Is fire your water?

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One dervish to another, What was your vision
of God’s presence? I haven’t seen anything,
but for the sake of conversation, I will tell you a story.

The presence is there in front of me.
A fire on the left, a lovely stream on the right.
One group walks toward the fire, into the fire.
Another toward the sweet flowing water.
No one knows which are blessed and which not.
Whoever walks into the fire appears suddenly
in the stream. A head goes underwater
and that head pokes out of the fire.

Most people guard against going into the fire
and so end up in it. Those who love the water
of pleasure and make it their devotion
are cheated with this reversal. The trickery goes further.
The voice of the fire tells the truth, saying
I am not fire. I am fountainhead.
Come into me and don’t mind the sparks.

If you are a friend of the presence,
fire is your water.

~ Rumi (trans. Coleman Barks)

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