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Pavel Somov, Ph.D.


Experience It First, And Only Then Describe It

Posted: 07/23/2009 12:34 pm

The sun is love. The lover, a speck circling the sun.

These lines are from Rumi, in translation by Coleman Barks.

Whose lines are these lines? Rumi's or Barks'?

When reading Rumi in translation by Barks, historically, I am reading Barks' translation of Rumi's translation of Rumi's thoughts.

Whose thoughts are these thoughts that Rumi tried to translate into words that Barks later translated into words that I am now trying to decode into my own experience?

The experience is the sun. The word, just another semantic Icarus burned up in its flight to describe it.

These lines are my attempt to translate the experience whose ownership is yet to be established.

Mind is a poem lost in translation.

Your mind, too, right now, is a poem the experience of which you are both beginning to write and read at the same time as I am finishing another one of my attempts to translate the untranslatable.

Bottomline: experience is beyond description, whatever you are doing (eating, playing, working), whatever is the experience -- experience it first, and only then (try to) describe it.

Pavel Somov, Ph.D., author of, Eating the Moment: 141 Mindful Practices to Overcome Overeating One Meal at a Time (New Harbinger, 2008)