For me, it resonates as a tale of the courage it takes for one to stay true to one's own beliefs
—Richard Moody on "The Forty Rules of Love"
This year has been filled with a Persian influence for me. I have been making a recording with Amir Amiri, a fantastic santoor (hammer dulcimer) player from Iran, and I have been slowly absorbing some of the flavours of that music, even though the music we play is mostly not traditional.
I also keep coming across references to the mystic Sufi poets Rumi and Hafez. A woman who is incredibly dear to me would send me some of this poetry that was simple yet deep, inspiring and sometimes quite funny.
"The Forty Rules of Love" by Elif Shafak (Viking)
She also lent me a book called The Forty Rules of Love
, by Turkish writer Elif Shafak
, It is the fictionalized account of how Rumi, a respected Muslim cleric, became an ecstatic poet-mystic after his introduction to Shams of Tabriz, a wandering Dervish.
For me, it resonates as a tale of the courage it takes for one to stay true to one's own beliefs. It is about following a path to enlightenment, even as friends, family and community try to hold a certain image of you that they are unwilling to let go of.
Over the course of the story, Shams imparts each of the forty rules of love to Rumi and other characters. Here is one of the rules:
"Loneliness and solitude are two different things. When you are lonely, it is easy to delude yourself into believing you are on the right path. Solitude is better for us, as it means being alone without feeling lonely. but eventually it is best to find a person, the person who will be your mirror. Remember, only in another person's heart can you truly see yourself and the presence of God within you."
Shams eventually finds his mirror in Rumi, and a deeply spiritual relationship is born.Richard Moody is performing with The Bills on Saturday September 15 at the West End Cultural Centre.