Rumi’s Oyster Shell and Politics
Everyone is afraid of death, but the real sufi’s just laugh; nothing tyrannizes their heart. What strikes the oyster shell does not damage the pearl. (Rumi)
Rumi’s concern is the distinction between what is real and what is unreal; or, as noted yesterday, between the ephemeral and the essential. The inability…or unwillingness…to recognize this distinction permeates our culture and is apparent where ever we choose to focus. For example, let’s take our current political morass. The prevailing focus of our politicians appears to be one thing—electability and then getting re-elected. To accomplish these purposes, they are willing to prostitute themselves to their base, to focus groups, and ultimately to the electorate. It is as if nothing else matters. Our country suffers. Our world suffers. And yet these politicians continue to focus on one thing—How do I get elected or re-elected and how does my political party get in power or maintain power?
Of course, these politicians merely reflect the values of our culture. Our culture produced them. If someone happened along who actually believed in something, someone who represented value, he/she would not be “electable” in our current environment.
So, what is the answer? Hmmm. Well, the answer lies in the realm of the Spirit but I hesitate to tender that notion as it opens a can of worms. I could discourse at length on the subject…and have…but let me cut to the chase and say this involves looking beneath the surface of things. But we don’t believe there is anything underneath the surface. We believe only in the oyster shell.
No less a luminary than Einstein deigned to look beneath the surface and he found there what he called a “mystery” and said that this evoked a “religious sentiment” in his heart. But we are so afraid of the “mystery” as it would threaten our illusion of being in control.