LIFE LESSONS FROM FLUTE
Rumi, a Persian poet, says that our greatest longing (arzou) is to return to our roots, to return home, to unite with the highest within.
He opens his greatest masterpiece, Mathnawî-yé Ma`nawî, which means “Rhyming Couplets of Deep Spiritual Meaning,” as follows:
besh-na-ween nay choon shi-kaa-yat mee-ko-nad
az jo-daa-eey-haa hi-kaa-yat mee-ko-nad
kaz na-yes-taan taa ma-raa bob-ree-da-and
dar na-fee-ram mar-do zan naa-lee-da-and
Hear the flute (an instrument made out of reeds)
which in wistful tone complains of being separated from its home, the reed-bed.
From the moment they cut me off from my source,
I have been wailing, which has moved everyone, man or woman,
who heard me, to tears.
[Translation by Gupta, 1997; slightly modified.]
This “re-turning” home is the purpose of all spiritual quest.
Once a flute player was invited by a university to deliver a commencement speech.
The great artist had never given any speech in his life. He had done only one thing, i.e., to play flute.
He promised that it will be the shortest speech ever. He simply said that we can learn at least 4 things from the flute:
- It does not speak unless prompted.
- Whenever it speaks, it speaks in a sweat tone.
- It is empty inside: a sign of engaged humility.
- It is the only instrument that does not need to be “tuned;”
the musician has to tune herself to play it!
Spiritual quest—tuning one’s instrument.
Have you tuned your life lately?