“Wean Yourself”

Little by little, wean yourself.
This is the gist of what I have to say.

From an embryo, whose nourishment
comes in the blood,
move to an infant drinking milk,
to a child on solid food,
to a searcher after wisdom
to a hunter of more invisible game.

Think how it is to have a conversation with an embryo.
You might say, “The world outside is vast and intricate.
There are wheatfields and mountain passes,
and orchards in bloom.

At night there are millions of galaxies,
and in sunlight the beauty of friends
dancing at a wedding.”

You ask the embryo why he, or she,
stays cooped up in the dark with eyes closed.

Listen to the answer:

“There is no ‘other world.’
I only know what I’ve experienced.
You must be hallucinating.”

— Mathnawi III, 49-62
Version by Coleman Barks