Falling in love

When I fall in love, I notice two things happen: First, I begin to sacrifice myself (time, energy, health); second, I become unaware that I’m doing so. The deeper I fall in love, the more and more pain tastes sweet when suffered for the Beloved’s sake. “… sweeter than honey is his venom on the lover’s lips…”.

This dying from self, for Him, offers only euphoria and light. The lover is unaware of pain or difficulty. “Thou seest him chill in the fire and dry in the sea.” His only concepts are remoteness and union.

As for connecting these ideas with The Seven Valleys, I believe that the ending of pain through love, by transmuting it, concludes the valley of Love. It proves the lover, in the sense of: “The true lover yearneth for tribulation…”

Victory over seeing imperfection in the Beloved’s will (i.e., this world), happens with Knowledge. This relates to a story from `Attar about a lover, who one day asked his beloved about a mote in her eye. “When did it appear?”, he asked. She answered, “The day your love for me began to cool.” Because love cannot see defects in the beloved, nor in whatever she does or allows.

In Unity, the isolation of self relents, because the lover’s heart is now located in the Loved One’s breast. When she smiles, he suspires; whenever her lids begin to droop, he takes his rest. For all people, all things, are “the fashionings of the True One” and reveal His light. Thus distance becomes an inconceivable thought: “they see neither beginning nor end, and witness neither ‘first’ nor ‘last.’”.

Contentment will then bestow a surfeit of wealth (the meaning of “istighna’”). True sadness is forgotten, and cannot be recalled. “From sorrow he turneth to bliss, from anguish to joy. His grief and mourning yield to delight and rapture.” Since pain is sweet, and the joy of “the least of these My brethren” is one’s own, what remains to want? “He burneth away the veils of want, and with inward and outward eye, perceiveth within and without all things the day of: ‘God will compensate each one out of His abundance.’”

All of these stages are the natural result of a lover falling rapturously in love with his Goal. The more he offers up his heart, his substance, his soul, for His sake, the more fully love transforms him into a new creation. He begins to glow, to blaze, to shine out – until his reality is utterly changed. He has been touched by the true Philosopher’s Stone; the lead of his being is transmuted into purest gold. He transcends the confines of his puny form, and finds himself reflected in the hearts of all people, everywhere. “He beholdeth in his own name the name of God; to him, ‘all songs are from the King,’ and every melody from Him.” He could lay on the dust and call it a throne, or suffer every affliction and claim it the greatest fortune:

The friends of God shall win and profit under all conditions, and shall attain true wealth. In fire they remain cold, and from water they emerge dry. Their affairs are at variance with the affairs of men. Gain is their lot, whatever the deal. To this testifieth every wise one with a discerning eye, and every fair-minded one with a hearing ear.