Rumi: Four Streams

I have been pondering, for months, Rumi’s poem “Your First Eyes.” He speaks of four streams that run inside the lover’s soul-heart. I have been wondering what these spiritual currents might be.

A lover has four streams inside,

of water, wine, honey, and milk.

Find those in yourself, and pay no attention

what so-and-so says about such and such.

The rose does not care if someone calls it a thorn,

or a jazmine.

Rumi, “Your First Eyes”

To find those streams I have been looking inward with my “first eyes,” Rumi’s metaphor for spiritual vision.

But I have also been thinking of the rivers that have been important in my life and that may outwardly symbolize those inner streams; in other words, rivers that stand as sacraments of those spiritual streams.

I have a guess now at what the four streams are for me: soundness of heart, love, grace, and power.

And here I share some icons of those sacramental rivers.

Water: Soundness of heart. Oi gawa, Kyoto, Japan
Wine: Love. Río Térraba, Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Honey: Grace. Rio Madeira, Rondônia, Brasil
Milk: Power. Rio Amazonas (Convergence of Negro and Solimões), Amazonas, Brasil

Cover picture: Aerial view of an Amazonian river in Acre, Brazil.

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