS. It’s a non-profit, multi-faith, global organization dedicated to love, unity, peace, and service.)

I love words.  Here’s a recent haiku:

Having the right word,
Having the right screwdriver:
Humanity’s tools.

Thanks again to Kumud Ajmani, the host of #SpiritChat, for inviting me to co-host. 

Come, come, whoever you are, to #SpiritChat on Twitter this Sunday, April 13, 2014 at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time. 

Ours is not a caravan of despair! 

(Apologies to Rumi.  I have a feeling he’s a good sport.)

 Namaste

Helena @VegyPower and @mysticpoetry

(Thank you, Helena, for this beautiful post about poetry and how it has influenced you and your spirituality. I invite all readers to add their poetry or their favorite poets in the comments. Thank you! – Kumud @AjmaniK)

Postscript:

The full transcript (with stats and more) is available at http://bit.ly/sc-tr-0413 (96 contributors, 1.3M reach, 1320 tweets, 7.1M deliveries)

A “curated” (and much more readable) summary via the storify web service is available at http://sfy.co/ggdY

Questions:

Q1. The Spirit of a Poet. What does this invoke in your heart? In your mind? #SpiritChat

Q2. Do you have a fave type of poetry (haiku, sonnet, couplet, ghazal, etc.)? What do you love about it? v/@VegyPower #SpiritChat

Q3. What purpose does poetry serve in your life? Is it even important? Why so? v/@VegyPower #SpiritChat

Q4. What is the connection between poetry, meditation, and silence? #SpiritChat

Q5. What is it about poetry that influences our spirit differently, than, say, prose? Or does it? #SpiritChat

Q6. “To have great poets, we need great audiences too” – Agree or Disagree? Why? #SpiritChat

Q7. Please share lines of an original poem or a favorite poem by another poet. Links welcome 🙂 v/@VegyPower #SpiritChat

Q8. For those wanting to write poetry… Where does a poem truly begin? Where does it end? #SpiritChat