Went to hear Coleman Barks read poetry last night. It was food for the soul! I was especially struck by the first poem he read—“The Water You Want”—from Rumi. It began

“Someone may be clairvoyant, able to see the future, and yet have very little wisdom,”

which, of course, caught my attention.

The poem speaks of a man who sees water in a dream and, still in the dream, convinces others to follow him toward this mirage, when all along he is sleeping next to a river of pure water (ultimately no further than the blood in his veins). This points up how we live in a dream, and we are advised to:

“Give up subtle thinking, the twofold, threefold multiplication of mistakes. Listen to the sound of waves within you.”

To me this speaks of the paradox inherent in reading tarot, where we miss seeing the, often simple, import; we miss the sound of waves within. Nevertheless, I sometimes let myself wander in the dream, drawn by a mirage or two or three. In the case of The Best Cities for Singles reading, I even encouraged several people to wander along with me. Yet, there is a point when I wake to the rhythmic pulse of the water within (of which such poetry serves to remind me).

Without the dream and without the peregrinations, I may never have come to know the pure water for what it is. The tarot takes me through a labyrinth, a winding in and out, back and forth, to reach a center that is no further than the next heartbeat, yet known all the better for the journey to it. Yes, I lie next to the water I want, but I value it more for having followed the mirage, and knowing that, too, for what it is. Photo: Walking a Chartres-style labyrinth with friends.