Welcome to Daily SPARC – each weekday our chaplains, friends from the Penn Religious Communities Council and other voices from campus will be posting messages of support and encouragement. 

Today’s message is by Patricia Anton, Chaplain for the Penn Muslim Student Association:

“You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop.”

― Rumi

“A Human being is something vast; all things are inscribed within him.  Yet veils and darknesses will not let him read the knowledge that he has inside him.  The veils and darknesses are these various preoccupations, schemes, and worldly desires.  Yet despite all these things being hidden in darknesses, concealed behind those veils, man is able to read something, and is aware of it.  Consider how aware he becomes and what knowledge he discovers in himself when the darknesses and veils are removed.  After all, trades like tailoring, building, carpentry, goldsmithing, science, astronomy, medicine, and so on — countless different trades — were discovered within mankind, not inside rocks or clods of earth.  Now, it is said that the raven instructed man to bury the dead in a grave.  That, too, was a reflection of human [intelligence] which came to the bird; it was an expression of human need that prompted him to do it.  For animal [nature] is [merely] part of human [nature].  How could the partial teach the whole?”

—Rumi (“A Treasury of Rumi” by Muhammad Isa Waley, p. 26)

As we wrap up the semester and finals assignments, our Muslim students are heading into the last ten days of Ramadan, a time for going deeper within. A traditional time of retreat and dedicated devotion seeking a moment that can transform our entire destiny; a night with the blessings, normally found in a thousand months; a portal, of sort, within us and beyond us.   In these nights may you find everything you are seeking.  Perhaps you may find it already inside of you.