Top positive review
A wonderful book for my fortieth year!!
7 March 2018
I would love to give it a 4.5 - it went beyond really liking it and yet, I wouldn't say it was absolutely amazing... but I loved it. The first half of the book did nothing for me... I found it just like every other book and philosophy on heart-centered philosophy that I had read and studied. I even wondered what all the hoohaa about the book was.
Then all of a sudden, I was past mid-way into the story and I realised I had spent close to a month with the book, which in itself was a first. And just like that, the story became a reflection and an introspection - a pause to consider what these different rules of love meant to me. The story line in itself was lovely and complete in the various facets of observation - looking through the lens and inside the thoughts of the various characters was very liberating - and insightful.
What really drew me in was not the forty rules of love, but the sudden realisation that like Ella, I too had embarked on this year with an intention and instinct that this, my fortieth, was holding the promise and potential of major change. I could relate to Ella and her emotions at many times - and it was quite the coincidence and my son is also named Avi.
It was freeing to notice the patriarchy of spiritual pursuits in an ancient age and how the author has allowed both Rumi and Shams to dip into the idea of equal opportunity as well as explore the potential of social limitations of their time.
I found myself empathising with Ella's notion of love and marriage, holding my own relationships as a benchmark, and at the same time wondering if I were as hardened as her - knowing that I was not, yet allowing enough space to question, "Are you holding something back? What is stopping you?" In particular, her heart spoken, "deep inside she longed for love." really pulled at my heart strings.
The rules explored in this book and the narratives leading to it (along with the parables interspersed) are a good guide for those who find mystic sufism of interest - more so, if you have a philosophical tangent to spirituality and don't yet realise that it is a sufi trait. Yet, with love woven into every nook and corner, I found myself really <i>not getting</i> the Shams-Rumi love in totality. I could sense it and then it fell away as I couldn't always accept them putting their love above and beyond those around them.
Or perhaps it is because I still am on the 'spiritual' vibration of a lesser kind of love :) Something that is still working on the relational level and hoping to edge towards the madness of divine spiritual love and oneness.
Deep - too deep even for me today.
Kimya ... my heart bled for her. I couldn't understand it. It brought up all those ideals of pain where the woman is left yearning in the throes of unrequited love and I was angry at Shams for even accepting it. What good is his realisation of his mistake in marrying her, if he was going to let her die. He was so intuitive about everyone including the man who was hiding there waiting to kill him, but he couldn't sense the needs of his wife. No, I hated him then - and his chauvinist (for lack of a better word) focus on his 'oneness' bit. harumph!
But yet, I smiled at his explanation to Kimya of the Al-Nisa verse and his sharing of the alternative perspective of male superiority. It was impressive - the context of manhood and womanhood versus men and women - or even masculine and feminine, for that matter. Perhaps it just sheds a little more light on what we consider these gender stereotypes today. Or is it because the author is a woman and she brings a contemporary feminine yearning to the table?
I loved the book - I loved how it made me feel. I loved how I chose to read it in preparation for my fortieth this month. I love how I ended it in my birthday month with a feeling of grounding that this just might be that turning point of age and mystic symbolism, the number 40, that the author has amplified throughout the book.
Looking forward to the year ahead. This one was a good spring-board.