Almustafa, while in exile in a foreign land, waited for the return of his ship; climbing the hills of his adopted land, looking seaward, Almustafa searched for the ship meant to bring him back to the land of his mother. One must imagine the anxiety of yearning for returning home, home not only physical but symbolizing, the heart, peace, and freedom, but on the 7th day, in the month of reaping, riding the waves of the sleepless sea, through a deep mist, the boat rode to shore. After 12 years, away from his mother country, dream, assuaging the craving to be home, about the boat riding into shore filled his nights, stunned that his dream became reality, he began to pray in silence–Almustafa says:
Then the gates of his heart were flung open, and his joy flew far over the sea. And he closed his eyes and prayed in the silences of his soul.
Home is where love resides, for this foreign land, full of strange villagers, provided him the nourishment necessary to live, and his repayment was the spiritual wisdom he bestowed. We must live presently, moments quickly become memories; those 12 years of yearning for him suddenly came to an end. He began to regret the arrival of these seafarers, for as he descended the hill pain and sorrow filled his heart; memories of the villagers filled his mind, and he struggled with releasing his adopted home. The children, men, and women of this village had become his family, and leaving felt like “ripping off his flesh with his own hand.” I’ve watched myself crave for freedom, but then I receive my delusion, what I believed would make me happy, and grew sadder. The human paradox, maybe the source of our troubles, is we do not know the value of our suffering until its overcome. It is odd that the wellspring of our wisdom comes from our response to loneliness, pain, and fear, but it may be our only salvation. Conflicted, as we all often are, about the next phase of his life–Almustafa says:
How shall I go in peace and without sorrow? Nay, not without a wound in the spirit shall I leave this city. Long were the days of pain I have spent within its walls, and long were the nights of aloneness; and who can depart from his pain and his aloneness without regret?
As time passes we carry the memories of the people we once were and those that affected us, for living in the past is a rejection of our eternal condition, time is always pressing forward. The sea calls our prophet and he says, “A voice cannot carry the tongue and the lips that gave it wings. Alone must it seek the ether. And alone and without his nest shall the eagle fly across the sun.” His adopted family, watching him leave, began to call his name, and, hearing them beg, he met down halfway between the sea and the village. They began expressing the love that, for 12 years, remain speechless, and tears rolled down his cheeks from their exultations of love and appreciation. Our memories are filled with moments where words should of won over silence; “I love you”, “You hurt me”, “I am sorry”, “I needed you”, “Can you forgive me”, and “I miss you”, are all left on our tongues, but the villagers, symbolizing that we must express our hearts, spoke words that for 12 years remained speechless. Our tendency to focus on the destination rather than the journey stifles our ability to live in the present. Our prophet symbolizes a man that is being called to the next phase of his life, but the memories prevent him from moving forward.
Yet I cannot tarry longer. The sea that calls all things unto her calls me, and I must embark. For, to stay, though the hours burn in the night, is to freeze and crystallize and be bound in a mould.
Knowing his next visit will be in another form, Almustafa searches his heart for wisdom about the passage between birth and death; he questions his ability with bestowing the knowledge contained in his experience–Almustafa says:
Shall my heart become a tree heavy-laden with fruit that I may gather and give unto them?
And shall my desires flow like a fountain that I may fill their cups?
Am I a harp that the hand of the mighty may touch me, or a flute that his breath may pass through me
A seeker of silences am I, and what treasure have I found in silences that I may dispense with confidence?
If this is my day of harvest, in what fields have I sowed the seed, and in what unremembered seasons?
If this indeed be the hour in which I lift up my lantern, it is not my flame that shall burn therein.
Empty and dark shall I raise my lantern,
And the guardian of the night shall fill it with oil and he shall light it also.
“For he himself could not speak his deeper secret.”, says Almustafa, as the villagers gather to ask him questions, for his deeper secret reveals the private lives held inside. Every shame, mistake, habit, and fear all hidden away in the lives we will never reveal, but learning to articulate our truth entirely frees us. Our prophet is making the attempt, many people avoid, of peering into the void and pulling out the wisdom necessary to ease the villagers souls. We find ourselves peering into the void every time we give meaning to our suffering; the great search for hope is preventing despair from consuming us and learning to accept that life, each of us, goes through cycles of wealth and poverty, hope and despair, loneliness and communion, apathy and love all for our greater benefit. Tears rolled down his cheeks as the villagers circled around the once stranger, that has become their brother, and expressed gratitude for his presence. When he first stepped onto the village a seeress, name Almitra, met his eyes and recognized his prophetic nature; our prophet walked with the villagers to meet her before his departure. Almitra sees his tears and tells him to prevent their love from inhibiting his journey; giving him assurance that the villagers will be fine with his departure. She eases his spirit, but ask him, before he departs, can they be nourished by his eternal wisdom. The journey begins with the villagers gathering around their adopted brother and asking questions on love, marriage, children, and everything aggravating their hearts.
“Shall the day of parting be the day of gathering? And shall it be said that my eve was in truth my dawn?” Yet this we ask ere you leave us, that you speak to us and give us of your truth. And we will give it unto our children, and they unto their children, and it shall not perish. In your aloneness you have watched with our days, and in your wakefulness you have listened to the weeping and the laughter of our sleep. Yet this we ask ere you leave us, that you speak to us and give us of your truth. And we will give it unto our children, and they unto their children, and it shall not perish. In your aloneness you have watched with our days, and in your wakefulness you have listened to the weeping and the laughter of our sleep. Now therefore disclose us to ourselves, and tell us all that has been shown you of that which is between birth and death.
And he answered, People of Orphalese, of what can I speak save of that which is even now moving within your souls?“
This book provides the comfort of a lover, and calms the spirit with its simple loving prose; becoming more important in a time of mass hysteria, comparison, jealousy, and judgment The Prophet continues to prove itself as standing the test of time.