Searching for Ithaka – C. P. Cavafy

May 5, 2009

The following quote from the Greek poet C. P. Cavafy resonates deeply with me.

I was 48 when I returned to my place of birth, Ithika, Greece. It was strange sensation being a “tourist” in Athens. After I visited my relations and saw my birthplace ( a little stone cottage with a dirt floor, that was uninhabitable and about to be demolished ) I felt more and more as a fellow Ellinas (Greek).

There are photos of my journey through Greece on this blog. I may upload more later. Anyway, Cavafy’s beautiful prose poem gives another dimension to my late return to my mother land. Australia is my home now, this is where my wife and children reside, though my heart at times feels Ithaka is where I belong.

Of course, Ithaka, can also be metaphorical and the quote below is a universal statement about seeing that the journey itself is what the search is about and not the finding. Ithaka? Heaven? Shangri La?

cpcavafy

Searching for Ithaka

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.  Arriving there is what you’re destined for. But don’t hurry the journey at all.  Better if it lasts for years, so you’re old by the time you reach the island, wealthy with all you’ve gained on the way, not expecting Ithaka to make you rich. Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey. Without her you wouldn’t have set out. She has nothing left to give you now. And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you. Wise as you will have become, so full of experience, you’ll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.

cavafy ithika

C. P. Cavafy

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Where is He? – Jelaluddin Rumi

May 4, 2009

 I tried to find Him on the Christian cross, but He was not there; I went to the Temple of the Hindus and to the old pagodas but I could not find a trace of Him anywhere.

I searched on the mountains and in the valleys but neither in the heights nor  in the depths was I able to find Him. I went to the Kaaba in Mecca, but He was  not there either.

I questioned the scholars and philosophers but He was beyond their understanding.

I then looked into my heart and it was there where He dwelled that I saw Him : He was nowhere else to be found.

Jelaluddin Rumi

I took a picture of his tomb in Konya, Turkey. Click here to see it.

Some other quotes by Rumi:

This quote below we used on the homepage of the HopeCaravan website, which is no longer active. However, the yahoo group still is on the net though it is no longer active.

“Come, come, whoever you are.
Wanderer, worshipper, lover of leaving.
It doesn’t matter.
Ours is not a caravan of despair.
Come, even if you have broken your vow
A hundred times.
Come, yet again, come, come.”

Other quotes which have touched me include:

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I will meet you there.”

“Only from the heart can you touch the sky.”

“Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.”

“You were born with wings. Why prefer to crawl through life?”

RumiRumi


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