Friday, October 18, 2013

Be dumbfounded

For the "in charge" people in my life:

At times we are hidden, at times revealed;

We are Muslims, Christians, Jews; of any race.

Our hearts are shaped like any human heart,

But every day we wear a different face.

#1325, from Rumi's Kolliyaat-e Shams-e Tabrizi
Edited by Badiozzaman Forouzanfar (Tehran, Amir Kabir, 1988).

Translated by Zara Houshmand

Recently, one of the most important people in my life wept for a second time when I read the poem below to him. "Zero Circle" is found several places and this version I posted was not attributed to any one "translator". (I'd love to find it in the Persian and English by a Persian translator of Rumi if anyone has that?) Some who work with Rumi, The Enneagram (see below) and with the Socio-Psychology growth and harmony of groups have assigned this poem to the number EIGHT of the Enneagram. Yet, I suppose this state of being dumbfounded and not knowing where to turn is likely to most of us some of the time.

Zero Circle

Be helpless, dumbfounded,
Unable to say yes or no.
Then a stretcher will come from grace
To gather us up.

We are too dull-eyed to see that beauty
If we say we can, we’re lying.
If we say No, we don’t see it,
That No will behead us
And shut tight our window onto spirit.

So let us rather not be sure of anything,
Besides ourselves, and only that, so
Miraculous beings come running to help.
Crazed, lying in a zero circle, mute,
We shall be saying finally,
With tremendous eloquence, Lead us.
When we have totally surrendered to that beauty,
We shall be a mighty kindness.

NOTE: I have found The Enneagram to be highly useful for transparency, peace, cooperation and understanding in various types of communities, relationships and even for the individual seeking maturity by self.

Below are a few book suggestions:

The Spirituality of the Enneagram by Rizo (a whole package with self-testing)

Anything on the Enneagram by Richard Rohr

The Enneagram in Love and Work by Helen Palmer

( The photo collection above is from: The Nature Conservancy and at )


robert said...


I like this post a lot. Thank you for it.

I really admire the hidden ones, the ones who walk a path of blame. Of course, I don't know who they are :).

All good wishes,


CN said...

So glad you like this post too. You would admire most the hidden ones who are not living with ego in charge.

I wonder often how you live with so little?

And are so indefatigue-able (at least appearing so.)

robert said...


I have read shaykh Fariduddin 'Attar attributing to the Prophet (pbuh) this:

"The most loving of God's friends are those who are pious in secret."

All good wishes,