When we take off our shoes, we choose our own adventure. This poem tells a parable about a competition for the most spiritual and the most clearly divine person. In the story, mortal rewards are offered for the closest to god. The story leads us into seeing what happens when we allow others to deliver and charm our deepest desires. Then when we receive what is wrapped in fear, disgust and revulsion, how we naturally recoil. We do not expect this as spiritual and this design shocks and dismays. We can feel betrayed and sometimes turn violent. We cannot believe that this disgusting, shadowy situation is a side of the divine. This is not the spiritual that we were told about! As with all things, we have the option of choosing what we do with the lessons we receive.
Thank you for listening.
Music: I think the role of shoes symbolically is interesting in this translation of Hafiz poem. It is an act of contrition to remove one's shoes. In the story, shoes are removed after the choice is made. Shoes, I'm thinking, are representing our mortal coil and what we identify with in this life. I discovered Ruthie Foster years ago listening to Whole Wheat Radio and I always loved this song, Travelin' Shoes. This old gospel song laments being ready to die by putting on the life one wore in their time here. She raises holy hell and tears it up in this live version and it is a beautiful thing. May we all live long and full lives enough to be ready to buckle up our travelin' shoes when our time comes.
The original post in this series of poems by Hafiz (including an addendum regarding the authenticity of these poems) can be found here.
The Gift: Poems by Hafiz and translated by Daniel Ladinsky can be purchased here.